PLAINVILLE, Mass. (WWLP) – The casino era in Massachusetts officially began Wednesday, with the grand opening of the state’s first legal slots parlor. Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville held its grand opening Wednesday morning, making it the first of potentially four gaming facilities in the state.
About 1,000 people poured into the slots parlor as it opened its doors to gamblers just before noontime.
Located off Interstate 495, Plainridge Park contains 1,250 machines, including slots, video poker, and virtual versions of table games such as roulette and blackjack- though the facility doesn’t actually have any live table games. The slots parlor was built on the property of an active harness racetrack, and live racing will continue there.
Plainridge Park adds about 500 new jobs, with about 100 jobs at the harness track preserved. Casino officials expect about $100 million in revenue will be returned to the state every year. One key point of bringing casinos to Massachusetts was to keep Massachusetts gamblers’ money in state.
“If you’re interested in keeping those tax dollars in in state, 49 cents on every dollar that goes through the slot machine goes back to the state,” Penn National Chief Operating Officer Jay Snowden said.
The facility is managed by Penn National Gaming, a company that had initially sought to build a resort casino in Springfield’s North End. They changed their focus to the slots parlor after Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno opted to advance MGM’s South End casino proposal instead. That facility is not expected to be completed until late 2017 or early 2018.
Penn National CEO Tim Wilmott told 22News that he thinks the Twin River casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island will be their primary competition, with the anticipated Wynn casino in Everett being another competitor once it opens.
22News reporter Ryan Walsh has been covering the casino issue extensively, and is Plainville for Wednesday’s grand opening. He will have a look inside the new casino tonight on 22News starting at 5:00.