PLAINVILLE, Mass. (WTNH) — A new era begins Wednesday for the gambling industry in New England. Massachusetts’ first gambling parlor has opened not far from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, and the casino war between Massachusetts and Connecticut is underway.
This is the beginning of the race for gambling dollars, gambling jobs, and the state tax revenue that comes with it. With Wednesday’s opening of Plainridge Park, a horse track now expanded to include more than 1,000 slot machines and a sports bar, the casino competition between the Bay State and the Nutmeg state is officially underway.
Located not far from the Patriots’ stadium in Foxboro and the massive factory outlet mall in Wrentham, it’s the first of four gambling venues Massachusetts is planning. A massive complex in Springfield is scheduled to open by the fall of 2017.
The head of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission says the plan is to hurt the Connecticut casinos badly. The war is expected to really escalate as the target date for the $800 million MGM casino resort in Springfield comes closer.
Earlier this week, Governor Malloy signed a bill that starts the process of allowing Connecticut’s two Native American casino tribes to start the process of trying to open a third casino in northern Connecticut to compete with the Bay State operations.
“I understood what the legislature’s desire was: at least to take a serious look at it in a two-step process,” he said. “I think a two-step process is better than a one-step process, so I was happy to sign the legislation.”
The Mohegans and the Mashantuckets must seal a deal with a community in northern Connecticut that wants a casino, and then it would come back to the legislature for a final vote.
“I think the tribal nations have a job to do,” added Gov. Malloy. “They have a round of discussions to have, and let’s be serious, there’s no comparison between the gaming operations right now in Massachusetts and the two facilities we have.”
“Today marks the start of direct competition from Massachusetts for Connecticut’s gaming jobs,” the tribes said in a joint statement. “The good news is that the legislature and the Governor have given the tribes the opportunity to meet that competition.”