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The dust is beginning to settle in New England’s State legislatures. As gambling continues to expand in the northeast, there are bound to be winners and losers. It’s hard to say who will be the real winners and losers in the New England Casino Expansion story. At this point, I can at least speculate, can’t I?
New England Expansion Winners
Massachusetts is a big winner with MGM Springfield & Encore Boston Harbor anchoring the Bay State. They are two of the biggest players in the casino industry.and brings lots of advantages to this young gambling market.
Rhode Island casinos are winners with the addition of sports betting. Unfortunately, the revenue from sports betting hasn’t lived up to expectations, but it is improving.
But, the New England Casino Expansion has produced one major group of winners – New England’s resident gamblers. Competition between the three southern New England states has given New England residents new gambling options & conditions to choose from. Links to reward clubs such as MLife, Wynn Red Card, and the change of Penn National to Choice Rewards gives a national connection coast to coast. Promotions and entertainment offerings have also seen a greater competition, which only translates as a positive for consumers.
New England Expansion Losers
Who are the potential losers in this expansion? Well, depending upon future growth, some of the winners may also be partial losers.
Connecticut casinos have been seen as the biggest losers by the yearly decline in revenue of approximately 7-9% each month. But, because of recent talks with Bridgeport and the CT legislature, the future seems brighter. With the federal approval for the casino venture in East Windsor, Connecticut could have a third casino on the Massachusetts border, just 10 minutes away from MGM Springfield. The two CT tribes – Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans – could have their joint venture, Tribal Winds, up and running by 2021.
And Connecticut could reverse the tables on MGM International. Recent talks with Bridgeport & CT legislators could continue the monopoly of gaming and the expected revenue in the state. With an open bidding process, the Constitution State would lose 25% of all slot revenue from both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
Plainridge Casino’s Caught In Between
Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway could the biggest loser. This quaint first Massachusetts casino in Plainville Massachusetts opened in 2015. Penn National has been building loyal patrons ever since, slowly increasing revenue to surrounding communities and the Bay State. Plainridge has one glaring problem – its slots only, and has no hotel. And they are surrounded by competition. Twin River Casino & Hotel is ten minutes away with over twice the slots, tons of table games, and more dining options. Remember, they also have legalized sports betting.
The New England Casino Expansion of Encore Boston Harbor will also present a huge problem for Plainridge. The newest New England Casino is only 50 minutes away – a big, beautiful resort offering all the amenities and gambling options you’d expect from from Wynn Resorts. Also, the CT casinos are just over an hour away.
How will Plainridge survive? The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must change the original gaming rules so it can expand, include table games, and add a hotel. However, it doesn’t look to happen soon. Let’s hope that this Plainville Property hangs until then.
The race to more Sports Betting
I believe the finish line to the Legal Sport Betting finish line will be as follows:
Win – Rhode Island, if they add mobile online betting in Rhode Island.
Place – Massachusetts. It will take longer than expected, but eventually they will get it right. As heard on the Art In The Game podcast recently, guest Dustin Gouker suggested multiple vendors would be best, giving competitive lines and bonuses to MA residents. RI uses only one, William Hill, and is run by the RI Lottery.
Show – Maine & New Hampshire. (tie) Yes, they both will beat out CT. Again, it will be a slow process, but the Maine legislature is more apt to pass it before a third casino for their tribal communities. New Hampshire has already passed a beginning bill concerning legal sports betting.
NO Show – Connecticut. It’s very complicated. If the tribes don’t get the sole ownership of legal sports betting, they see it as breaking the gaming pact first established in 1992. So many want a piece of the sports betting pie – OTB, KENO operators, and the LOTTERY. We will see a prolonged stalemate on this one.
Related Post – Gambling Legislation Updates in New England
THE ORIGINAL WINNERS – ONCE ENEMIES
The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were once one tribe. But war with colonists, differences with other tribes, and different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day. Over 250 years after the Pequot War (which almost eradicated the entire Pequot Nation), a bingo hall rose on what was left of the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in 1985.
Previous to 1992, both tribes fought for federal & state recognition as well as keeping land claims. Then governor Weicker agreed to give the Pequots a monopoly on slot machines in return for 25 percent of the slot machine revenue with the state guaranteed $160 Million. A year later, in 1993, the Pequots agreed to share the gaming business with the Mohegans, a tribe with whom they have lived for centuries, but the Indian monopoly is extended to all casino games.
NEW ENGLAND CASINO EXPANSION – 1992 to the PRESENT
- 1992 – first New England Casino as Foxwoods opens its doors in Mashantucket, CT
- 1992 – Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (class II) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai
- 1996 – the Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT
- 2005 – Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine
- 2007 – Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming; Newport soon follows
- 2008 – MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino
- 2011 – MA legislature approves construction of 3 casinos
- 2012 – Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine, making two casinos in Maine
- 2015 – Plainridge Park opens in Plainville, MA, first of three casinos at – slots only.
- 2017 – Oxford Casino opens Hotel and casino expansion
- 2018 – Newport Grand closes; MA opens 2nd Casino, first full casino, in Springfield; Twin River Group moves Newport Grand operations to newly opened Tiverton Casino & Hotel; Twin River Casino opens new hotel; RI casinos offer first legal sports betting
- 2019 – MA opens third casino in Everett, Encore Boston Harbor
Related Post – New England Casinos – How Many by 2022?
Gambling Options Before 1992
Casino gambling found a home in the 1800’s in Newport, Rhode Island, not to mention the numerous greyhound, horse tracks and parimutuel parlors throughout New England. Jai Alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI were also popular for a while in the 1970 – 90s until Foxwoods opened. Rhode Island’s Lincoln Greyhound Park became Twin River Casino later.
The Many Casinos That Never made it
New England has had more casino proposals not come to fruition than the Las Vegas Strip. For those of you living here, remember these possibilities?
- Penn National Casino in Springfield, MA (2013)
- Caesars Casino proposal in Boston, MA (2013) partnering with Suffolk Downs
- Mohegan Sun Casino proposal in Palmer MA (2013)
- Hard Rock International Casino proposal in West Springfield MA (2013)
- Mashpee Wampanoag “First Light” Casino in Tauton MA (2013) [not daed yet]
- Nunes/Foxwoods Casino proposal in Milford MA (2013)
- Rush Gaming Slots-only proposal in Worcester MA (2013)
- Racino proposal in Scarborough ME (2013)
- Cordish Gaming Slots-only proposal in Foxboro MA (2013)
- Penn National opts out of Casino in Springfield, MA, to set sites on slots-only in Plainville (2013)
- New Hampshire proposes three separate casinos (2012, 2013, 2015), but none to show for it.
- The Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians casino proposals ME
- Mohegan Sun Casino proposal for Revere MA (after MGM chosen for Springfield (2014)
- Maine Casino Proposal @Scarborough Downs (2014)
- Foxwoods Casino Proposal in New Bedford MA (2014)
- Rush Gaming Casino in Brockton MA (2014 – 2018)
- York Casino Proposal ME (2015, 2017)
For now, there are 9 casinos when Encore Boston Harbor opens. And now, the plot thickens………