The Plainridge Park Casino opened as slots only casino in Plainridge, Massachusetts during June 2015 and currently enjoys a monopoly in the state as its competitors, the $950 million MGM Resorts Springfield casino and $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor casino are currently under construction. Plainridge witnessed a 5 percent decline in revenue in August when compared to the same period last year.
The drop in revenue will not surprise Penn National, the company that owns the Plainridge facility, as the owners made a conscious decision to retain less than 7.5 percent of wagers in an attempt to give back money to its customers and thereby create a more loyal customer base. Based on numbers released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, this strategy could be working as the casino recorded its fourth highest monthly total of $178 million in wagers.
By retaining a lower percentage of wagers in August, more gamblers at the Plainridge Park Casino went home happy but that meant Plainridge could only bring in $13.1 million in revenue, a loss of over $2 million or 14 percent when compared to August 2015. The casino lost around $25,000 per day in August when compared to its performance in July. The Plainridge Park casino generated $160 million during its first year of operation, which was a lot less than what gaming analysts had predicted.
Clyde Barrow is a professor at the University of Texas and someone who closely follows the New England casino industry stated that Plainridge wanted to give back more money to its customers so the slot machines were set to deliver more wins for each spin. In a statement, Barrow said “Players want longer periods to play with the same amount of money. That’s the enjoyment and excitement of gambling. Plainridge is trying to stay competitive and build itself up. It’s a delicate judgment, deciding what percentage a casino should keep as its revenue.”
During the first eight months of its operation, the Plainridge casino retained around 8.75 percent of wagers. During the last six months, the company changed its strategy and dropped its percentage to around 7.5 percent. Should the casino have held on to its 8.75 percent of wagers in August, it would have made an additional $2.5 million in revenue.
The Plainridge casino’s hold percentage in August was less than the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. The hold percentage in the Rhode Island casino is calculated in a different manner which makes it hard to compare with other casinos but all three casinos have dropped their hold percentages in recent months.
Plainridge could face more competition in the form of a new casino in Rhode Island. Twin River Casino owners are waiting on a November statewide ballot vote to see if they will be granted permission to develop a new casino which will be just 45 minutes away from Plainridge.