Plainridge Park Casino
Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville is the only racetrack and slots parlor in Massachusetts. It is also the oldest active place to make a bet in the Bay State. Harness racing and simulcast wagering have been taking place at Plainridge since 1999.
Plainridge Park is operated by PENN Entertainment. The casino giant has run the slots and harness races since 2015. Plainridge is the lone slots parlor that the state allows under the Expanded Gaming Act, which opened the possibility of casino gambling in Massachusetts in 2011. It remains the only live racing track in Massachusetts.
Sports betting in Massachusetts is now live, with retail sports betting having launched earlier this year on Jan. 31. Now, sports fans in the state can place their bets at Plainridge Park through PENN’s Barstool Sportsbook. However, Barstool will be rebranding to ESPN Bet this fall.
Plainridge Park Casino Details
- Address: 301 Washington St., Plainville, MA 02762
- Phone number: (508) 576-4500
- Hours of operation: 24 hours a day, though some areas may vary
- Games offered: Slots, electronic table games, pari-mutuel wagering
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Plainridge Park Casino sports betting
Plainridge Park Casino officially applied for a MA retail sports betting license last year. The facility was granted a “temporary” sports betting license by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in December.
On Jan. 31, retail sports betting in Massachusetts went live. This means that there is now a Barstool Sportsbook Massachusetts location at Plainridge Park Casino.
Thanks to a massive $1.5 billion deal between PENN and ESPN to create its own branded sportsbook, the retail Barstool Sportsbook at Plainridge Park Casino will be rebranded to ESPN Bet this fall. The new ESPN Bet is slated to launch in November.
Plainridge Park Casino games
Plainridge Park’s name is something of a misnomer because of the word “casino.” Two other venues in the state that use that word in their name are both resort properties with full-service casino operations. Plainridge Park, on the other hand, is a slots-only facility with harness racing. However, there still are plenty of games to play at Plainridge.
Plainridge Park is home to more than 800 slot machines. Reel-based and digital games are available, and there are several machines with progressive jackpots. Denominations on Plainridge slots range anywhere from pennies per spin all the way to $100. Popular slot options at Plainridge Park Casino include the following:
- Jackpot Inferno
- Crazy Money Double Deluxe
- Double Diamond
- Mr. Cashman
- Lightning Link
- Buffalo Grand
Electronic table games
Because Plainridge is not a full-fledged casino, it cannot offer the live version of classic games like blackjack, roulette, or craps. However, it can offer electronic table games.
These machines allow several players to sit in on the same game. They are large, multi-screened affairs with a central console that uses computer graphics to portray the game at hand. It operates the game exactly as a live dealer would. Although the bulk of the game’s flow will occur through computer animation, some options might have automated dice or roulette wheels in the middle of the console to add an element of realism.
Here are some of the electronic options you can try at Plainridge Park:
These games tend to offer minimum bets that are lower than a live version of the game. It’s not required, and we cannot guarantee what limits you’ll find at Plainridge, but electronic table games often offer a cheap entryway to shooting dice, doubling down, or putting some money on black.
Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts offers live racing between April and November each year. Harness racing pits standardbred horses against one another, and they each pull a manned cart behind them called a sulky. The pace at which harness horses can run is controlled, and these races are often called “trotting” races because of the restriction.
Harness racing features more strategy on the part of the jockeys than typical thoroughbred racing. Positioning throughout the race is as important as speed. Nevertheless, the same types of MA horse racing wagers are available for trotters as for normal horse races. Races run almost every day during the season, but start times get earlier as the days get shorter and colder.
If harness racing is not your thing, there are still plenty of options for handicapping at Plainridge Park. Simulcast wagering — where you bet on all manner of races from around the country — is available year-round. Doors open at noon seven days a week, and the facility closes at 8 p.m. from Monday through Wednesday. Weekend hours are a bit longer, with betting available until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
There are races occurring every day across the country. This means there’s always something to bet, even if the track at Plainridge Park is dark for the season.
