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“I tell ya, Plainridge gets no respect.”
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield is famous for saying, “I Get No Respect.”
All three of Massachusetts’s casinos have been open for a year. So when Plainridge Park reopened on July 13, 2020, good vibes and hope flowed. The Plainridge Park Re-Opening was a Success. But how is it doing a year later?
Plainridge Park Re-Opening was a Success
In 2020, Plainridge VP and general manager Lance George commented about three hours after Plainridge reopened that “Everybody is in a good mood. Everybody is happy. It’s great that we got people back to work. Across the board, both on the employee side and the customer side, it’s been straightforward. Any issues, people have been more than understanding.”
Plainridge opted to reopen in the middle of the week. George said, “it allows a chance to work out any kinks in operation or the safety plan before the weekend.”
Plainridge “Just Gets No Respect”
Plainridge Park and Raceway in Plainville, a slots-only casino, was the first casino in Massachusetts. In 2020, it was the first Massachusetts casino to reopen after closing due to COVID-19.
Plainridge Park has always been a bit of an enigma. It’s the smallest of the three Massachusetts casinos without table games. However, they do offer electronic table games.
Unfortunately, most New England gamblers don’t take Plainridge Park seriously, let alone in Massachusetts.
Slot Machines, Electronic Table Games, and Drinks
A limited number of slot machines are still turned off. When they reopened, Plainridge VP and general manager Lance George reported, “We’ll have roughly half our games in play. So we’ll have about 750 or 760 games.”
However, changes in beverage service are disappointing. Beverage Service on the gaming floor will only include water, coffee, soft drinks, and beer to coincide with Phase Three.
Also, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission added one more protocol for all Massachusetts gambling halls. Any beverage ordered while gaming must be consumed while seated at the machine. Walking around with beverages is strictly forbidden.
What’s Open? What’s Not? And What’s On The Horizon?
The excellent news for harness racing enthusiasts and racebook guests is that live racing has resumed. But the even bigger news is the approval of sports betting in Massachusetts. However, the law’s potential impact on the state’s only “racino” is not a pretty sure thing.
Plainridge Park is the state’s lone slots-only casino, with no live table games, something area legislators have addressed in the past without success. It does offer live harness racing, the only site in the state still doing so, and simulcasting from out-of-state tracks.
The management at Plainridge Park Casino seems to believe it could be a winning hand. “We are very pleased that the commonwealth has joined the ranks as one of 36 states to have legalized sports betting,” North Grounsell, vice president and general manager of Plainridge, said in an email. “We look forward to working with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to open a retail sportsbook at Plainridge Park Casino and to launch our mobile app as soon as possible.”
What Else Is Open?
- Dunkin’ Donuts, Smash Burger, and Slice are open, with all guests told that guests must eat all food at the Food Court. Food is not allowed on the gaming floor.
- Slacks, the Loft, Dark Horse Bar, and the Revolution Lounge are ready for business.
So What’s Not Open?
- Flutie’s Sports Pub, The Gift Shop, and Valet will remain closed.
An Unexpected Dilemma
Colin A. Young/State House News Service reported that Plainridge Park has one pandemic-related issue. But unfortunately, it quickly became a bit of a headache – a national coin shortage. A slowdown in coin production at the U.S. Mint and a shift towards mobile or digital payments caused this dilemma.
“We’ll probably be running a promotion for our customers and employees to bring in their change, and we’ll exchange it for them at no cost,” George said. “We placed our order. But, unfortunately, we only received a small percentage of that coin order.”
Massachusetts Gaming Commission Protocols
All guests visiting Plainridge Park must enter through the valet entrance in front of the property. Limited capacity means only 2,100 people instead of their usual capacity of 5,800.
Installation of floor decals, plexiglass, and signage hopes to enforce social distancing guidelines strictly. In addition to mandatory face covering, staff will conduct daily health screening and temperature checks. Digital temperature checks include your visual image, which will aid contact tracing.
Governor Baker Adds More Limitations
In addition to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Guidelines, the Governor’s guidelines for the Phase 3 opening include self-quarantines. Visitors from states other than New England, New York, and New Jersey must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Staff heard many positive comments from patrons. Casino Hours: Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 2 a.m., Saturday & Sunday: 24 hours. They will close from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday for deep cleaning and sanitizing.