Las Vegas casinos resist Bay State gambling limits

BOSTON — The state’s three licensed casino companies voiced strong concerns Thursday about a plan floated by regulators to limit the time and money gamblers spend at casinos.

During a discussion before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, representatives from Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming all said they support innovative ways of preventing gambling addiction.

But they uniformly opposed automatically enrolling casino customers into such a program and giving them an option to decline it, as regulators are contemplating.

Robert DeSalvio, who is overseeing Wynn’s $1.6 billion casino project in Everett, suggested such a program might turn off customers by making their visit “cumbersome” and “awkward.” He also voiced concerns about providing rewards and incentives to customers who sign up.

MGM, which is building an $800 million resort in Springfield, said research has shown that so-called limit-setting or pre-commitment programs do not work — a point that regulators disputed.

Penn National Gaming, which is building a $225 million slots parlor at the harness racing track in Plainville, said it is concerned there is not enough time to roll out the system before its planned June opening.

Company officials urged the panel to take time to develop the program and its required technology.

They also suggested using the first few years of their facility’s operations to pilot the program before making any long-term commitment.

MGM’s and Wynn’s casinos are not expected to open until 2017 at the earliest.

The commission took no action on the proposal.

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