Plainridge Park Casino Obtains “Temporary” Sports Betting License As Regulators Continue Investigation

Written By Cheryl Coward on December 23, 2022 - Last Updated on August 7, 2023
Revenue reports for April 2019 showed a downturn for Massachusetts casino revenue. May 2019's reports showed improvement. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission requires MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park casinos to file monthly revenue reports. The latest numbers are good news for the casino industry in the state. Massachusetts casino revenue details for May Gross gaming receipts for MGM in May 2019 totaled over $22 million. About 73%, over $16 million, of that revenue came from slot gaming. The other $6 million came from table games. Plainridge's slots pulled in nearly $15 million in May. Though both facilities have to file monthly reports with the commission, they pay different tax rates. The state-licensed MGM as a resort casino. Plainridge's license is for operation as a slot parlor. Plainridge pays a much higher tax rate because of that designation. May tax revenue from MGM and Plainridge Plainridge pays a 40% rate on its slot take to the state and another 9% to the state's Horse Racing Development Fund. Eighty-two percent of those tax funds are distributed to local aid. MGM pays a 25% rate on its gross receipts. That revenue divides up a dozen different ways, including education and local aid. The total tax revenue from MGM and Plainridge for May was $12.7 million. That number is an improvement from the previous month. April's diminished returns for Massachusetts The revenue and tax numbers for both facilities in April left a little to be desired. MGM reported gross receipts of $21.8 million. May's numbers improved by 2.2%. MGM's table games actually took in more in April ($6.3 million) than in May ($6.1 million), but its slots were down $700,000. Plainridge's slots were down $800,000 (4.8%) in May as compared to April. Those decreased revenues led to a difference of $400,000 (5.5%) in taxes paid. Looking at all the numbers for 2019 gives a better context for how both facilities have performed. Cumulative revenue for 2019 through May Through the first five months of 2019, MGM reports gross gaming receipts of over $111 million. The average monthly revenue is just over $22 million. Plainridge has pulled in $70 million in gross receipts in 2019. That averages $14 million per month. Looking at the averages, May was as good as any other month so far this year if not a little better. The tax revenue numbers could be improving soon. What about Encore Boston Harbor? Encore Boston Harbor just opened days ago, so a revenue report won't be filed until September for July's receipts. Even then, that report won't tell much about how the new casino is performing. The first report spanning a full month from Encore won't be available until October when receipts for August are filed. At that time we'll get some idea of how Encore is faring and how having new competition has affected MGM and Plainridge. Naturally, revenue at all three facilities could increase if Massachusetts sports betting became legal. When that could happen is anyone's guess, as the Massachusetts legislature seems unmotivated to make sports betting in Massachusetts legal anytime soon, although there is a hearing scheduled this week. May for MGM and Plainridge wasn't a banner month, but it was an improvement from April and par for the course for 2019.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has awarded a temporary retail sports betting license to Plainridge Park Casino (PPC).

The facility joins the state’s two other casinos, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield, as entities with a Category 1 license for retail sports wagering. The PPC license comes with a “temporary” tag as the operator is still under investigation by the regulatory agency due to its relationship with Barstool Sports.

A Delay Before Approval

Back in February, the MGC began its probe of PPC. PENN Entertainment operates the casino and owns a 36% stake in Barstool. Dave Portnoy, the owner of Barstool, is under legal scrutiny due to allegations of sexual misconduct and reports of hostile working conditions at his company.

The MGC delayed its initial vote on PPC’s Category 1 license application but gave the casino unanimous approval upon revisiting the submission this week.

Related news: BetMGM Sportsbook Granted MA Sports Betting License

MGC Conditional Approval for PPC

In its temporary approval of PPC, the MGC found the casino “preliminarily suitable for a temporary Category 1 sports wagering operator license.”

Conditions attached to the license stated “Commissioners required that the licensee agrees that no persons under the age of 21 will be permitted entrance into any live Barstool College Football Show events.” Barstool’s “College Football Show” podcast produces live tapings that fans can attend. The shows travel to locations where highly anticipated college football games will be played and are usually taped in the hours before kick-off.

The MGC’s conditions also state that PPC “must fully cooperate with the IEB, which will conduct an investigation of Barstool Sports, Inc. in connection with the licensee’s branding.”

The IEB is the investigative arm of the MGC, the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau. It is a law enforcement agency comprised of members of the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit and financial investigators.

Also read: MGM Springfield Gets Green Light For Retail And Online Sports Betting

PPC’s Online Gaming Partners Still Waiting

As a Category 1 operator, PPC can also partner with up to two online sports betting operators, which are classified as Category 3 operators. The casino has indicated that its partners will be Penn Sports Interactive and Fanatics Sportsbook (BetFanatics). The MGC is still in the process of reviewing applications for online operators, a process that will probably resume in January after a holiday break.

Also, BetFanatics has yet to open to the public. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said that the company expects to begin launching its sports betting division in January 2023.

The MGC expects retail MA sports betting to officially launch in late January in time for bettors to make wagers on the Super Bowl and mobile operators to open for business in the state in March 2023.

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Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward is a Staff Writer for PlayMA with a background in sports journalism. She started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fanatic and founded the website as a result of that passion. She has previous experience covering gambling and sports betting in California, including extensive coverage of the Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 election battle.

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