While there has been a lot of debate and opposition to the proposed MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor casinos in Massachusetts, Steve Crosby the Gaming Commission Chairman remains confident that the casinos will be of great benefit to the state as the gambling industry is expected to generate around $300 million annually to the state government.
The MGM Springfield facility is expected to open in 2018, and Wynn Boston Harbor in 2019 should everything go as per plan. Each casino is expected to generate between $75 to $100 million each year and the Plainridge Park slots parlor in Plainville will generate an additional $80 million each year, which would give the state close to $300 million in gaming taxes.
When Therese Murray, ex-Senate President and Robert DeLeo, House Speaker approved the casino industry in Massachusetts, they expected the industry to generate millions of dollars for the state and create close to 15,000 permanent jobs. Massachusetts will receive twenty five percent of gross gaming revenues (GGR) from each of the casinos and 40 percent of GGR from the Plainridge Park slots parlor. A further 9 percent of gaming revenue from the slots parlor will also be given to a Race Horse Development Fund.
The Plainridge Park which is run by Penn National Gaming opened as a slots only facility just over a year ago and has so far generated around $68 million to the state. Although the slots parlor has done well, gaming revenue has been a lot lower than what analyst had initially estimated it to be.
In a statement, Crosby said “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. 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.”
When Massachusetts approved casino gambling, the state lottery was concerned that it would have a negative impact on the lottery. Deborah Goldberg, treasurer for the state lottery stated that profits from the lottery for the last fiscal were flat and that lottery officials were continuing to monitor lottery sales being generated around the Plainridge slots parlor.
Massachusetts had earlier considered approving a third casino license for a casino to be built in Brockton. However the gaming commission rejected that license after it was confirmed that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe was planning to build a new casino in Taunton. Crosby confirmed that the gaming commission had no plans as of now to issue a third casino license.