Springfield and Everett are set to host large-scale casinos in the future, but the slot parlour set to open in Plainridge this week will mark the start of a new era and Stephen P. Crosby, chairman of the state Gaming Commission, is excited about the big event. He said in the Boston Globe: “This is as big a change in the cultural, social, and economic face of Massachusetts as I have seen in almost 50 years. It’s creating new jobs, state revenue, and economic development.”
Built next to Massachusetts’ last remaining horse racing track, Plainridge Park Casino has been opened in a bid to keep gamblers from the state closer to home. It is estimated that around half of the customers at the Twin River Casino, located just over the border in Rhode Island, are from Massachusetts. The two resort casinos in nearby Connecticut are also thought to attract as many as a third of their patrons from the Bay State.
In an effort to stop gamblers from going elsewhere, the casino in Plainridge has been designed to resemble a slick Vegas venue and will have slot machines as technologically sophisticated as any in the country. There is an emphasis on touchscreens rather than old-style levers and instead of table games with dealers, there will be computerised multiplayer card tables featuring digital female characters.
Plainridge general manager Lance George is confident the casino will be a success, and a target has been set to collect almost $500 a day on each slot machine within the next year. “It’s aggressive, but there’s precedent for it. We are cautiously optimistic that we will make it.”