5 Reasons Plainridge Park Casino Could Be Turning the Corner on Revenue – A Trip Report

Plainridge Park Entrance, Plainville, MA

Plainridge Park Entrance, Plainville, MA

Plainridge Park Casino has been taking it’s lumps since opening. Declining revenue is mainly the reason of course since that’s its purpose in the eyes of Massachusetts legislators and the MGC.

Penn National Gaming, Owner of Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway

Penn National Gaming, Owner of Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway

While revenues at the facility have steadily declined from a July peak of $18.1 million. to $11.3 million in December, Timothy Wilmott, CEO of Penn National Gaming, has complained that media coverage of the slot parlor and harness racing track has been “overly negative” since its July opening.  Wilmot said such a decline is “quite common” in the casino industry following a “robust opening” and compared slot machines at Plainridge Park with the Pennsylvania-based company’s 27 other gambling locations, saying it has the “highest average revenue.”

Recently, the gross gaming revenue at the Plainridge Park Casino in January reported an increase to $12.5 million, according to Massachusetts Gaming Commission.  So NETime Gambling took a trip to Plainville, MA to check the difference between our last visit and now for reasons that might have triggered the increase.  For a look back at our previous trip, click on the title below:

Plainridge Park Casino Trip Report #1

When we arrived at 1:00, it was already packed. Here are NETG’s FIVE reasons for the increase in visitors and the increase in revenue: Continue reading

MGM Changes To Casino Project Makes Springfield Underwhelming

imagesWhen I read MGM Resorts was about to change the plan for their project in Springfield, I thought it would be to compete at a higher level, to make it a resort like Wynn, like Foxwoods and like Mohegan Sun.

Instead, they have decided to take away the hotel tower – the one thing that would scream at I-90 “Here we are, you gotta see this!”

MGM Springfield

First rendering with the now defunct 25 story hotel.

The 25-story glass-facade hotel is being moved to the corner of Main and Howard streets, with the glass-facade hotel design has been abandoned altogether.  The hotel will continue to have 250 rooms despite the change in design from 25 floors to six floors.  According to MassLive writer Peter Goonan, “The lobby would be located on the first floor, adjacent to retail, and guest rooms would be located on floors two through six.”

Now remember, there will still be 250 rooms.  Any idea what kind of modern math MGM is using for this?  Maybe less high-end suites?  Smaller room sizes?

MGM Springfield

New rendering of project, with hotel fore front.

By the way, the parking garage has been downsized to one floor – in the middle of a city! On a busy weekend, where will the parking be?  Will you have to pay?  You can’t put a “Ticket-In,Ticket-Out” voucher from a slot into a parking meter to pay for parking every two hours.

According to Michael Mathis, president and chief executive officer of MGM Springfield,  “We think the changes along Main Street and this new layout is more in line with a true downtown mixed-use development that will make MGM Springfield the premier urban resort in the industry.”

This brings more questions than answers.  Less enticing hotel options will bring buses, day-trippers, and rely on the locals to bring in business.  Ask Atlantic City how that’s working out for them.  And ask the businesses surrounding Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun if their business grew with the casinos expansion.  Simply put, casinos are designed to get you in and keep you in – period.

Some of the latest research points to the fact that urban casinos tend to cannibalize the very local economy that that it is trying to improve, due to the fact that the first “regulars” expected to support the finances of the casino are local. Without an established chain of casinos in Springfield, and no East Coast presence to speak of, MGM will be starting with local dollars – attracting a primarily local or regional audience.  The money that gets gambled away in the casino would otherwise be spent on other entertainment options in the city.

Kiss this beautiful tower good-bye!

Kiss this beautiful tower good-bye!

And now they are taking away the memorable lighthouse, the beacon, the form of the resort – the hotel tower.

Let’s face it, gamblers want good odds, easy access, lots of available parking, good amenities and all within the confines of the casino resort.  We’re lazy, we don’t want to walk a lot, we don’t want to leave the casino to eat and take in the culture of the city.  And those that do aren’t spending the amount of money the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Mass legislators are looking for. These changes might sound good and appease the gambling naysayers & and the historic building communities, but it won’t increase the bottom line – cash for the casino, and cash for the State of Massachusetts.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

Mashpee Wampanoags Casino – “Game Changer” for Mass Casino Expansion?

Taunton Proposal

Taunton Casino Rendering for Mashpee Wampanoags Proposal

The Boston Globe reported last week that the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe appear to be making significant progress in its quest to secure land in Massachusetts to build a Las Vegas-style casino.

We’ve been hearing about this on-again, off-again casino for three years, but it now seems closer than ever to fruition.

Proposed Brockton Casino

Proposed Brockton Casino

The federal government recently informed the tribe in a letter that a decision in their case is imminent. The tribe needs the federal government to help them convert 150 acres of land into a reservation, which would allow for the casino to be built under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.  The tribe wants to build a $500 million casino in Taunton, which is in the Southeastern part of the state. But, Brockton also is competing for the SE license in Region C.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs seems confused on what exactly it’s communications to the Mashpee Wampanoags means.

  1. the tribe’s request is under review
  2. they are inviting comments for a 30-day period on the tribe’s request to issue a reservation proclamation
  3. no date has been identified in which a reservation proclamation will be issued by the Department of the Interior
  4. issuance of a reservation proclamation is a separate and distinct action from acquiring land in trust…”

MashpeesIt seems the important part is that a reservation proclamation would allow the tribe to construct a casino in Taunton if the land has been turned into a trust.

“This letter to the City of Taunton is an indication that the Interior Department is one step closer to making a final decision on our full application,” tribal council chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a press release regarding the letter. But the letter refers to looking into the trust, not deciding on it.

Estele C. Borges, president of Taunton’s City Council, said that the council and the City of Taunton have already responded when more than 60 percent of city residents voted in favor of a casino to be constructed in Taunton.  So the BIA seems to have the last say.

What will this mean to Brockton?  It seems that two casinos in Region C, so close to Rhode Island Casinos and the new Plainridge slots joint may add to the saturation problem.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission did refer to the fact that neither Brockton or the then alive New Bedford proposal might not see a casino.  It might depend solely on the BIA’s decision with the Mashpee Wampanoags casino in Taunton.

More to come.

That’s all for now.

Binbin