Las Vegas, Nevada Is Great – But New England Casinos Offer A Lot As Well

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip, looking north, on a beautiful weekday morning.

If anyone who frequently visits Las Vegas, will tell you about the clubs, the shows, the buffets, the shopping, the immensity of the hotels, etc. The fact is, gambling as the number one reason to visit Las Vegas has decreased.  It’s the experience, the late night events that research shows as the main reasons for vacationing in Vegas. Good gambling options especially on the Strip are far & few between, become a thing of the past.

Don’t get me wrong – Las Vegas is my favorite place in the world.  And if you look for it, Las Vegas offers good gambling – you just have to look for it. To someone that loves Vegas as much as I do, there are some very annoying, if not aggravating, things about the place these days.  My wife and I have witnessed the expansion of “Sin City” over the last twenty years – both the good and not so good. We remember the old Vegas, trying to transition from to corporation and ownership and the famous themes with the development of three-wing hotels on the strip.

Las Vegas in the 70's

Las Vegas in the 70’s.  Courtesy of

We paid our dues in those beginning years – staying at the Hacienda (imploded for the building of Mandalay Bay), Riviera (recently razed for the convention center), and Lady Luck Downtown (closed for years, now Downtown Grand).  Some of our best memories include:download (1)

  • stopping to spin for free airfare at Vacation Village
  • drinking great brews  at the “Holy Cow” (a CVS now) across from the Sahara (which is now SLS) before the craft-beer-brewing craze
  • the first time we drove through Red Rock Canyon without seeing the urban sprawl.  Roads to Summerlain weren’t even completed.

    Remember the days of casino trips with coupon books?

    Remember the days of casino trips with coupon books?

  • getting “fun books” at places like Lady Luck, Casino Royale
  • seeing our first and THE FIRST Cirque du Soleil show on the strip “Mystere” for the first time
  • finding 9/6 JOB almost everywhere
(Still wondering what this has to do with New England Casinos?  I’m getting to it.)

But, I’m afraid some of the fun just doesn’t exist like that anymore, or at least what I consider fun. It’s changed.  Parking fees, ghost taxes at restaurants, resort fees, show prices usually around three figures – all cut into the vacationer’s bankroll, after they are playing games with larger house edge.  Just like Ellington said in the 40’s, “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.”

But that is what businesses do – they continue to evolve.  So, we have to continue to look for different experiences to “float our boat” because nothing stays the same – especially in Las Vegas.

Cosmo at night.

Cosmo at night.

Last week I was in suites at Cosmopolitan for 4 days and Westgate (the old Las Vegas Hilton) for 2 days.  It was a great time.  We look forward to new things now – lunch at Giada’s, great draft beer at Banger Brewing, and the best donuts ever at Donut Bar.  What does this have to do with gambling in New England?

But, I’m glad to be back. To be honest, the pay tables and % payback in New England are comparable to the Strip (check Casino Player’s monthly stats), if not better and it doesn’t cost an arm & and a leg to get here, never mind pay for parking like MGM Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It’s Vegas style gaming with some of the amenities that are now lacking in Sin City.  

The future continues to be promising for New England Casinos.

  • MGM Springfield completed by 2019
  • Oxford Casino, Maine will have two hotels available, one attached to the casino.
  • Wynn Boston Harbor – completed by late 2019
  • New Tiverton Casino in Rhode Island replacing Newport Grand
  • Twin River Casino building a hotel….eventually.
  • Maybe a third casino in Connecicut
  • Mohegan Sun adding  the new “Earth Hotel” late this year.

NewEnglandFINALSo, I guess the point is simple: drive less, pick your games wisely, use the NE Casinos’ bonuses and special offers during the holiday season and enjoy your recreational gambling closer to home – as well as the great entertainment, dining, and hotels they have to offer.

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Plainridge Revenue Dips – Patriots to Blame?

Old & New Logo of the New England Patriots

Old & New Logo of the New England Patriots

Tom Brady & The New England Patriots have been blamed for everything this year it seems – this (   )gate and that(   ) gate.  You might as well fill in the blanks – I’m surprised Bob Kraft hasn’t been fined by the NFL for global warming!

