New England Casino News You Might Have Missed

So much has happened this past week, I felt a post with related links might be in order. Accordingly, here is a number of news snippets in “New England Casino News You Might Have Missed.”

Plainridge Racing at the Mercy of Mass Legislators

They did it last year, and they’re doing it again.  Who?  Massachusetts state lawmakers are bringing the horse racing to the brink of extinction once again. According to Colin A. Young in

Plainridge Raceway at Plainridge Casino, Plainville, MA

Plainridge Raceway at Plainridge Casino, Plainville, MA

the Lowell Sun, “If the legal authority for racing and simulcasting is not extended before Thursday, all racing and simulcasting must stop. Subsequently meaning it must be enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker. Plainridge Park Casino, the only remaining host of live horse racing in Massachusetts, is planning to hold races until then.”


Live racing has come under attack in New England in recent years.  Unfortunately, Suffolk Downs, the last thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts and New England, closed in July. Maine still has racing at Scarborough and Bangor (connected to Hollywood casino block away) with parimutuel betting. The summer fair season in Maine has horse racing which helps the Maine horse breeding market.

CT Lawmakers announce comprehensive casino/sports betting plan

A bipartisan group of Connecticut lawmakers announced a wide-ranging bill they hope could lead to legalized sports betting. Furthermore, it also hints at the addition of a Bridgeport casino and the completion of the combined tribal venture in East Windsor. The tribes must spend a minimum of $100 million on an entertainment and gambling facility in Bridgeport. Consequently, the tribes will receive authorization to conduct sports wagering at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. In addition, sports wagering through mobile applications, online and other locations in the state would be approved. The original tribal compact will stay intact, with 25% slot revenue going to the state from the two current tribal casinos. In addition, the tribes would contribute 10% of their table games revenues generated.  Only at both the proposed Bridgeport casino and East Windsor casino would add this to the state’s tourism marketing fund.

Rhode Island Sports Betting is up

Inside the Twin River Casino Sports Book

Inside the Twin River Casino Sports Book

Rhode Island’s two regulated sports betting operators, Twin River and Tiverton Casino, recorded a combined book revenue of $2.15m in June. Presently, that is a record high for the Ocean state. As a matter of fact, the total sports betting profit for the fiscal year is nearly $6.9 million. Rhode Island became the eighth state to offer sports betting in 2018, months after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

Mohegan Sun Prepares for sports betting

Mohegan Sun announced signed an agreement with Kambi Group plc to provide online and on-property betting products. The Kambi Sportsbook will be integrated into Mohegan Sun’s iPro gaming platform to power a free-to-play sportsbook. Equally important, it will enable Mohegan Sun guests to familiarize themselves with the Kambi product ahead of a regulated real-money launch. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment currently has casinos and resorts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Canada, and Connecticut. At this time, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey already offer real-money legal sports wagering through retail and mobile sportsbooks.

Rhode Island Problems include deal with IGT

IGT Headquarters in Providence, RI

IGT Headquarters in Providence, RI

To begin with, the agreement would start in 2023. Through IGT’s $6.4 billion merger with Rhode Island-based GTech Holdings in 2015, the company already controls 84 percent of the slot floors at the Twin River and Tiverton casinos. Scientific Games has 12 percent of the remaining slot space, and Everi Holdings has the other 4 percent. In fact, Governor Raimondo and top lawmakers announced they had reached a tentative deal with IGT to extend its Lottery contract. In exchange, the company will keep 1,100 workers in the state employed. Although this is true, a major concern is a monopoly of gaming machines by IGT. Besides, there would be an absence popular brands found in other casinos across New England and the country by Aristocrat, Konami and IT.

Related Post – Rhode Island Casino Specs and History

another Blackjack class-action Suit, this time MGM Springfield

According to MassLive, “Blackjack players have filed a class action lawsuit claiming MGM Springfield is paying less than state regulations permit on winning hands at some tables. The claims, including in a lawsuit filed Monday in Hampden Superior Court, echo those made in a similar suit filed recently against Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor. Similarly, claims were made concerning Encore Boston Harbor after it opened. However, they were dismissed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Wynn Not a Win?

Boston Harbor, Everett, MA

Approaching Encore Boston Harbor, Everett, MA

Encore Boston Harbor has been the most anticipated resort Casino to open in New England since Foxwoods in 1992. Even then, Foxwoods was just at the beginning of its expansion. I even called it the “Jewel” of New England’s Casinos.

To summarize, he proposes 5 considerations:

  1. Wynn’s new Massachusetts casino, Encore Boston Harbor, has sizable competition, and has significantly fewer amenities than that competition.
  2. Sentiment from early patrons skews negative.
  3. The location won’t be Encore Boston Harbor’s “silver bullet.” It’s not ideal, and it’s unclear how much convenience even matters to New England gamblers.
  4. We are projecting that EBH will fail to meet most revenue estimates, including the projections from Wynn itself.
  5. Although it’s unlikely that Encore Boston Harbor will be a significant catalyst for Wynn stock, we recommend a smaller gaming stock with large exposure to this new resort.

