Bay State regulators tap Penn National to operate first and only slots parlor

BOSTON — Massachusetts gambling regulators voted 3-2 on Thursday to make Plainville the site of the state’s first and only slots parlor.

The slots parlor license will be offered, with conditions, to Penn National Gaming, which plans to operate the facility at the Plainridge harness racetrack.

A proposal by Cordish Cos. in Leominster won two votes, including from commission chair Stephen Crosby. The third applicant, Raynham Park, did not receive any votes.

All three demonstrated the financial ability to develop and operate a successful slots parlor, commissioners said, but Plainville got the top ranking of “very good to outstanding” because of Penn National’s experience in operating 28 other gambling facilities in North America and its understanding of “the current and future Massachusetts competitive marketplace.” Penn National is based in Wyomissing, Pa., and also owns the M Resort in Henderson.

Commissioners who backed Plainville also cited the preservation of harness racing in Massachusetts.

The license is the first for expanded gambling in Massachusetts since passage of a law allowing for three resort casinos and one slots parlor. The commission is expected to award casino licenses for the greater Boston and western Massachusetts regions by June 30.

The smaller facility can offer up to 1,250 slot machines, but no table games.

Commissioners who studied the three proposals gave both Plainville and Leominster “sufficient to very good” ratings for building and site design, while Raynham’s was graded “sufficient to insufficient.”


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