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

Gambling Legislation Updates in New England

First, an apology.  I have been under the weather for a few weeks and have not been able to keep up with my passion here at NETimeGambling.com.  To add  to my dilemma, for many of us in Music Education, March is the busiest month of the year, with trips, drama productions, concerts and state honors festivals all in the name of Music in our Schools Month. While I have loved the many staff members and students I have worked with, I am looking forward to more dedication to NETG as I am retiring from 41 years of teaching middle school music this June with many wonderful memories to take with me.

My sincerest apology for the lack of media and coverage concerning New England’s Casinos recently. Feeling better, I am now ready to continue the quality resource the you have grown to enjoy as NETG – NETimeGambling.com.

 

Robin (Binbin)

Now, as they say….”On with the show!…”


One-hundred and seventy-one years ago, the California Gold Rush was on! On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Though he tried to keep it quiet, word spread and soon there was a surge in immigration to California from people hoping to strike it rich. It was the most famous gold rush in American history – until the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to disapprove PASPA, allowing states to take control of sports betting authorization, has started a sports betting frenzy.

 

In the northeast, it’s one state stumbling over another trying to get to the finish line first – trying to find the new gold standard in casino gaming – sports betting. Long gone is the obsession with getting millennials through the casino doors.  Now, a new obsession exists that many states legislators think is the Holy Grail of Gaming – sports betting.

In New England, Rhode Island ventured out first with approved sports betting at Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel, with rousing success that caused all the surrounding states to rush into sports betting legislature.  Now it’s a race to see who can share that new found gold with the Ocean State. This is an update of that race.

For a related post, try:  New England Sports Betting Arrives – Rhode Island Twin River First in NE

It’s The Time of Year For Gambling Legislation

The number of gambling bills introduced to New England’s state legislatures hit an all-time high in February.  State by state, the new bills included:

CONNECTICUT

  1. Four bills were introduced, ranging from sports betting to new casinos.  They are: SB 11 – eliminate the federal requirement that’s stopping the Tribal Winds project in East Windsor from moving forward. Currently, the state needs approval from the Department of the Interior.
  2. SB 17 – allowing casino operators to conduct sports betting in person or online to anyone within the state 21 or older. If that bill is accepted, the Connecticut Lottery would also be allowed to offer an online keno product through an agreement with the two tribes. This could violate the state agreement with the tribes.
  3. Another bill to the house would form a state gaming commission and create a competitive bidding process for a new resort casino. The tribes said this would violate the compact.
  4. A second house bill would see the launch of the Connecticut Gaming Commission and would authorize a competitive bidding process for an integrated casino resort in the Connecticut city of Bridgeport. MGM is behind the bill and has been trying to get it approved for a couple of years.

MASSACHUSETTS – Gov. Charlie Baker proposed to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. Baker’s proposal would allow both licensed casinos in Massachusetts and online platforms like DraftKings to build their own sports betting operations, and would limit gamblers to bets on professional sports, excluding collegiate and high school athletics, as well as Esports. Baker’s bill would give oversight of sports betting to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which would vet license applicants and enforce consumer protections, such as the prohibition on anyone under 21 from placing a bet. Some proposals floating around the Legislature would not allow mobile platforms to take part in sports betting, but instead require them to contract with a physical establishment like a casino.

RHODE ISLAND – Rhode Island could have online sports betting apps as soon as this year. Senate Dominick Ruggerio submitted legislation to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River properties. The bill contains a provision requiring initial, in-person registration for a mobile account at a Twin River property. Bettors then would be able to wager from anywhere in the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Gov. Chris Sununu voiced his support for legislation that would make betting on sports games legal under the supervision of the state’s lottery commission. The bill, HB480, would legalize betting on professional sports and the majority of Division I college sports. Games involving New Hampshire colleges would be excluded. “Opening New Hampshire to legalized sports betting would bring in more than $10 million in additional revenue,” the governor’s office said. “Ten percent of revenue would be earmarked for services to support treatment and prevention of gambling addiction in the state. Other revenue would be put toward the state’s education system.”

MAINE – The Portland Press Herald reports the state legislature will consider several bills that would sanction and regulate sports betting, including:

  1. Benjamin Collins, the representative from Portland, is sponsoring a bill that will help Maine’s native tribes, and believes a compromise measure between various bills will come together. Such a bill would include sports betting legislation for casinos, off-track betting parlors, harness racing and tribes.
  2. Senate President Troy Jackson is sponsoring another two bills that would cover online and mobile gaming. His bills would prohibit betting on college sports, minor league teams as well as youth sports.

VERMONT – No legislation was filed in 2018, though a fantasy sports bill was proposed. The bill died in committee. NETG doesn’t expect it to happen in the Green Mountain State, at least in the next two years.


It does look like this latest gambling obsession is going to stick around.  It will bring all sorts of traffic to the brick-and-mortar casinos, especially those large enough to build sports books that will cater to a wide variety of sports betters.  Large casinos continue to depend on gambling less as the main revenue with  entertainment, dining, and conventions taking on more of the burden.  States across the country are salivating at yet another way gambling can give a quick fix to their financial woes.

I think we are seeing just the tip of gold nugget…..

Binbin