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?
Binbin

MGM Springfield Three Years Ago

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

Three years ago, before MGM Springfield was built, I had some random thoughts and concerns for the future.  The following post was written three years ago.  Any additions will be in green italics.  Otherwise, it’s posted here as it was three years ago. MGM Springfield Three Years Ago. 


MGM Springfield Three Years Ago

I really do want MGM Springfield to succeed.It’s being counted on to bring revenue for an economically needy city. MGM Springfield needs to offer jobs and enhance the rundown parts of Springfield.

thI want it to be another casino jewel in New England to solidify southern New England as a destination.  MGM, EncoreBH, Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun are all resorts people from all over the country would enjoy visiting.  How much is MGM Springfield a resort?  That’s a topic for a different post. But for now let’s see how it stacks up compared to MGM Springfield Three Years Ago.

Unfortunately, I still have doubts to accompany the excitement of a top-class resort venue and their journey to 2018.  So here are random thoughts about the MGM Springfield project and related issues:

Changes in Plans

The original plans were impressive, but now take away the tower, lower the parking garage by two floors, and move the apartments in the opening of the video further away from the casino. Inside, MGM Springfield looks similar to Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas (Sumerlain), with restaurants outlying the casino, and the essential “Center Bar” made so Important by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas long ago.  It has modern looks like MGM’s latest “Aria,” but much brighter. (Today, we now know it’s not even close to looking like Red Rock in Nevada, except for restaurants on the perimeter. It’s much smaller, with fewer hotel rooms. Center Bar is just a walk-up bar, a smaller version of Long Bar at the D in Downtown, Las Vegas.)

No free alcohol on the Casino Floor -Plainridge Park Slot Parlor

No free alcohol on the Casino Floor -Plainridge Park Slot Parlor

Will MGM & Wynn (Encore) be powerful enough to influence a repeal to the “NO Happy Hour” Law in Massachusetts?  Imagine no alcohol freebies on a casino floor owned by MGM & Wynn – blasphemy! (Originally, free drinks were to be limited to non-alcoholic.  Good for all that it was changed. Encore & MGM did have enough power to get Massachusetts to extend alcohol service. Both casinos are able to serve alcohol to players until 4:00AM)

MGM Atlanta

MGM Atlanta

MGM is a giant in the gambling industry and shouldn’t have any trouble separating their concerns in Macau & Las Vegas.  But their project in Atlanta, the first casino in Georgia, might be more of an interest than Springfield.  Massachusetts hasn’t been the most welcome state in the country concerning Wynn & MGM’s interests.

National MLife Connections

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

I’m encouraged about then East-West connection the rewards club will provide.  Earning MLife points in Springfield that can be used in Las Vegas & Biloxi (MGM owns Beau Rivage Resort Casino there) is exciting!  Let’s face it, MGM owns some incredible properties.  Imagine earning offers from MGM Springfield to stay at Bellagio, Aria, and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas! (In fact, MLife connections providing offers all over the country is a huge reason to play at MGM Springfield. In addition, Borgata is now owned my MGM, another great east coast property)

The Connecticut Threat

MGM dismisses everyone else in New England (except Wynn) as no competition. Eliminating the hotel tower is disappointing.  Yet, their “hotel on its side” plan idea is supposed to be the thing that distinguishes them from the Foxwoods & Mohegan Suns of the world.

Changes in designs do occur all the time. Rising costs are usually sighted as the reasons for these changes – whether it’s a Mall, housing project, or a casino. Sorry MGM, we know you are big stuff in the gaming industry, but rationalizing a downgraded hotel as game changing in the casino industry is just insulting.  New Englanders just aren’t that naive and stupid.

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s, minus the Hotel Tower

Correspondingly, if  MGM thinks the Nutmeg State’s casinos are not a threat to MGM Springfield’s success, why the law suit? (MGM International threw lots of opposition to disrupt a third casino in CT) Likewise, why does MGM compare itself to CT’s tribal casinos instead of looking out west to New York State. By the same token, MGM says it wants a casino in CT (Bridgeport) but pulled out of Foxwoods in previous years?  Hypocrisy I say. Sheer hypocrisy.

Related Post – MGM sues Connecticut officials over casino legislation

(Since then, MGM bought the Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway in New York. That’s only 55 miles away from Bridgeport, CT.  Also, their recent interest in buying Encore Boston Harbor showed a lack of wanting to keep MGM Springfield. MGM International continues to look like PacMan – trying to gobble up everything in sight.)

