New England Casino Gambling History – Updated

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.

"Roll the Bones" by Dr. David Schwartz

“Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz

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 War of 1637 set the stage for the separation of Pequot & Mohegan Tribes. Over 350 years after, both tribes started the New England Casino expansion we see today.

The Pequot War of 1637 set the stage for the separation of Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

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

Foxwoods Started it all with Bingo. This picture is the expanded Bingo Hall before Casino Expansion

Foxwoods Started it all with Bingo.


1992

The first New England Casino opens with Foxwoods opening its doors in Mashantucket, CT

"<yoastmark

The Rainmaker at Foxwoods

Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (classII) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.


1996

The Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT

A Dollar Coin from Mohegan Sun Opening

A Dollar Coin from Mohegan Sun Opening


2005

Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine


2007

Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming. Similarly, Newport Grand soon follows, redesigning without Jai-Alai

"<yoastmark


2008

MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods – Right side.


The Expansion begins

2011

MA legislature approves Expanded Gaming Act allows construction of 3 Resort casinos & one “slot’s only casino”


2012

Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine


2013

MGM pulls out of it’s Foxwoods partnership

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods


2015

Plainridge Park Casino Opens at Plainridge Raceway as the first Massachusetts casino (slots-only)

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts


2018

     A Big Year for New England Casinos and Hotels 

Oxford Casino, Oxford ME, adds Hotel, expanded casino and Ox Pu

Oxford Hotel & Casino

MGM Springfield Resort Casino opens

MGM Springfield

Newport Grand Slots Casino closes

Newport Grand Slots, Newport, RI

Tiverton Casino & Hotel opens

Tiverton Casino/ Hotel.

Twin River Casino adds Hotel

Twin River Hotel Lobby

Mohegan Sun opens Earth Expo Center

Mohegan Expo Center

Rhode Island approves and opens the first Sports Betting in New England

Opening day of Phase I Sports Book at Twin River Casino


2019

Encore Boston Harbor to open in the fall

Encore Boston Harbor rendition, courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor pressroom


You can find this post as a permanent menu item in our header above.

Binbin

New England Casinos by the Numbers – A Numeric Assessment of Each Property

Four New England States have casinos.

With every new casino expansion, there is work to do on our New England Casinos by the Numbers  Encore property specs are now in.  All nine casinos / resorts are together for your comparison. Tell us what you think on the NETimeGambling Facebook group.  Also, consider joining our Facebook Community “New England Casinos.”

Related Post – New England Casino Gambling History – Updated

Below our New England Casinos by the Numbers, you will find some some additional facts about New England’s gambling scene.

But first, enjoy comparing all nine of our casinos. At the bottom, you can click on the arrows for the other pages. It’s just the facts, Jack.

NE Property Facts Rev 2

 

How about some facts about our own New England Casinos you may, or may not know.

  • Mohegan Sun actually has three hotels – Aspire is a hotel within a hotel on the top of Sky Tower.
  • Two states will soon have sports betting.  Rhode Island & Maine.
  • Foxwoods has a new CEO. John J. James. He will take the role beginning Aug. 12. He has worked in the Native American resort and gaming industry for more than 25 years.
  • The Buffet at MGM Springfield is at its final weekend. It received good reviews. Hopefully it will become a daily thing in the future.
  • While parking is paid and expensive at Encore. But for little play on your Players Club Red Card, it only costs $1 off your card points.
  • There is one casino Maine that was omitted – Penobscot High Stakes Bingo – considered Class II gaming.
  • There are three New England tribal casinos somewhere in the process of being built:
  1. In Massachusetts, the Aquinnah Cliffs Casino is finally under construction.  Built on tribal land on Martha’s Vineyard, it will be a Class II casino.
  2. First Light Resort, in Taunton, built by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. However, it seems hopelessly stuck in litigation with Taunton residents.
  3. Tribal Winds Casino, a joint venture between the Mohegan & Pequot tribes in CT, has been approved, but has not been started due to numerous gambling considerations, especially sports betting.
  • The state with the most poker rooms is New Hampshire with twelve. Many offer other table games and all legal under the Charitable Gaming Law.
  • Most slots? – Mohegan Sun.  Most Hotel rooms? – Foxwoods. Fully non-smoking casinos? – all in Maine and Massachusetts.

 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as they say.  Enjoy.

Bin, Bert & Miguel

 

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?)