Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman, Stephen Crosby has published a blog post on the MGC website disputing conclusions drawn by media in regard to gaming revenue performance at Plainridge Park Casino – the first of many venues to be opened in the state offering gambling games.
A headline in the World Casino News read that revenues had plummeted due to competition from Twin Rivers Casino, a full service gaming facility located about half an hour away in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Commissioner Crosby has another view on the matter and refutes the conclusions drawn and focuses on other elements of the slot parlor’s success that he says are meeting expectations.
You can read Chairman Crosby’s blog post in its entirety:
Recently you may have heard public discussion or seen several news reports about the fact that revenues at Plainridge Park Casino are at present running behind expectations. While the Gaming Commission is certainly aware of this trend, and while we will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the performance of our licensees, I believe there are several key points that should be taken into consideration as part of our ongoing dialogue about this matter:
–First, five months of operation does not provide enough data to draw any significant conclusions about the status or future of gaming in Massachusetts. Gaming as an economic development tool is a long term play. At the end of the start-up period in 2018, Massachusetts will have seen an investment of at least $3.4 Billion in its casino industry—Plainridge accounts for $250 Million of that investment. . It will be many years before we will be able to truly assess the economic outcomes of the Commonwealth’s decision to authorize expanded gaming.
–Second, while gaming tax revenue (already $30 Million) was one of the motivations for authorizing casinos, it was only one of several. On all the others—jobs (more than 500, including 112 people hired directly from unemployment); capital investment ($250 Million); payments to cities and towns; and local supplier purchasing ($1.8 Million), it is clear that the Plainridge Park Casino has been a substantial economic plus for the Town of Plainville, the region, and the Commonwealth.
–Third, while some have suggested the lower than expected revenues is an indication that the gambling market is saturated in Southern New England, the initial facts tell a different story: in the first 4 full months of Plainridge operation, slot machine revenues in the 5 casinos in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts have increased by $37 million. All of that growth has been in the Plainridge facility. And meanwhile, Plainridge seems to have recaptured $22 Million in slot revenue from its competitors–a major objective of the legislation.
–And finally, despite performing below expectations, the Plainridge facility is performing at a far better rate on a per machine basis than all but one of the 14 other casinos that have opened in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio over the last 10 years.
Massachusetts made the decision to permit casinos—under the most rigorous and progressive controls in the country (in terms of local control, community mitigation, comprehensive research, and innovative responsible gaming strategies). Our job at the Gaming Commission is to implement that law in a way that maximizes the benefits and keeps the unintended consequences to the barest minimum.
It will take some time to see how we do.