Plainridge Park Casino amenities
One thing to realize about Plainridge Park is that it is not quite as highbrow as the other casino locations in Massachusetts, particularly Encore Boston Harbor. So, while there are plenty of food and entertainment options at Plainridge, they are (for the most part) more blue collar than at the casinos in Springfield and Everett.
The first things to know are the places you can get a bite to eat or get a drink at Plainridge:
- Slack’s Oyster Bar & Grill
- Flutie’s Sports Pub (currently closed)
- Grab & Game
- Home Stretch Food Truck
- Revolution Lounge
- Dark Horse
Slack’s Oyster Bar & Grill is the closest thing to a luxury restaurant at Plainridge. Flutie’s Sports Pub was not open at the time of this review. The other four restaurants are all outlets in the food court.
Plainridge Park is also home to two entertainment venues — The Loft and Revolution Lounge. The Loft offers comedians and live music, while Revolution Lounge hosts local DJs and solo musicians. Finally, Plainridge Park is home to The Patio, a separate music venue that takes its acts outdoors.
Because Plainridge Park Casino is part of PENN Entertainment, patrons can join and take part in Penn’s loyalty program, mychoice. It functions like many similar programs, in that every dollar that you spend at Plainridge — gambling or otherwise — yields tier points. Tier points work in two ways. First, you can redeem them for casino cash (aka comps) at certain levels. You can spend this at any PENN location around the country.
Tier points also increase your tier in the loyalty program. Each tier increases the benefits you can claim. Here are the tiers:
- Choice — up to 999 tier points
- Advantage — 1,000 to 17,999 tier points
- Preferred — 18,000 to 49,999 tier points
- Elite — 50,000 to 199,999 tier points
- The Owners Club — 200,000+ tier points
Every activity at Plainridge can help you accrue points. However, some activities are more lucrative, so to speak, than others. For instance, betting $5 on Penn National slots is worth one tier point, but you’d need to bet $40 on electronic table games to receive the same benefit.
Responsible gambling at Plainridge Park Casino
PENN is one of the more proactive companies when it comes to responsible gambling. The company is a Gold Level partner with the International Center for Responsible Gaming, and it maintains a C-level management committee that meets with the ICRG on a regular basis.
In addition, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission requires that Plainridge Park maintain a GameSense booth during its hours of operation. GameSense is a program that places gambling counselors inside casino locations to offer assistance. GameSense booths have loads of information to help dispel myths about gambling and give strategies for how to gamble responsibly. GameSense booths can also provide a respite from the casino floor, which might be crucial for breaking the psychological cycle at work in some people.
Plainridge Park Casino history
Plainridge Park itself arose out of the closure of another harness track, Foxboro Park. The former manager of Foxboro, Gary Piontkowski, proposed the founding of a new racetrack in Plainville in 1997. After a couple of years of wheeling and dealing, Plainridge opened with both simulcast and live wagering in 1999.
Piontkowski spent the next decade campaigning to be able to offer slots at the site. He even lobbied against a slots bill in 2008 because it omitted permission for racetracks in the state. He finally got his wish in 2011 when the Expanded Gaming Act passed. Plainridge was the first track to apply for the slots casino license under the new law.
Unfortunately, Piontkowski hit a roadblock due to allegations about his removal of cash from the track’s coffers. Although the track’s ledger noted the removal, it occurred without the approval of the track’s majority owners. Mass Gaming denied his application because of this cloud of suspicion, and Piontkowski found himself dissociated from Plainridge Park altogether in 2013.
PENN then swooped into the picture and bought the location. The track, now offering hundreds of slot machines and electronic table games, opened in its current incarnation in 2015.
PENN’s rebrand from Barstool Sportsbook to ESPN Bet is already underway, and the retail sportsbook at Plainridge Park should be completed this fall.