This is a must read as well as the comments if you are interested in New England’s casino expansion.

Finally, Maine’s Casinos Had a Record Year

Officials attend the grand opening of the Oxford Casino Hotel on Route 26 on Nov. 9. The 107-room, four-story hotel is attached to Oxford Casino, which opened in 2012 and is owned by Churchill Downs Inc.  (Oxford Casino photo)

Robert F. Bukaty of the AP reported that Maine’s two casinos raked in close to $144 million last year, setting a state gambling record. The recent rise is considered tied to Oxford’s hotel addition and expanded gaming floor.  But Milt Champion, executive director of Maine’s gambling control unit, doesn’t expect the windfall to last due to increased competition across the board. Maine is one of 12 states with record casino gambling last year, according to a report from the American Gaming Association released Tuesday. Nationwide, gamblers spent almost $42.7 billion in two dozen states with legal casinos, the association said.

Meanwhile, Maine’s positive path towards sports betting has skidded to an unexpected halt.  Gov. Janet Mills decided not to sign the bill that would legalize sports betting in her state due to concerns over expanded gambling. At this point, the bill is going nowhere fast and could stay that way forever.
That was the week’s news. Wonder what this week brings?

Preakness Primer – 4 Questions, 4 Answers Each

Now that the Kentucky Derby has come and gone, let’s turn our attention to the 2017 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.  Post time for the Preakness is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and the race will begin shortly after. Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming will start the Preakness side by side with his chief rival, Classic Empire, setting up a potential duel for the ages. Lookin At Lee, a veteran of 10 races who always runs hard, will start from the No. 9 post as a 10-1 third choice.

This year’s post positions are:

1. Multiplier

2. Cloud Computing

3. Hence

4. Always Dreaming

5. Classic Empire

6. Gunnevera

7. Term of Art

8. Senior Investment

9. Lookin at Lee

4 Questions – Each With 4 Answers

What is a brief history on the Preakness? Horse Racing

  1. The Preakness Stakes is an American flat thoroughbred horse race held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
  2. First run in 1873
  3. The 142nd Preakness Stakes will be on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (TODAY)
  4. The Preakness Stakes were run for the first time two years before the Kentucky Derby.

What makes the Preakness different from the Kentucky Derby?  images

  1. The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, may not create quite the stir that the Kentucky Derby does, but it does bring with it some subtle differences that make the race just as compelling.
  2. It is not a great deal shorter than the Derby, but that extra 1/16 of a mile makes it easier for horses to go full speed right from the start. The Preakness Stakes plays much faster because everyone is allowed to jump right out of the gate as hard as they can.

    The start at Pimlico

    The start at Pimlico

  3. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which is based more on power than speed, depending on the weather conditions, Pimlico plays as a faster race track.
  4. Pimlico’s surface is much more firm than what you will find at Churchill Downs. As a result, the horses are able to gain better traction with their footing.

How does this translate to BETTING DIFFERENCES?  Here are four considerations:

Inside Pimlico - Betting Windows

Inside Pimlico – Betting Windows

  1. The shorter distance means that horses that struggled to get the Derby distance might handle this one better.
  2. Horses who run in the Derby and the Preakness have to race just two weeks. While this used to be typical for racing, the “big Horses” now are used to more time between important races. The ability to handle a shorter rest is a big factor in how well they will do in the Preakness.
  3. Related to the previous difference, about half the field in the Preakness is made up of horses that did not run in the Derby. Some of these new horses are going to be much fresher than the Derby horses, and in many cases they are more familiar with running at Pimlico than the Derby horses will be.
  4. The Preakness is capped at 14 runners. The Derby has 20 horses in the field, bringing fewer potential concerns for a winning path. As a result, while in the Derby, horses are almost guaranteed to encounter trouble of some sort at one point, in the Preakness it can be easier for a horse to find a smooth trip.

Finally, Jeremy Plonk, from ESPN, lists the following differences for those attending.  It’s just not the same tourist-fest that the Kentucky Derby is, but Pimlico and the Preakness have their own quirky traditions:Preakness 1

  1. Fashion: Like the Derby, it depends on the area of the facility. Those with reserved seats will be finely fashionable to business casual. Those in the infield, well, it’s unofficially “clothing optional.”
  2. Drink: The Black-Eyed Susan is a mixture of vodka,
    The Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

    The Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

    light rum and Cointreau, along with pineapple juice and orange juice. Shake the ingredients, pour over crushed ice, garnish with lime.

  3. Traditions: The Preakness’ version of “My Old Kentucky Home” is “Maryland, My Maryland,” the state song.
  4. The black-eyed Susan, the Maryland state flower, is nearly synonymous with The Preakness. The flower has yellow leaves and is black in the middle. After the race, the Preakness winner receives an arrangement consisting of about 2000 blooms sewn on to a mesh of black rubber and decorated with a variety of greens.

