Plainridge pulling gambling money back to Mass.

Plainridge pulling gambling money back to Mass.

Study: 58% of revenue 'recaptured,' 20% from out-of-state

NEARLY 60 PERCENT of the money collected by the Plainridge Park Casino during its first year of operation came from Massachusetts gamblers who previously would have been going out of state to place their bets.

A team of researchers from the Donahue Institute at the UMass Amherst estimated on Thursday that $100 million of the $172.5 spent at Plainridge was “recaptured revenue” – money that would have been lost to another state without the establishment of the slots parlor here. Another $36 million was spent by out-of-state residents and the remaining $36.6 million was spent by Massachusetts residents who previously had not gambled.

Officials at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which commissioned the research, hailed the UMass report as evidence that the state’s experiment with casino gambling is doing what it is supposed to do – bringing money that had been flowing out of state back into the state.

“Now whether or not that’s going to be true in the future years or the future casinos, we have no idea,” said Thomas Peake, a Donahue Institute analyst. “But for the first year of operations at Plainridge Park, we’re confident that most of that money would have been spent out of state.”

Using data from surveys of patrons, the report showed almost 97 percent of the casino’s total revenue  came from gambling, while just 3 percent came from spending at restaurants and other non-gaming activities. Researchers said the casino hired a total of 893 employees (556 work year-round) and paid out nearly $18 million in wages. Researchers also estimated visitors to the slots parlor spent $3.2 million in the Plainville area during their visit.

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Natasha Ishak is the editorial intern at CommonWealth magazine. Her duties include reporting and writing on the latest policy issues happening on Beacon Hill.

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About Natasha Ishak

Natasha Ishak is the editorial intern at CommonWealth magazine. Her duties include reporting and writing on the latest policy issues happening on Beacon Hill.

Before arriving at CommonWealth Magazine, she worked as a digital intern under NOVA/PBS at WGBH. She was a reporter in her hometown of Jakarta for four years, writing up stories at The Jakarta Post - Indonesia's oldest leading English-language daily, and as a production assistant on the popular news program, the Indonesia Morning Show.

Now in her second year pursuing a master's degree in journalism at Emerson College, she hopes to shed light on marginalized communities through stories related to politics, immigration, social justice and the environment.

Commissioner Enrique Zuniga said the numbers track pretty closely to what Penn National, the operator of Plainridge, and the commission had estimated. “The prediction that Plainridge did [on estimated direct jobs] was right in the ball park when they submitted their applications and when our consultants evaluated them,” he said.

The spending estimates were developed using a patron survey created by the Donahue Institute specifically for this project. The data was collected by Plainridge, government agencies, and the institute.