Penn National awarded first gaming license in MA

BOSTON (WWLP) – The gaming commission has made it official, awarding the state’s sole slot parlor license to Penn National Gaming.

The state’s only slots parlor is going to be about 90 miles from Springfield in Plainville. The 22News I-Team was in Boston as this historic gaming license was awarded.

Penn National Gaming will be the first company to open a casino in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission awarded Penn National Gaming the very first slots parlor license in the Commonwealth.
It will be called the Plainridge Park Casino.

“It’s a really big deal.  It’s historic and I hope it turns out in retrospect to be historic in a really good way”, said Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.

Penn National took over operating the Plainridge Racecourse in January and said it would have had to close if it didn’t win the slots parlor license.  Now they expect racing to be back in April and they expect the slots parlor to open sometime next spring.

“We’re going to open up in the 2nd quarter of next year (2015) with our permanent facility and be the first casino to open up in the state of Massachusetts.  We couldn’t be more proud and we’re going to make sure we met all of our commitments and obligations to the Commonwealth”, said Penn National Gaming President and CEO Tim Wilmott.

Plainville is in Southeastern Massachusetts, a few miles from where the Patriots play in Foxborough.  It’s also about 12 miles from Rhode Island’s Twin River Casino.  In 2012, Massachusetts residents spent more than $550 million at Connecticut casinos and close to $300 million at Rhode Island casinos, according to the UMass-Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis.    One of the main objectives behind Massachusetts legalizing gambling was to keep that money in the state.

“Our consultants who are very familiar with the economics of gaming felt that this was well strategically positioned
to pull money back.  If it’s a nice facility and its more convenient that’s where people will go”, said Crosby.

“There’s a lot of Massachusetts traffic going into Providence to the Twin River facility and we’re going to offer a much more convenient location for those slots players.  I think it’s going to allow Massachusetts dollars to stay within the Commonwealth”, said Wilmott.

You may remember Penn National Gaming wanted to build a casino in Springfield’s North End, but Mayor Domenic Sarno selected MGM instead. MGM may be a winner again, as Penn National’s selection, leaves all of Central Massachusetts without any type of casino.  That could turn into prime MGM territory.

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