Massachusetts is home to three retail casinos: MGM Springfield in Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. These facilities were established thanks to the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011. Part of that law stated that 2% of state tax revenue from resort-style casinos was to go to the state’s cultural council for a competitive grant program benefitting arts centers.
So far in fiscal year 2023, that program has granted $3,737,400 to 43 non-profit and municipal performing arts centers.
The largest grants have gone to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, with each venue receiving $250,000.
Other prominent venues receiving state-revenue grants include:
- Cabot Performing Arts Center in Beverly ($225,000)
- Hanover Theatre in Worcester ($225,000)
- ArtsEmerson in Boston ($165,000)
- Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River ($107,700)
- Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket ($74,400)
- Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in Eastham ($9,000)
These grants help entertainment venues in a variety of ways. Most notably, it helps them subsidize the fees paid to touring shows and artists. In addition, it allows them to compete with the state’s casinos when booking touring artists and performances.
Massachusetts Gaming Mitigation
“The Gaming Mitigation program was established in the same act that authorized expanded gaming in Massachusetts, because policymakers understood that smaller performing arts organizations would soon be competing with the deep pockets of resort-style casinos to book touring artists and shows,” Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Michael Bobbitt said. “Mass Cultural Council is pleased to administer this program as envisioned by the Legislature to try to equal the playing field and keep world-class entertainment accessible across the Commonwealth.”
One of the contributing factors to gaming revenue is the recent launch of sports betting in Massachusetts. Sports fans in the state can now place bets at all three Massachusetts resort casinos. MA mobile betting apps are slated to go live on March 10.