The New England Casino Gambling History has been much like a horse race. To begin with, it was a slow trot for New England to socially approve of gambling. Soon, it changed to a full sprint. In fact, there is no finish line in sight. With the word “saturation” thrown around annually, casino expansion continues. The future looks to include sports betting, casinos in Bridgeport, CT., East Windsor, CT., and southeastern Massachusetts.
With the future uncertain, let’s look back to see how we got here. In any event, let’s look back at New England Gambling History.
My interest in gambling began with playing card games such as cribbage and Michigan Rummy. With visits to Hartford Jai-Alai and Plainfield Greyhound Racetrack during my twenties, my interest grew. In fact, visits to the Sands in Atlantic City, Foxwoods Bingo Hall and future CT casinos made me even more curious.
One of my favorite books is “Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz. In his book, Dr. Dave explains that “….the human predilection for a wager shaped human history from the Ice Age to the Information Age. People spend nearly one trillion dollars worldwide on gambling a year–wouldn’t you like to learn a little about how we got there?” The fact is, I did!.
To read our NETG review of his book, click here.
The New England Influence
New England played a big part in the assertion of gambling in America. According to the California State Library, English settlers differed from their Puritanical neighbors in New England in many ways. Settlers influenced the early colonies to continue traditional styles of living in a new world. Gambling was considered a “harmless diversion, a popular and accepted activity.” Lotteries were used to bail out the Early Colonies. Financial backers of the colonies began to see gambling as the solution to diminishing finances needed for the war effort. All 13 original colonies established lotteries, usually more than one, to raise revenue. Lotteries continue to be a main source of revenue for all six New England states.
Once Upon a time….
The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were once one tribe. Due to the Pequot War, both tribes ended up with differences with other tribes. On the whole, different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day. Over 250 years later, a bingo hall in 1985 began the history of gaming in New England.
I should mention that gambling found a homes in New England with greyhound & horse tracks, parimutuel parlors, and Jai alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI. However, in the past ten years, the horse-racing industry has seen a major decrease in raceway operations. In addition,Jai-Alai has moved out of those states, and parimutuel parlors continue to diminish in visitors. Conversely, with the future of sports betting, parimutuel parlors may rise in popularity again.
In essence, here is NETG’s look back at the journey of legalized gambling in New England below.
New England Casino Gambling History Timeline
The first New England Casino opens with Foxwoods opening its doors in Mashantucket, CT
Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (classII) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai
The Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT
Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine
Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming. Similarly, Newport Grand soon follows, redesigning without Jai-Alai
MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino
The Expansion begins
MA legislature approves Expanded Gaming Act allows construction of 3 Resort casinos & one “slot’s only casino”
Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine
MGM pulls out of it’s Foxwoods partnership
Plainridge Park Casino Opens at Plainridge Raceway as the first Massachusetts casino (slots-only)
A Big Year for New England Casinos and Hotels
Oxford Casino, Oxford ME, adds Hotel, expanded casino and Ox Pu
MGM Springfield Resort Casino opens
Newport Grand Slots Casino closes
Tiverton Casino & Hotel opens
Twin River Casino adds Hotel
Mohegan Sun opens Earth Expo Center
Rhode Island approves and opens the first Sports Betting in New England
Encore Boston Harbor to open in the fall
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