There you have it.  You’re primed for the Preakness.

That’s all for now.



Rockingham Park to Close – Thoroughbred Horse Racing Ends in New England Sept. 1stRockingham Park Ends

A large crowd at Suffolk Downs in 1936. Photo provided by the Boston Public Library.

A large crowd at Suffolk Downs in 1936. Photo provided by the Boston Public Library.

Thoroughbred horse racing and harness racing tracks across New England continue to have a tough time of it.  Between Massachusetts, New Hamphire and Maine, not counting the annual fairs, New England is down to five live racing venues: Bangor Raceway & Scarborough Downs in Maine, Plainridge Park Raceway & Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts, and Rockingham Park in New Hampshire.  But after September 1st, it will be down to four.

Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs now.

While Suffolk Downs in Revere, MA is holding on trying to continue thoroughbred horse-racing in New England, Rockingham ParkRockingham Park, New England’s first track that debuted with a Thoroughbred meet in 1906, has reached the finish line and will shutter its doors for good Aug. 31.

Paul Roberts and Isabelle Taylor of Thoroughbred Racing Commentary provided some great history on Rockingham with their article Looking back: The lost tracks of New England. Click on the title for the entire article.

Rockingham Park's clubhouse in 1933

Rockingham Park’s clubhouse in 1933 provided by the Boston Public Library.

They listed some of the following interesting facts about Rockingham’s beginning:
  • In 1906, in the small New Hampshire village of Salem Depot, a group of investors opened a new racecourse – Rockingham Park.
  • More than 10,000 people from Boston, Rhode Island, and New York flocked to its maiden 21-day meet.
  • It had taken less than a year to build and cost $1 million.
  • Upon its inauguration, it was popularly referred to as “the finest racecourse in the world.”
  • Rockingham faced one fatal hurdle: gambling was illegal in New Hampshire. Without on-track wagering, Rockingham was not economically viable and no meeting was scheduled for the next year, nor the next, nor the next.
  • The Great Depression proved to be Rockingham’s unlikely saviour.
Rockingham Park Now

Rockingham Park Now

Lynne Snierson in wrote that “over a hundred years later, President and general manager Ed Callahan confirmed that the ownership group has reached agreement with local businessman Joe Faro for the purchase of the remaining 120 acres of the property that had comprised the majority of the stable area about 18 months ago for $9.6 million; and almost all of the barns, dormitories, and other structures have already been demolished.”

Simulcasting, card rooms and the charitable gaming have been its only use – and it will all come to an end Aug. 31, Callahan said.
“All of our employees and the numerous charities that benefited were notified today. It’s a sad day.”
The news most likely is the final chapter in the glorious history of Rockingham, which hasn’t conducted a live Thoroughbred meet since 2002 but still holds an important place in the history of the sport:
  • It held harness meets for several years after Thoroughbred racing was abandoned.
  • More than one-third of the jockeys and dozens of the trainers enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame competed at the track over the decades, and many also have ties to the Triple Crown.
  • Eddie Arcaro rode Triple Crown winners Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948), and photos of when he was a member of Rockingham’s jockey colony still hang in the clubhouse.
  • Other Triple Crown winners who rode at Rockingham include Johnny Longden (Count Fleet, 1943), Ron Turcotte (Secretariat, 1973), and Jean Cruget (Seattle Slew, 1977).

201591574328_1“We anticipate there will be an auction of equipment, furniture, and memorabilia Sept. 24-25,” said Callahan, who noted the racing memorabilia, trophies, and artwork with the greatest historical significance will be donated to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the New England Sports Museum, and the New Hampshire Museum of History, among others.

How did it come to be the end for the historic horse track?  According to Lynne Snierson, its fate was sealed when the ownership group failed during every session for more than 20 years to get casino gambling passed by the New Hampshire legislature. Without expanded gambling and with increased competition from casinos in neighboring Massachusetts and Maine and nearby Connecticut, the business was no longer sustainable.

Texas Hold 'em at Rockingham Poker Room

Texas Hold ’em at Rockingham Poker Room

Yankee Greyhound Racing, which has not held live dog racing since it was outlawed in the state in 2009, is also on the market for real estate development but remains open for full-card simulcasts in nearby Seabrook, N.H. Suffolk Downs, which will offer six days of live racing in 2016, is located about 20 miles from Rockingham in East Boston, Mass., and still simulcasts year-round.

I’d like to hear what the people at #horsebetting @bmdsportsandhorses have to add to the conversation of horse racing in New England.  Check out our friends at

While more people follow the Triple Crown of racing more than ever before because of television and numerous casino race books not even open 10 years ago across the country,  it is sad to report the the closing of yet another venue, which inevitably means loss of jobs for many.  I can only hope that that the influx of casinos in Massachusetts can help those who worked in Rockingham, and also Suffolk Downs.