Massachusetts’ first commercial casino reported more than half of its revenue coming from ‘recaptured’ customers who otherwise would have gambled out of state, according to a new report.
This week, the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute released an economic impact study of Plainridge Park Casino’s first year of operations. The Penn National Gaming casino (slots hall, really) opened its doors in June 2015, the first of three commercial brick-and-mortar casinos authorized by the state legislature in 2011.
The study, which was conducted at the request of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), found that customers spent a total $172.5m on both gambling and non-gambling activity at Plainridge Park in the 12 months ending June 30, 2016. Casino visitors doled out a further $3.2m in non-casino spending in the Plainville area over that same period.
Of that $172.5m in casino spending, around $100m came from what the survey called ‘recaptured’ patrons, i.e. gamblers who previously traveled to other states where casinos were legal. Out-of-state residents spent $36m at Plainridge Park while Massachusetts residents spent $36.6m that would otherwise have been spent on other goods or services.
The state earned $81m from taxes and other assessments on Plainridge Park’s first year of operations. The casino created 556 new jobs, with employee salaries topping $17.8m. All told, the casino created or supported 2,417 jobs in the state.
Earlier studies have painted Plainridge Park in similarly positive lights, including its failure to (a) negatively impact Massachusetts Lottery ticket sales, or (b) produce the crime wave that anti-gambling critics had so ominously forecast.
MGC chairman Steven Crosby celebrated the sizable ‘recaptured’ share of Plainridge Park’s revenue, saying the state legislature’s “principal motivation” in approving the 2011 casino legislation “was to recapture the approximately $1b spent annually by Massachusetts residents at out-of-state casinos.”
The next commercial casino to open in the state will be MGM Resorts’ $950m MGM Springfield, which will begin welcoming the public in September 2018. Wynn Resorts’ even splashier $2.9b Wynn Boston Harbor project is expected to follow sometime in 2019.