After the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018 there has been a concerted effort by a number of states to get the ball rolling on legalizing sports betting. New Jersey has already got in on the action and it seems as though New York and Massachusetts are going to be joining the list very soon.
If and when that happens Plainridge Park Casino is hoping to be one of the first to have an in-person sportsbook, as well as the rest of its existing amenities. The Plainridge Park Sportsbook would sit nicely with the rest of its operation and give them a boost in comparison with other nearby casinos.
Plainridge Park Casino has already started planning for Massachusetts sports betting and look ready to go once the bill brought in by Governor Charlie Baker is passed.
The Plainridge Park Casino is located in Plainville, MA about 35 miles from Boston and around 18 miles from Providence, Rhode Island. It was the first casino granted a license in the state of Massachusetts but unlike the newer MGM Springfield Casino it has only slot machines – not table games.
The 106,000 square foot gaming area is home to 1,200 slot machines with a high limit room and high limit lounge as well as a range of video poker machines and electronic tables.
There have been plans for table games to be allowed at the Plainridge Park Casino as well but that decision would have to go to a vote. Being able to offer roulette, blackjack, baccarat and other table games would make Plainridge Park competitive with nearby Rhode Island casinos but that doesn’t seem to be a high priority at this point. What is more likely is that the casino will be able to offer sports betting when it becomes legalized in Massachusetts.
Compared to its state competitors the Plainridge Park Casino does miss out on its lack of table games – but an advantage it has is that it sits adjacent to the Plainridge Park Raceway and is part of the greater complex.
Live harness racing is held at the raceway from April through November three days a week and there is also the chance for customers to watch - and bet on - simulcast races the rest of the time. There are separate food and drink outlets at the raceway although they all sit under the same business at Plainridge Park.
The fact that Plainridge Park has this aspect of their operation suggests that sports betting would be the natural step – as with some of the casinos and racinos in New York. The experience of being involved with some kind of sports and sports betting gives the casino an advantage over others and it would seem as though the activities of the raceway would blend seamlessly with a Plainridge Park Sportsbook operation.
As with any large casino there is also a full entertainment schedule and a choice of food and drink options, as well as the hotel on site.
It is unknown whether the sports betting bill put forward by the Massachusetts governor will be successful, and if so, when, but Plainridge Park are gearing up to offer sports betting in what would be a very competitive market.
Having the casino operation will give them a head start but unlike some other casinos looking to get into sports betting, there is no news as of yet of a deal being struck with any sports betting operator to look after that side of the business at Plainridge Park Casino.
Massachusetts casino MGM Springfield has pre-emptively got together with GVC Holdings (the company that owns Bwin and Ladbrokes Coral) to help them and it seems like Plainridge Park should do something similar if they are to be successful with their sports betting venture. It would seem likely, however, that if nothing is set up by the time the sports betting bill is passed then there would soon be a number of sports betting companies wanting to be involved.
Once sports betting is legalized Plainridge Park Casino will be hoping to have their own sportsbook located in the complex where customers will be able to choose from markets and prices on sports from all over the world.
Big events such as the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby would prove to be particularly busy times for MA sports betting and customers would be able to make their selections and wagers at the Plainridge Park sportsbook. But to be successful Plainridge Park would also cover other sports and promote accordingly to let people know that the sportsbook was open all the time, not just on special occasions.
With a long tradition of sporting success in New England there is sure to be lot of interest from locals and visitors around NFL and NBA games – two sports that attract a lot of wagers – but other sports are sure to be well represented.
Although sports betting is not legal yet in the state of Massachusetts there is obviously a customer base ready and waiting once the Governor’s bill is passed. Illegal gambling is huge across the country but fantasy sports are already legal and are a good indicator of how popular a sportsbook would be at Plainridge Park Casino.
Customers of any future Plainridge Park Sportsbook would be able to make a range of bets depending on the sport involved. This would include moneyline bets, totals, straight wagers and parlays. If sports betting is legalized it is unlikely that any specific wagers would not be allowed – apart from betting on NCAA sports.
As with many other commercial casinos, Plainridge Park operate their ‘play for free’ mobile app where customers can play casino games for fun. If and when a sportsbook becomes fully operational the logical progression would be a mobile Plainridge Park Sportsbook app where bettors could make their wagers remotely.
Mobile and online sports betting is huge in Europe and any casino planning to expand to sportsbooks would ultimately be thinking of a potentially lucrative online version as well.
An MA sports betting app would give customers the freedom to make their selections wherever they like – and whenever they like. Plainridge Park would have the choice to keep their current ‘play for free’ app going, depending on whether they were also allowed to produce a ‘play for money’ version, as well as developing a dedicated Plainridge Park sports betting app.
Interested parties are now waiting to see what happens with Governor Baker’s sports betting bill. Since PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court last year there has been a lot of casinos in a number of states getting ready for what seems fairly inevitable - the introduction of legalized sports betting.
Massachusetts seems primed to be in the first wave of states introducing sports betting and the existing casinos are obviously in a very good position to make the most of the decision.
Industry insiders are expecting the bill to be passed sometime in 2019, which would mean the introduction of sports betting later in the year – or perhaps at the start of 2020.