I have all along thought New Bedford would be the best Choice for the Region C casino license in Massachusetts. I thought the close vote to approve and the close proximity to Brockton’s High School were not good signs. I also thought in April when I posted “Is Brockton Mass REALLY Ready for a Casino?” that Rush Gaming seemed a bit tainted by fines with underage gambling.
So, for the benefit of New England’s Gamblers, going the extra mile (500 miles to be exact), NE Time Gambling decided to travel to Pittsburgh to visit a Rush Street Gaming casino – Rivers Casino. Oh, the things we must do for our followers.
Rush Street is proposing to construct a 250,000-square-foot gaming facility, 250-room hotel, event and entertainment space and 3,000 parking spots on the Brockton Fairgrounds property. If what I saw in Pittsburgh is what Rush Street has in mind, then I may have been wrong in my first appraisal. (This property makes Plainridge Park look pitiful in size and amenities.) Rivers Casino is a clean, spacious, casino that is smaller than the proposed Brockton facility with 120,000 square feet of casino floor at Rivers Casino, the premiere gaming destination in the Pittsburgh area. Here is my quick analysis:
- Gambling – over 2,900 slot machines and 100 tables are available for play. A poker room, and high limit area is available. However, Video poker players will still have to visit Connecticut for playable pay tables. The best VP is 8/5 JOB – 8/6 at the $1 level. The rest of the VP games are just not good enough to mention.
- Slots Denomination Trickery? – Concerning slots, a wide variety is available. However, one must be careful to watch the denomination. Penny & 2 penny slots are mixed together. And, Rivers casino is rated in the bottom third of Pennsylvania’s casino slot payouts.
- Friendly service is what we noticed immediately.
- It is spacious – both between rows of machines and throughout the casino.
- Dining included five venues from cafe to steakhouse, and all were bright and modern. There are plenty of places to sit and relax, looking out on the the Ohio River.
- The buffet, which is by no means Bellagio’s Buffet in Vegas,
certainly was big enough to fit the type of mixed clientele that visit and, while not as big, would be similar to the buffets at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in variety. The Mongolian stir fry station and create-your-own-pasta stations are great alternatives. Disappointing was a rather barren salad bar.
- Four entertainment clubs & Bars with live music ranging from duel piano and jazz, to DJ and dance club.
- One innovation is their beverage bar. Free for all patrons to get coffee, soda, or water whenever they want.
M Resort in Las Vegas was the first I had seen years ago to try this, but too many were coming in to take advantage (filling up gallon jugs with water and soda for home!) so M Resort discontinued it. Rivers’s Casino station was smaller and seemed well appreciated.
All in all, I was impressed with Rivers Casino. If Brockton’s Casino, developed by Rush Street, is similar, then Brockton would have a winner here – at least the developers and Mayor think so:
“My assumption is that because of the location of Brockton, which is much closer to 2 million people … we would drive higher revenue,” said lawyer and former 10-year Brockton Mayor Jack Yunits, who represents Brockton Fairgrounds owner George Carney in casino matters.
“When you look at the population areas that would potentially come to a casino, Brockton is 21 miles from Boston,” echoed consultant Joe Baerlein, a spokesman for Mass Gaming & Entertainment, the developer behind Brockton’s $650 million casino proposal. According to Google Maps, the Brockton Fairgrounds is 24 miles from downtown Boston while Cottage Street in New Bedford is 59 miles.
So, I believe the Massachusetts Gaming Commission have a nice problem on their hands. A beautiful luxurious Resort on the water of New Bedford, or a modern resort with the look of old Brockton – both run by companies that can run a casino right. Both are equally good opportunities for two cities economically in need, and they are very different.
That’s all for now.