Now, according to reports from Massachusetts’s only casino, the New England Patriots home games are having a negative impact on its business.  Plainridge Park Casino officials told state gambling regulators this week that the slot parlor and harness racing track in Plainville sees significantly fewer visitors on game days. The casino is located about five miles from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.

Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.

You mean to tell me that a casino, the only one in Massachusetts – THE ONE THAT IS SUPPOSED TO QUICKLY THREATEN THE RHODE ISLAND CASINOS – can’t draw people to their casino on a weekend?  Damn those Patriots, 5 miles away in Foxboro!

Plainridge Park Entrance, Plainville, MA

Plainridge Park Entrance, Plainville, MA

Monthly revenue at Plainridge Park Casino has dipped slightly each month since its opening.  C’mon “Chicken Littles,” it’s to be expected after a terrific opening.  Even though Plainridge Park Casino generated $12.9 million in gross gambling revenues in October, down from over $18 million in July, let’s not panic.

Embrace the Patriots!  Sponsor sports talk pre-game shows on WEEI, or other radio that covers them.

Doug Flutie Statue in front of Flutie Pub 22

Doug Flutie Statue in front of Flutie Pub 22

By the way, Plainridge Park, have you done ANYTHING to connect to the big football game at Fenway today between Notre Dame and Boston College?  If you haven’t, Doug Flutie’s statue in front of his restaurant must be very disappointed.

(AS AN ASIDE – our thoughts go out to Doug Flutie and his family.  Mr. Flutie’s parents both died this week one day apart from each other.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.)

NETimeGambling suggests the following to Penn National, owners of Plainridge and Hollywood Bangor:

  1. Massachusetts just approved regulation of Fantasy Sports.  Before it goes away altogether, take advantage with promotions tied to fantasy sports.
  2. Set up a HUGE TV MONITOR on the Revolution lounge stage, get permission to show the games, and treat each game to celebrate our fabulous Patriots.  Embrace the team and stop whining.

    Large Stage in the Revolution Lounge, Plainridge Park Casino

    Large Stage in the Revolution Lounge, Plainridge Park Casino

  3. Special promotions – multiplier days, hot seat days, ticket raffles with entries based on play – do SOMETHING that brings Patriot fans in to gamble and watch the game.
  4. Offer entries on Patriot game days to your Las Vegas Casinos – M Resort Or especially Tropicana on the strip.  Tropicana has just been connected to Marquee Rewards.  On remaining game days, have patrons earn entries for two free nights at the Trop!download (4)

Penn National is high up on the gaming industry ladder – they should know what to do.  These dips are to be expected.  If they continue into the spring, then Massachusetts may have deeper concerns on their plate than Patriot’s game days.

That’s all for now.  Tomorrow – Turkey Day Promotions as part of our weekly SUPER SEVEN Promotions



The New England Casino Picture Paints Many Possibilities

A picture paints a thousand words – so the saying above goes. A recent picture from the Boston Globe Staff creates the unfolding story of the New England Gambling Industry, with multiple endings. Study the picture below before reading on.


Besides the placement of working & proposed casinos in New England, this picture shows where the battle lines are drawn, or where loyalty lines may be crossed.

Geographically, potential winners and losers can be expected. Here are some random thoughts concerning the possibilities:

  1. Is it not a wonder that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is hesitating on issuing the Region C license to Brockton?
  2. The Mashpee Wampanoag building a resort casino so close to Brockton outs Brockton between two big casino projects – Wynn Everett & Taunton.
  3. Penn National’s Plainridge Park could carve its own niche because of the lack of table games.
  4. Moving the Newport Grand to Tiverton with a hotel attached fortifies the Eastern Front for Rhode Island, and bad news for the Massachusetts casino group.
  5. The Addition of a third Connecticut Casino in the Hartford area makes the CT River battle a two horse race – however, the loyalty programs of Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun might keep CT gamblers in-state for the most part.  MGM, however, has a national MLife Rewards program that couls have value east to west.
  6. Entertainment venues are far enough apart not to compete.  Twin River, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, MGM Springfield and Wynn Everett probably won’t get in the way of each other concerning concert & club venues.
  7. If Maine can’t stabilize it’s two casinos so far away from southern New England, they definitely don’t need a third.

Finally, and the most important part, is the number of possible gambling option in Southern New England should cause fierce competition.  And guess who the biggest winner should be?

Well, the gambling consumer, of course.

That’s all for now.