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

New England Casino Expansion – A Look at Past and Present

 

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New England Casino Coverage!

The dust is beginning to settle in New England’s State legislatures. As gambling continues to expand in the northeast, there are bound to be winners and losers. It’s hard to say who will be the real winners and losers in the New England Casino Expansion story. At this point, I can at least speculate, can’t I?

New England Expansion Winners

Massachusetts is a big winner with MGM Springfield & Encore Boston Harbor anchoring the Bay State. They are two of the biggest players in the casino industry.and brings lots of advantages to this young gambling market.

Rhode Island casinos are winners with the addition of sports betting. Unfortunately, the revenue from sports betting hasn’t lived up to expectations, but it is improving.

But, the New England Casino Expansion has produced one major group of winners – New England’s resident gamblers.  Competition between the three southern New England states has given New England residents new gambling options & conditions to choose from.  Links to reward clubs such as MLife, Wynn Red Card, and the change of Penn National to Choice Rewards gives a national connection coast to coast. Promotions and entertainment offerings have also seen a greater competition, which only translates as a positive for consumers.

New England Expansion Losers

Who are the potential losers in this expansion?  Well, depending upon future growth, some of the winners may also be partial losers.

Connecticut casinos have been seen as the biggest losers by the yearly decline in revenue of approximately 7-9% each month. But, because of recent talks with Bridgeport and the CT legislature, the future seems brighter.  With the federal approval for the casino venture in East Windsor, Connecticut could have a third casino on the Massachusetts border, just 10 minutes away from MGM Springfield. The two CT tribes – Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans – could have their joint venture, Tribal Winds, up and running by 2021.

And Connecticut could reverse the tables on MGM International.  Recent talks with Bridgeport & CT legislators could continue the monopoly of gaming and the expected revenue in the state.  With an open bidding process, the Constitution State would lose 25% of all slot revenue from both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

Plainridge Casino’s Caught In Between

Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway could the biggest loser.  This quaint first Massachusetts casino in Plainville Massachusetts opened in 2015.  Penn National has been building loyal patrons ever since, slowly increasing revenue to surrounding communities and the Bay State. Plainridge has one glaring problem – its slots only, and has no hotel. And they are surrounded by competition. Twin River Casino & Hotel is ten minutes away with over twice the slots, tons of table games, and more dining options. Remember, they also have legalized sports betting.

The New England Casino Expansion of Encore Boston Harbor will also present a huge problem for Plainridge. The newest New England Casino is only 50 minutes away –  a big, beautiful resort offering all the amenities and gambling options you’d expect from from Wynn Resorts. Also, the CT casinos are just over an hour away.

How will Plainridge survive? The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must change the original gaming rules so it can expand, include table games, and add a hotel. However, it doesn’t look to happen soon. Let’s hope that this Plainville Property hangs until then.

The race to more Sports Betting

I believe the finish line to the Legal Sport Betting finish line will be as follows:

Win – Rhode Island, if they add mobile online betting in Rhode Island.

Place – Massachusetts.  It will take longer than expected, but eventually they will get it right. As heard on the Art In The Game podcast recently, guest Dustin Gouker suggested multiple vendors would be best, giving competitive lines and bonuses to MA residents. RI uses only one, William Hill, and is run by the RI Lottery.

Show – Maine & New Hampshire. (tie)  Yes, they both will beat out CT.  Again, it will  be a slow process, but the Maine legislature is more apt to pass it before a third casino for their tribal communities.  New Hampshire has already passed a beginning bill concerning legal sports betting.

NO Show – Connecticut.  It’s very complicated. If the tribes don’t get the sole ownership of legal sports betting, they see it as breaking the gaming pact first established in 1992. So many want a piece of the sports betting pie – OTB, KENO operators, and the LOTTERY. We will see a prolonged stalemate on this one.

Related Post – Gambling Legislation Updates in New England

THE ORIGINAL WINNERS – ONCE ENEMIES

The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were once one tribe. But war with colonists, differences with other tribes, and different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day. Over 250 years after the Pequot War (which almost eradicated the entire Pequot Nation), a bingo hall rose on what was left of the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in 1985.

Previous to 1992, both tribes fought for federal & state recognition as well as keeping land claims. Then governor Weicker agreed to give the Pequots a monopoly on slot machines in return for 25 percent of the slot machine revenue with the state guaranteed $160 Million. A year later, in 1993, the Pequots  agreed to share the gaming business with the Mohegans, a tribe with whom they have lived for centuries, but the Indian monopoly is extended to all casino games.

