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.


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


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.


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


Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine


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



MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods – Right side.

The Expansion begins


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


Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine


MGM pulls out of it’s Foxwoods partnership

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods


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

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts


     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


Encore Boston Harbor to open in the fall

Encore Boston Harbor rendition, courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor pressroom

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2018 NEW ENGLAND CASINO AWARDS – We Need Your Participation!


Sponsored by

Start thinking and get ready to rate New England’s Casinos!

The time has come to for all you crazy (or serious) New England Gamblers to vote for this year’s. But you don’t need to live in New England to vote – New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey – let your voice be heard!

This is the third year for NETimeGambling’s annual Awards. Nominations for this year’s New England Casino Awards, or the “NETy’s,” ending this Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Click on the link below to place your votes. Only 20 questions. Vote only once. 


NETG 10 Wishes For NewEngland Casinos

2018 New England Casino Wish List

It’s 2018, and it’s time to continue our annual tradition at (NETG) – a beginning of the year wish list. So here are Ten Wishes for New England’s casinos in the 2018.

Wish #1 – Continued financial stability and growth for CT’s tribal casinos. Wish #1A – MMCT gets past a prejudiced government to be given a chance to save its gaming interests in the Nutmeg State.

Proposed MMCT joint casino – CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

Wish #2 – Expansions at Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine help continued growth in a state that has decided it doesn’t want more than 2 Casinos.  Wish #2A – The crossing in front of Oxford Casino, Rte 26, is made safe so no one else loses their life crossing from Hampton Inn to the casino.

Wish #3 – Twin River Casino’s new hotel is finished soon to make it a destination resort.

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino, Plainville, MA

Wish #4 – Plainridge Park Casino continues to build a loyal base before the rest of the Massachusetts casino expansion gets started in Springfield and Boston.

Wish #5 – Speaking of Springfield, a seemless and successful opening for MGM Springfield for the residents of the city. We hope that MGM’s promises for Springfield come true.

Armory Marketplace, part of MGM Springfield

Wish #6 – Gamblers will become more knowledgeable and picky concerning pay tables, odds, and EV. Wish #6A – Casinos bring back 3/2 blackjack, craps “firebet,” single zero roulette, full pay VP, etc…..

Wish #7 – the Connecticut Sun, of the WNBA, who call Mohegan Sun their home, win their first WNBA championship.  Wish #7A – the new Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA play the Sun in Sin City to give another reason to visit.

Wynn Boston Harbor

Wynn Boston Harbor opening in 2019

Wish #8 – Wynn Boston Harbor is finished earlier than expected and becomes the jewel of New England’s casinos as expected by the end of 2018.

Wish #9 – Newport Grand’s last year in business isn’t a sad one.  Wish #9A – Those employed by Newport Grand find jobs elsewhere to their liking after its closure.

Wish #10 – NETimeGambling continues to grow with all our old and new friends.  Wish #10A – NETG continues being part of the TravelZork Team.  Thanks Michael.

Finally, I wish you all have more jackpots, Royal flushes, and life changing table game bonuses. May 2018 be a great gambling year.