Plainridge Park Casino – A Mini Trip Report

I hadn’t visited Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway in a while, and there had Irish dining specials, so the NETG crew set out to Plainville to get our “green” on.

Plainridge first opened to the public on June 24, 2015 as the first Massachusetts casino as approved by the Expanded Gaming Act on November 22, 2011, signed by Governor Deval Patrick. It was to be a “slots-only” property. Penn National Gaming won the license and became the only company to own two casinos in New England – Hollywood Bangor in Maine being the second. Recently there has been a push for the addition of table games to improve pending competition with Encore Boston Harbor, Tiverton Casino & Hotel & their neighbor Twin River Casino & Hotel, just ten minutes away.

First Take

We arrived at 1:30, ahead of our 2:00 reservation at Slack’s Oyster house and Grill for their advertised “Corned Beef & Cabbage Special,” (more on that later).  As we walked around the casino on a very busy day due to additional slot play offered and it was St. Patrick’s Day on a Sunday, we noticed a few changes.

  • The High Limit Slot area had been moved to where the it’s essentials store was. A wall now separated the area from the rest of the casino as you walk in the main entrance, giving the entrance a certain claustrophobic feel across from the Marquee Rewards (going to be myChoice Rewards soon). However, the High Limit room is nicely done, and the rest of the casino flows more without it inserted inside the lower denomination slots.
  • The essentials store has now been moved further towards the raceway side of the property.
  • Electronic craps was taken out, and only two electronic roulette multi-seat games remain.

    Electronic Table Games - No dealers, no fun.

    Electronic Roulette Games at Plainridge

  • Dunkin Donuts is now the coffee vendor of choice, and Smashburger has been added.

Second Take – Dining Snafu

Plainridge says it wants you to experience “hometown hospitality.”  But it’s not very hospitable  to changing specials and not admit it.

When we arrived at Slack’s Oyster house and Grill, our waitress (who was wonderfully understanding, BTW) told us the special was Irish Beef Stew and the Corned Beef Special was the day before. She did tell us that it was being served at Fluties 22, their sports bar. With little wait, we sat down to a delicious Irish meal, Irish bread and all, for $10 less!  While it worked out well, NETG has always found Penn National’s websites for both New England casinos underwhelming, inaccurate, and late in terms of changing their monthly promotions.

The Gambling

We all had a little free slot play, and I brought a measly $40 as well.  Off I went to find the best bang for the buck with a small bankroll. As all of you can attest, sometimes the best decision is not made – but the outcome is beyond any of your expectations. 

I decided to play electronic 3 Card Poker.  I don’t usually play this table game with real dealers, so why this with a virtual dealer? At $5 minimum, I certainly wouldn’t suggest it, but I sat down anyway. As the luck of the Irish would have it, the Irish eyes were smiling down on me that day.

After a few lucky hands holding even at the minimum bet of $5, I decided to play the sucker bet.  The Pair Plus bonus was also $5 minimum. After hitting five flushes, four straights, and a straight flush, I walked away 30 minutes later with $500.  Just like that, my opinion of virtual dealers and electronic / stadium games changed!  Seriously, I do realize that this result is not the norm, but it sure made my day……heck ,my month!

We left having had fun, enjoyed a great meal, and some of us (c’est moi!) even made money. We did enjoy the trip and would recommend it. Elvis even entertained on the Revolution Stage.

Did Elvis have the luck of the Irish? The singer’s great-great-great-great-grandfather was Irish (true fact!).

Fact is, you don’t need the luck of the Irish to enjoy a visit to Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway.

Binbin – Embrace the Math, not the Myth!

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

Binbin

 

Massachusetts Casino Region C – “To Be or Not To Be,” That IS the Question

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos.

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos. Doesn’t include Mashpee Wampanoags in Taunton or Plainridge Park Slot Parlor in Plainville.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has its hands full, it seems.

Steve Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Steve Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

MGC Chairman Steve Crosby seems to thing all plans have a chance to work itself out.  The problem is, many others are doubting it will all come to fruition.  In a previous post 5 Reasons New England Gamblers Will Decide Where the Casino Money Goes, John Kostrzewa points to important considerations in New England’s Casino future – something Mr. Crosby and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission should read.

Let’s look at their original plan:

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino

SLOTS ONLY LICENSE – Plainridge Park Casino gets the revenue stream started, keeping Mass gamblers in state and luring way Rhode Island gamblers.  So far, it has been very successful while seeing a decline each month after its opening.

Wynn Everett Resort Everett, Mass

Wynn Everett Resort Everett, Mass

 

 

REGION A LICENSE – Wynn is hand picked after sending home Caesars, then allowing the glitz of Vegas to dismiss Mohegan Sun.

Wynn is now starting the clean-up of the old Monsanto waste site, in litigation with numerous parties, and considering changes to its proposal as this is posted.

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s

REGION B LICENSE – MGM Resorts is chosen in Springfield, only to have unapproved changes made, and delays estimated to put off the opening for three years.  Connecticut continues to pressure the MGM project with a third Casino of its own in a joint effort from Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods – somewhere withing the vicinity of 30 miles from Springfield.

Proposed Brockton Casino

Proposed Brockton Casino

REGION C LICENSE – Only Brockton remains, but hasn’t been given the license because of the rebirth of the Wampanoags Taunton project.  The MGC is taking a wait and see path, as Twin River bulks up with additional tables, added poker room, a hotel, and possibly moving Newport Grand to Tiverton – across the border from Plainridge Park in Plainville.

How is this all panning out?  Originally, four Mass. casinos would be looting & pillaging CT & RI casinos by 2017.  But it’s not looking like the plan is on track.

The main concern at this time for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is should a Region C license be awarded at all.  According to MGC Chair Steve Crosby, “They can coexist……They would cannibalize one another. Neither one of them would do as well.”

But the main concern here isn’t casinos, community involvement, traffic, or lawsuits.  It’s cash, moolah, the almighty buck.

The expansive Mashpee Wampanoag  Casino Proposal in Brockton, Mass.

The expansive Mashpee Wampanoag Casino Proposal in Brockton, Mass.

Under the compact between the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Massachusetts, the state would collect 17% of the tribal casino’s gaming revenues, compared with 25% of revenues from the commercial casino. However, the tribal casino would not be required to pay taxes if a commercial casino were to open in the same region. Which would mean the same number of gamblers, but half the revenue to the state. Would the MGC deny Rush Gaming a chance in Brockton because the Mashpee Wampanoags project looks more likely to happen than three months ago? Is one large Tribal casino better than two casinos – tribal and commercial – co-existing?

Remember, the Massachusetts  Casino Law in 2011 didn’t become law because the Massachusetts legislature thought adding the devil of gambling to its list of tourist attractions, it was the greedy devil from within to get their Bay State money back that had been spent by Massachusetts patrons for years in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Spock in "Amok Time" - Star Trek.

Spock in “Amok Time” – Star Trek.

I guess it’s not that easy to build a casino and hear the stream of money drop into Massachusetts coffers.  Dear Mr. Crosby, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Or,  as Spock said in Star Trek, season 2, episode 1 (“Amok Time,” 1968) , ““After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.”

That’s all for now.

Binbin