NEW ENGLAND CASINO EXPANSION – 1992 to the PRESENT

Foxwoods started it all with a Bingo hall.

Foxwoods started it all with a Bingo hall.

  • 1992 – first New England Casino as Foxwoods opens its doors in Mashantucket, CT
  • 1992 – Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (class II) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai
  • 1996 – the Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT
  • 2005 – Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine
  • 2007 – Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming; Newport soon follows
  • 2008 – MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino
  • 2011 – MA legislature approves construction of 3 casinos
  • 2012 – Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine, making two casinos in Maine
  • 2015 – Plainridge Park opens in Plainville, MA, first of three casinos  at – slots only.
  • 2017 – Oxford Casino opens Hotel and casino expansion
  • 2018 – Newport Grand closes; MA opens 2nd Casino, first full casino, in Springfield; Twin River Group moves Newport Grand operations to newly opened Tiverton Casino & Hotel; Twin River Casino opens new hotel; RI casinos offer first legal sports betting
  • 2019 – MA opens third casino in Everett, Encore Boston Harbor

Related PostNew England Casinos – How Many by 2022?

Gambling Options Before 1992

Casino gambling found a home in the 1800’s in Newport, Rhode Island, not to mention the numerous greyhound, horse tracks and  parimutuel parlors throughout New England. Jai Alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI were also popular for a while in the 1970 – 90s until Foxwoods opened. Rhode Island’s Lincoln Greyhound Park became Twin River Casino later.greyhound

The Many Casinos That Never made it

New England has had more casino proposals not come to fruition than the Las Vegas Strip. For those of you living here, remember these possibilities?

  • Penn National Casino in Springfield, MA (2013)
  • Caesars Casino proposal in Boston, MA (2013) partnering with Suffolk Downs
  • Mohegan Sun Casino proposal in Palmer MA (2013)
  • Hard Rock International Casino proposal in West Springfield MA (2013)
  • Mashpee Wampanoag “First Light” Casino in Tauton MA (2013) [not daed yet]
  • Nunes/Foxwoods Casino proposal in Milford MA (2013)
  • Rush Gaming Slots-only proposal in Worcester MA (2013)
  • Racino proposal in Scarborough ME (2013)
  • Cordish Gaming Slots-only proposal in Foxboro MA (2013)
  • Penn National opts out of Casino in Springfield, MA, to set sites on slots-only in Plainville (2013)
  • New Hampshire proposes three separate casinos (2012, 2013, 2015), but none to show for it.
  • The Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians casino proposals ME
  • Mohegan Sun Casino proposal for Revere MA (after MGM chosen for Springfield (2014)
  • Maine Casino Proposal @Scarborough Downs (2014)
  • Foxwoods Casino Proposal in New Bedford MA (2014)
  • Rush Gaming Casino in Brockton MA (2014 – 2018)
  • York Casino Proposal ME (2015, 2017)

    Foxwoods New Bedford (top), Rush Gaming’s Brockton Proposal, which is hanging on by a thread.

For now, there are  9 casinos when Encore Boston Harbor opens. And now, the plot thickens………

Binbin

Kentucky Derby Primer & New England Celebrations

Churchill Downs Is The Center of the

Racing World This Week

The Kentucky Derby is so much more than part of horse racing’s Triple Crown. It’s one of the most famed horse races in the world, aptly named “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” It’s step one of the famed Triple Crown in horse racing. For the state of Kentucky, “The Derby” draws an average of 150,000 visitors each year, including residents, out-of-towners, celebrities,

Churchill Downs

presidents, and even members of royal families. For the official Kentucky Derby website, go to 2019 Official Kentucky.

