Plainridge says it’s doing very well

Plainridge says it’s doing very well

GM: Revenue highest in nation on per-machine basis

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

ONA PER-MACHINE BASIS, the slots parlor at Plainridge Park in Plainville has the highest revenue of any similar gaming facility in the country, the parlor’s general manager told the Gaming Commission on Tuesday.

Plainridge Park General Manager Lance George said the slots parlor averaged a “win per unit” — the average net revenue generated daily by the facility’s 1,250 machines — of $346 during the third quarter of 2016.

“Very robust,” George told the commission during a report on the slots parlor’s third quarter. “It’s the highest. It’s the highest in the country.”

Plainridge also counted $39,756,062 in revenue during the third quarter, up slightly over the first two quarters of the year, George said. Through September, Plainridge had collected $117,604,847 in revenue, George said, with $52,444,388 going to pay state taxes and $5,186,808 earmarked for the state’s horse racing fund.

Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby commended George for the apparent success of the first gambling facility to open in Massachusetts since the 2011 expanded gaming law. Initial revenue projections for the slots parlor were around $260 million annually, but those forecasts were revised to roughly $160 million in 2015.

“This is one thing that I think is useful for the public to appreciate because we all had these very extravagant original projections which we didn’t end up making, but we are, in fact, you are, in fact, doing extraordinarily well,” Crosby said. “It’s going incredibly well at Plainridge, which is an impression we would like to correct out there.”

George’s presentation to the commission also addressed the numbers behind an audit released Monday by Auditor Suzanne Bump that found the commission did not ensure that Plainridge Park reached its workforce development goal of having 90 percent of its employees come from Plainville and surrounding towns.

“Gaming was established in Massachusetts to create jobs and economic benefits for local communities, and our state as a whole. Not only is Plainridge Casino falling far short of the job creation promises made to the people of the state, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has not taken action to ensure they meet their commitments,” Bump said in a statement Monday. “The Commission must take steps to ensure that these facilities produce the economic and job creation benefits that residents of the Commonwealth expect.”

At the end of September, George said, workers from Plainville, Foxborough, Mansfield, Wrentham, and North Attleborough comprised 31 percent of the Plainridge Park workforce.

“The property continues to work aggressively in our surrounding communities through job fairs, advertising, hiring preferences, our work with community colleges continues,” he said. “We acknowledge that the local hiring goal is ambitious at 90 percent, no doubt about it, particularly in a region that has a very low unemployment rate.”

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In a statement in response to Bump’s report, the Gaming Commission said that it has “strict internal controls to monitor this issue,” and that it is pleased with the Penn National Gaming-owned facility’s efforts to hit its goal. Crosby echoed that sentiment Tuesday.

“You set a very ambitious goal, which is great, and we know that you’re continuing to go after it. This 90 percent goal is a goal that will continue, we’ve been looking at this every quarter. It isn’t something you were supposed to get to at a particular moment in time, but an objective,” he said. “We really commend the fact that you’re willing to set out an aggressive goal and use all the kinds of tactics you are to making it.”

George also reported to the commission Tuesday that 16 percent of Plainridge Park employees are minorities (surpassing its 10 percent goal), 2 percent of employees are veterans, 71 percent live in Massachusetts and that the 501-person workforce is almost evenly divided between men and women at 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively.