“MASSACHUSETTS CASINOS ENDURE TOUGH ROAD” helps to understand the expectations and situations that each Massachusetts casino has had to overcome. Revenue stats revealed a downward trend before the pandemic. This was a report before Covid.
Massachusetts Casinos Have Listened and Changed
MGM Springfield tried adding a VIP lounge and changing the casino layout. In fact, they took out numerous slot machines, making more room for its guests.
Likewise, Plainridge Park in Plainville, MA, changed High Limit slots and added Dunkin Donuts. But the lack of table games continues to hamper its success.
Finally, Encore Boston Harbor, the luxurious gem of New England, realized it wasn’t in Las Vegas. So Encore Boston Harbor proceeded to lower table game limits and offer discounted rooms, only to rteopen with high table limits once again.
Related Post – MGM Springfield Opens to Delight and Concern
Revenue and COVID-19
COVID-19 followed the year’s dismal revenue reports. All of the New England casinos closed in March. As the lyrics from “Born Under a Bad Sign” say,
“If It Wasn’t for Bad Luck, I Would Have No Luck at All.”written by William Bell with lyrics by Booker T. Jones
Having to Endure a Tough Road From the Start
It Started at the Beginning, in 2013
Related Post – Massachusetts Gaming Law
In 2013, I wrote that support was “imploding” for Massachusetts casinos. Interestingly, Western New England University Polling Institute published a survey by that year. Not surprisingly, three of five adults in Massachusetts said they favor having casinos in the state…..just not in their backyard.
The Mass Gaming Commission continued to over-scrutinize each license application. Consequently, Casino Industry representatives were hesitant to continue the process. At that time, the landowner for the Everett casino proposal was found to have a criminal background. Besides, later in the year, criminal connections caused the Caesars Entertainment proposal to be rejected. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was determined to prevent criminal connections in the process.
In 2018, Wynn Boston Harbor changed its name to Encore Boston Harbor. Earlier, founder Steve Wynn was accused of sexual misconduct allegations. Furthermore, the company took steps to distance itself from Steve Wynn.
There Were Many Interested Suitors for 4 casino licenses.
Region B – Western Mass – MGM Springfield
others – Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Springfield), Hard Rock MA (West Springfield), Mohegan Sun (Palmer)
Region A – Eastern Mass – Wynn, LLC (Everett)
others – Caesars, Suffolk Downs Racecourse (East Boston), Crossroads Massachusetts, LLC, Foxwoods (Milford), Later, Suffolk Downs / Mohegan Sun (Revere)
Region C -Southeastern Mass (not given to any applicant)
Mashpee Indian Tribe (Taunton), Rush Gaming Casino (Brockton), and Foxwoods (New Bedford)
Slots Only – Plainridge Racecourse (Plainville)
others – Raynham Park (Raynham), Mass Gaming & Entertainment, LLC (Worcester)
PPE Casino Resorts / Maryland Alive! (Danvers), Cordish Gaming Slots (Foxboro)
MGC Believes Three Casinos Are All Massachusetts Can Handle
In hindsight, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission approving only three casinos was a plus. As a matter of fact, it probably diminished employment, construction, and revenue woes due to COVID-19. When all three reopened in July, numbers were not as expected for obvious reasons with Covid-19.
Connecticut had an entire month’s advantage to scratch patrons’ itch for gambling by opening in June. They solidified patron loyalty and might have regained Massachusetts gamblers like in the old days.
Wareham Massachusetts – A Money Grab at a Bad Time
In August of 2019, the town of Wareham pitched Wareham Park to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The proposal included:
- A “multi-faceted gaming and entertainment facility” with slots, restaurants, and other entertainment venues
- A thoroughbred racing facility with a one-mile racetrack
- A ballpark for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Wareham Gatemen
- A hotel
- A sports complex with permanent fields and other athletic facilities
In short, it never saw fruition. The problems opening the remaining three casinos during the pandemic were too critical.
The Future of Massachusetts Casinos – Still A Tough Road Ahead
Guests have been slow to return to all three casinos. A tough road is still in MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park’s future. However, Encore has space and additional land that will help it expand when needed. Only the handling of COVID-19 by the casino management, staff, and guests could start to turn it around.
Matter of fact, 2021 has seen a steady rise in visitation and the reduction of pandemic protocols. Revenues are beginning to represent expectations of years ago. A stronger Massachusetts casino landscape will only help New England competition and noertheast gambler’s will reap the benefits.
Binbin and NETimeGambling.com
Robin T. Aubin (AKA Binbin at NETimeGambling) has been a guest on Cousin VitVito’ssino Podcast, The Bettor Life Podcast, The Art in the Game Podcast Springfield, Massachusetts. as well as ZorkCast with Michael Trager. In 2013, he created NETimeGambling.com. The mission was to provide a resource for recreational gamblers visiting New England’s expanding casino market events. We offer trip reports, gambling tips, casino promotions, entertainment, and more for those visiting our nine casinos.
NETG also provides general gambling tips for those recreational gamblers inside and outside the northeast.
As a professional musician for over 50 years, Robin has performed at Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, Foxwoods’ Atrium Lounge, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Bar & Lounge.
Follow us on Twitter at @NETimeGambling, and on Facebook at NETimegambling. And subscribe to our new podcast, The New England Casino and Gambling Podcast which is also available on YouTube.
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