Here are a few interesting facts about “the Derby:”

  1. The first Kentucky Derby race occurred in 1875
  2. The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and a sweet syrup and is traditionally served in a commemorative Kentucky Derby glass.
  3.  The Kentucky Derby is host to some of the longest standing racetrack traditions in the U.S. Each year, you will find fans sipping Mint Juleps (drink made from whiskey, mint and sugar) and eating burgoo (a meat stew) at the racetrack. Women appear in lavish outfits with big, elegant hats. The University of Louisville marching band plays Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home” as the horses are paraded before the grandstands.
  4. This is actually a 2-week festival – The annual two-week series of events held in Louisville beginning with Thunder Over Louisville and leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

Types of Kentucky Derby Bets Available

Mohegan Sun Racebook

  • Win – This is a bet for a single horse to win.
  • Place – This is a bet for a single horse to finish first or second.
  • Show – A bet the horse will place in the top three.
  • Across the Board (Win, Place & Show) – This is similar to a show bet, but if your horse wins second or first, the payout is much larger.
  • Exacta – This is a bet for the first and second places – in the exact order.
  • Exacta Box – This is like the exacta bet, except that the winners can be in any order.
  • Trifecta – This bet is for the top three finishers in a specific order.
  • Trifecta Box – Similar to the trifecta except the winners can be in any order.
  • Superfecta – This is the toughest bet but one with the biggest payout. It chooses the top four finishers in exact order.
  • Superfecta Box – This is the same as a superfecta except the order of the top four horses picked does not matter.

The Line as of Wednesday, May 1st at Westgate SuperBook

Kentucky Derby Celebrations at your New England Casinos.

KENTUCKY DERBY CELEBRATIONS – Foxwoods, Hollywood Bangor, MGM Springfield, Mohegan Sun, Oxford 

FOXWOODS – May 4th, 10AM, Grand Pequot Ballroom – Place a $50 wager and receive one (1) free food coupon for the Kentucky Derby Buffet, one (1) free mint julep coupon, and free Kentucky Derby T-shirt. Reserved Seating for account wagering players only in The Ultimate Race Book. Place a $25 wager and receive a free Kentucky Derby Cap.  One per Loyalty Card Holder, while supplies last, only in GPT Ballroom.  The Ultimate Race Book – Advanced Wagering begins May 2 / Kentucky Oaks Day • May 3

HOLLYWOOD BANGOR RACEWAY – May 4th. – The 135th season of racing at historic Bangor Raceway gets underway on Saturday afternoon with a day of events leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Live racing starts at 2:30 p.m. and a full slate of nine races is scheduled. Hollywood Casino will be offering prizes for the best hat and attire.Coverage of the Kentucky Derby begins at 4:30 p.m. and will be on display under the grandstand with opportunities to place wagers before the Derby post time of 6:46 p.m.Admission to the grandstand is free. Race programs will be sold at the track for $1 starting the day before each race card.

MGM SPRINGFIELD – May 3&4th – MGM Springfield will kick off a weekend of festivities on Friday, May 3, with the launch of “Food Truck Fridays” and what is billed as “Derby de Mayo Weekend” on the casino grounds.  “Derby de Mayo Weekend” kicks off Friday, May 3, at 11 a.m. with a performance by local cover band Feel Good Drift, lawn games and bites from “Food Truck Fridays” inaugural event. Guests can also enjoy TAP Sports Bar’s signature outdoor beer garden, which will open for the first time this season.On Saturday, May 4, at 4:30 p.m., the grounds off Howard Street will transform into an outdoor viewing party for the venerable Kentucky Derby race as it shown live on the 330-square-foot marquee screen. The event also will feature live music and three MGM Springfield food trucks.

MOHEGAN SUN – May 4th – Sky Convention Center And Uncas Ballroom.  Open seating for approximately 1,000 people on a “first come” basis; VIP section for invited guests; 30 Betting terminals; 9 large screen displays dedicated to the races; Special Guest Handicappers: Mike “Mut” Mutnansky – Host of Mut and Callahan from 6am to 10am on  Sports Radio 93.7 WEEI in Boston. Anthony “Big A” Stabile – Co-host of Talking Horses on NYRA and HRRN, Jim Mazur – from Progressive Handicapping; Giveaways: With $25 wager ..Commemorative Mohegan Sun Derby 2019 T-shirt. With $50 wager…A pass to enjoy the Derby Festival Buffet.; Advance Wagering:  in the Race Book available on Friday, May 3rd. Make a $50 advance wager on the Derby and receive a souvenir cap*. Windows open at 11:00am.

OXFORD CASINO (Owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated) – On Saturday, May 4 from Noon to 6:30pm – Sixth Annual Derby Dash! Pick your favorite pony in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby and you could win a share of the Derby Dash prize pool of up to $15,000* Free Slot Play. Then watch the race at the Oxford Event Center.

Binbin