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    Boston Business Journal – Mass. will see $300M from two casinos and Plainridge, gaming chairman says

    August 9, 2016

    By Colin A. Young 

    Once two resort casinos under development are open to gamblers, diners and shoppers, Massachusetts can expect to pull in about $300 million in annual gaming revenue and municipalities can likely plan on more state aid flowing their way, Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby said Tuesday.

    Estimating that both full-scale casinos — MGM in Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett — will return “easily” between $75 and $100 million each per year and the slots parlor at Plainridge Park in Plainville will yield up to $80 million annually, Crosby said the state can expect “something like $300 million, probably” from gaming.

    The state is due to receive 25 percent of gross gaming revenues from each casino, and receives 40 percent of gross gaming revenue from the slots facility, with an additional 9 percent of revenues from that facility going to a Race Horse Development Fund. When the casino law was approved, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and former Senate President Therese Murray said it could provide 10,000 to 15,000 long-term jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the state.

    When MGM and Wynn open — expected in 2018 and 2019, respectively — Crosby said he doesn’t expect the state Lottery to see a decline in its profit, which is returned to cities and towns as local aid.

    “I think the Lottery take, the Lottery take will probably not be negatively affected,” he said. “The take for local aid will probably increase.”

    Lottery officials, including Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, have been skeptical of claims that expanded gaming won’t negatively impact the Lottery, and have been closely monitoring Lottery sales around the slots parlor. Lottery profits were flat in the last fiscal year.

    In just more than a year since its opening, the slots parlor at Plainridge Park has returned $68 million to the state for local aid, Crosby said. The chairman said the slots parlor run by Penn National Gaming, the first gambling facility to open since the 2012 expanded gaming law, is “going very well” despite falling short of revenue projections.

    Revenues “are like 60 percent of the projections,” Crosby said. “Everybody including Twin River, the competitor across the border 17 miles away in Rhode Island, projected that Penn would do more than it’s been doing. Exactly why it isn’t, nobody’s quite sure. Whether it’s that you can’t smoke or you have to be 21, we don’t know for sure what it is.”

    Each slot machine and electronic table game at Plainridge Park generates about $350 in gross gaming revenue per day, Crosby said, an amount nearly double the average for similar machines. And the town of Plainville, he said, is spending $2 million from the slots parlor to plan a new municipal public safety complex.

    “Plainridge has about 500 jobs, about 20 percent of those people were hired off the unemployment rolls, and Plainridge has generated $80-plus million in tax revenue,” he said. “From the standpoint of the negative consequences, there have been no serious traffic problems since the first day, we have a very careful study done of any crime of any kind in all of the surrounding communities … there has been zero increase in crime in the first six months owing to the casino.”

    While two of the three resort casinos authorized by the 2011 law are under development, the fate of a possible third remains in flux. The Gaming Commission earlier this year denied a gaming license to private developers with plans to build a casino in Brockton as a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal casino planned for nearby Taunton appeared to be a done deal.

    Last month, after the tribe broke ground on its planned $1 billion First Light Resort and Casino, U.S. District Court Judge William Young ruled in favor of a group of Taunton property owners who argued the federal government erred in placing land in trust for the tribe.

    Crosby said Tuesday the Gaming Commission does not plan to re-open its debate over issuing a third gaming license for now and said he expects the issue of the tribe’s land will be settled in federal court.

    “We do what we’ve been doing for five years, try to wait and figure out what’s happening with the tribe,” Crosby said. “We did talk about this at a public meeting and we said, no, we’re just going to sit tight.”

    Original article: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2016/08/09/mass-will-see-300m-from-two-casinos-and-plainridge.html

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