Local Leaders Call for Table Games at Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino Table Games

The table games are designed to compete with two nearby Rhode Island casinos.

The city of Plainville and three surrounding towns have asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to allow Plainridge Park Casino to have legal table games. The city leaders believe Plainridge Casino needs gaming tables to compete with Rhode Island casinos in Tiverton and Lincoln.

Plainridge Park Casino is the only slots parlor in Massachusetts. Plainridge opened in 1999 as a harness racing track and off-track betting facility with simulcasting from around the globe.

The original plan set aside space for 400 slot machines on the site, though slots never were authorized in the early years of the racetrack.

Legal squabbles between operator Gary Piontkowski and real estate developer Lou Giuliano plagued the track, while Racing Commission chair Robert Hutchinson criticized the race schedule as an excuse to have simulcasting and slots.

Massachusetts Casino Gambling Vote

In 2011, the voters of Massachusetts approved land-based casino gambling in 3 venues in the commonwealth, along with a slots parlor at a racino. FormerĀ Plainridge Park CEO Gary Piontkowski told Massachusetts regulators that the horsetrack could not survive without slot machines. He cited competition from nearby states as a reason for the facility’s troubles.

Plainridge Park was earmarked for the slots parlor, though allegations that Piontkowski’s embezzled $1 million from the facility sidetracked plans for racino authorization. As the scandal gained notoreity, shareholders forced Piontkowski out.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Pulls License

New leadership claimed it would change the culture at the business. Stephen Crosby described the pledge as “way too little, way too late“. Plainridge’s application for a slots license was rejected in August 2013.

Only the entry of Penn National Gaming, a Pennsyvlania gaming company that had won the right for a slots parlor in Tewksbury, saved the Plainridge facility. Penn National agreed to buy Plainridge Park and transfer its license to the Plainville track.

Plainville Votes for Plainridge Slots Parlor

The people of Plainville voted 3 to 1 to approve Penn National Gaming’s purchase. With that legal hurdle cleared, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved the slots parlor license in early 2014. The slots parlor opened on June 24, 2015.

The Rhode Island casinos complained to lawmakers in their state they could not survive without gaming expansion, so the Rhode Island legislature approved casino gaming for the Tiverton and Lincoln casinos. That escalation led directly to the current calls for gaming tables.

Franklin, Wrentham, North Attleborough

Leaders from the nearby towns of Franklin, North Attleborough, and Wrentham are the ones who have joined with Plainville to appeal for table games. Residents in all four municipalities have jobs at Plainridge Park Casino, so the leaders claim they need table games to save jobs in the area.

In August of this year, the $960 million MGM Springfield opened in Western Massachusetts. In June 2019, the $2.4 billion Encore Boston Harbor is expected to open in Everett, a city four miles from Boston. Adding table games would make Plainridge Park Casino competitive with in-state rivals, as well.