Study Shows Plainridge Park Casino Helped Massachusetts Recapture Funds

by Jim Hall

Plainridge Park CasinoA 2016 study was recently released, showing that the first Massachusetts casino helped to recapture gambling funds.

One reason that gambling facilities are created in a state is to keep gambling dollars within the state’s borders. Massachusetts did not open its first commercial casino until 2015, in order to be able to compete with neighboring states that were already invested in the gambling industry. A study from 2016 has now been released to the public that shows the opening of Plainridge Park Casino helped to recapture gambling money from neighboring states to Massachusetts.

Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling

Yesterday, the State Gaming Commission released the report, titled the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts. The study was completed by University of Massachusetts Amherst researches to provide a picture of the impact economically that the state had seen from the first commercial casino.

The researchers took their job seriously and began by interviewing customers of the Plainridge Park Casino of their habits involving gambling and non-gambling activities while on-site. The report showed that instead of traveling out of state to spend their money, players were remaining within the borders of Massachusetts.

The Plainridge Park Casino first opened in 2015 and was the first commercial casino for the state. The property includes slot machines, horse race betting and electronic table games. Legislature wanted to see the gambling industry open up locally and prevent any gaming revenues from moving out of state by opening the new venue.

To do this, lawmakers approved as many as three casinos plus a single slots parlor to be created in the state. The slots parlor license when to Plainridge Park, which was the first open. Two casino licenses were then given to developers. MGM Resorts International is currently working on MGM Springfield which will cost $950 million upon completion. This venue is set to open in 2018 around September. Wynn Resorts was provided the second license and should be ready to open the Wynn Boston Harbor casino by 2019, spending over $2 billion in the process.

What the Study Found

The study showed that with the first casino open, the state was able to recapture more than 58% of revenues that was otherwise being spent out of state. Over 16% of gambling spending by customers was reallocated to goods and services. The majority of visitors were found to be residents of Massachusetts and over 11% of those visiting came from Plainville. More than 66% of visitors came from other areas of the state. The remainder were from out of state.

The most popular games among players were slot machines, which is no surprise. Around 87% of those who visited the venue were there to enjoy the slots. Horse race betting and table games were less popular but still enjoyed by visitors.

Of those visiting, close to 90% had played at gaming venues located in other states. Before Plainridge Park was open, casino goers would visit Rhode Island and Connecticut to play their favorite games.

The goal of the study was for the researchers to provide the state Gaming Commission with information to help them better understand the resident gaming habits and how the local economy was impacted by the slots parlor.

It is interesting to look at the results and clearly see how patrons made the switch from traveling out of state to staying in Massachusetts, spending their time at Plainridge Park. Once the two full scale casinos are open, we shall see their impact as well. There is no doubt the two venues will be popular among residents as well as out of state visitors.