Gamblers Concerns

I’m just as concerned with what MGM is going to bring to gamblers.  So, MGM, I ask you – what advantage do I have spreading my money in Springfield compared to other New England options?

Poor VP Pay outs in many MGM properties. Jacks or better at 7/5.

Poor VP Pay outs in many MGM properties. Jacks or better at 7/5.

Will MGM have the same poor to mediocre Video Poker paytables that are in all their other properties?  (Yes!) The exception is Borgata in Atlantic City which they share with Boyd Gaming. You’re going to have to make your gambling options better if you seriously want to compete with CT & RI. (Guess we nailed that one!)images (3)I wonder what plans MGM Springfield has concerning smoking.  The options provided for smokers at Plainridge Park seem almost punitive.  Massachusetts Casino Law has the entire casino as non-smoking. (All Massachusetts casinos are smokeless. This is a plus to most.)

I have so many other thoughts, questions and requests concerning MGM Springfield, but they will just have to wait……….my brain hurts, time for a break.

Binbin

(Thanks for going back in time with us.  MGM Springfield is still evolving.  I wonder how different it will be three years from today?)

 

 

Massachusetts Casino Specs and History

BRIEF Massachusetts Gambling History

Massachusetts Casino Specs and History is an updated graph of property facts. Today, we also look back at how the Pilgrim state got to this point. Encore Boston Harbor has opened. MGM Springfield will be celebrating one year at the end of  with the summer.  By the way, Plainridge Park Casino is celebrating its 4th year of operation. So, how did the Commonwealth get here?

Plainnridge Park Casino & Raceway Entrance Entrance

What a difference from 400  years ago. Those new settlers who appeared on Plymouth Rock were not looking for the nearest casino.  Most Puritans disapproved of the numerous lotteries they in England, or any type of gambling.

According to GamblingSites.com,  “As an original colony, Massachusetts has a long history with gaming, going back to the days before it was a state.” Lottery and raffle revenue at least partially built Harvard University, the Massachusetts State House, and that famous memorial to Plymouth Rock.

In 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed the Expanded Gaming Act into law. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would oversee the new law which would add 3 casinos and a slots parlor. “Through the establishment of new gaming facilities, the Expanded Gaming Act will create new jobs,. In addition, it will generate new revenue for the Commonwealth, and contribute to the economic growth of the local economy.”

Current Legal Types Of Gambling

Casino Gaming is now complete with three casinos. But more casinos were planned.  Massachusetts Sen. Michael Brady asked the MGC to reconsider a proposed casino in Brockton, a project it rejected three years ago. Brockton, like Springfield, is desperate for jobs and revenue.

In May, Channel 10 News out of Providence reported some movement on the Wampanoag casino “First Light.” For more information, check out House approves bill to aid Taunton casino bid by Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.

First Light

First Light Resort Casino, Wampanoag Tribe, Taunton

Wampanoag Community Center and Future Bingo Hall gets new life.

Similarly, the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe on Martha’s Vineyard started construction on a small class II casino. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a legal challenge from the state and town. Subsequently, work on the Aquinnah Cliffs Casino began in February. However, the latest recent dispute by residents in May halted construction.

Related Posts – Martha’s Vineyard Decision Reversed

Online Casinos / Sports Betting. Pari-mutuel (pooled) betting on Horses is allowed, though greyhound racing was banned back in 2009. Massachusetts lawmakers are debating whether to allow sports betting.  Gov. Charlie Baker favors legalization that would allow adults over 21 to bet on professional sports teams. This may be a long way away. History tells us that concerning gambling, Massachusetts always wants to “get it right.”

Lottery Betting: The Commonwealth established The Massachusetts State Lottery in 1971. It was in response to the need for revenues for the 351 cities and towns of the commonwealth.  Over the last 45 years, Massachusetts has grown to become one of the most successful lotteries in the nation.

Mass Lottery – a mainstay in Massachusetts Gambling

Bingo Games: Yes, it is available under charitable gaming. Bingo type games are known as ‘Beano’ in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Casino Specs

Below, you will find a comparison of all three Massachusetts casinos properties. We hope you enjoy our Massachusetts Casino Specs and History.

Mass Casino Specs