New England Casino Expansion Past and Present

New England Casino Coverage!

The dust was beginning to settle in New England’s Casinos. The only gambling expansion we look forward to is more sports betting. In 2019, competition caused decreased revenue. In 2020 New England had to endure COVID-19 with the rest of the country. Revenues crashed after all casinos closed in March. Here’s a look at New England Casino Expansion – Past and Present.


New England Expansion Winners Throughout The Years

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 experience to this young gambling market.

Rhode Island casinos are winners with the addition of sports betting. New Hampshire became the second state to have sports betting in 2019. Now, Rhode Island has added mobile betting.

The next state to legalize sports betting and introduce full online gambling will be the next winners. Connecticut seems to be next, with Massachusetts close behind.

The Real Winners

Before the pandemic hit the country in 2020, New England Casino Expansion had produced one major group of winners – New England’s resident gamblers.  Competition between the three southern New England states gave 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 give a national connection coast to coast. Promotions and entertainment offerings have also seen greater competition, which only translates as a positive for consumers.

New England Expansion Losers

Connecticut casinos have been seen as the biggest losers by the yearly decline of approximately 7-9% each month through 2019. Talks with Bridgeport and the CT legislature moved towards a third casino on the Massachusetts border, just 10 minutes away from MGM Springfield. However, since the pandemic, the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans joint venture, Tribal Winds, may never get started. Bridgeport projects will never see the light of day in this decade.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

Plainridge Casino’s Caught In Between

Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway could be 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 – it’s 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.

The final 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 Wynn Resorts.

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?

  • 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 dead 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 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 was chosen for Springfield (2014)
  • Maine Casino Proposal @Scarborough Downs (2014)
  • Foxwoods agrees to operate a casino proposal by KG Urban Enterprises proposed for the waterfront in New Bedford, Massachusetts (2015)
  • Rush Gaming Casino in Brockton MA (2014 – 2018)
  • York Casino Proposal ME (2015, 2017)
Foxwoods New Bedford (top), Rush Gaming’s Brockton Proposal, which is hanging on by a thread.

For now, there are  9 casinos. It will take all of 2021 to find some normalcy. Until then, all expansion if off the table.