[toc]The anti-casino crowd will often turn up in the comment section of any article on gaming. They cynically ask where all the money is going, or what it’s being used for. In the case of Plainville, Massachusetts, there’s no mystery surrounding where a big chunk of the Plainridge Park Casino money is going though.
On Monday night, about 100 residents of Plainville and a few local dignitaries were on hand to break ground on a new $34 million municipal complex. The new facility includes will include a town hall and public safety building.
Funds collected from Plainridge Park Casino are paying for the project.
Plainville sorely needs the new buildings. The outdated existing town hall and public safety building are too small to service the town.
It will also remove a local eyesore. The project is going on a vacant site and an unused school that will be torn down to make way for the new municipal complex.
Economic boon for the area
Plainridge Casino’s benefits extend beyond just a new town hall.
Plainridge Park Casino opened its doors in June 2015, when Plainridge Park Racecourse added the casino (1,250 slot machines). The property previously only offered live harness racing and simulcast racetrack.
Despite the usual doomsday scenarios, the casino has been extremely beneficial to the local economy.
In its first 12 months the casino paid “$75 million in taxes to the state, $4 million in taxes and fees to the Town of Plainville and created more than 500 jobs,” according to The Sun Chronicle.
Additionally, The Sun Chronicle points out unemployed people occupied a quarter of those positions.
After two years, Plainridge has generated $325 million in slot revenue alone.
No adverse effects on the lottery
Nor has the casino hurt existing gaming in the state, also known as the Massachusetts Lottery – one of the state’s prize possessions.
As part of its Social and Economic Impacts Of Gambling In Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study, a report by the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences states:
“… on average, lottery sales did not decrease near the casino following the opening of Plainridge Park Casino. Lottery revenue near the casino grew more slowly than the rest of the state with the exception of Plainville, where lottery revenue significantly increased.”
Crime concerns were way overblown
In another report titled, Assessing the Impact of Gambling on Public Safety in Massachusetts Cities and Towns Analysis of changes in police data after the first year of operation at Plainridge Park Casino, by consultant Christopher W. Bruce, put fears of a casino-induced crime wave to rest.
In his report, Bruce concluded:
- In the first 12 months of activity, Plainridge Park produced crime and call figures commensurate with similarly-sized regional facilities.
- There were few significant increases in crimes in the surrounding area.
- Most significant increases were traffic-related activity: complaints, collisions, disabled vehicles, and suspicious vehicles.
- There is some evidence of increases in economic crimes (credit card fraud, con games) tied to the casino’s presence.
- Further studies are needed with full comparison datasets for crime and traffic collisions when data is available in 2017.
In the not too distant future, Plainville residents will get a glimpse at what they voted in favor of every time they drive down Route 1a. They will also see it anytime they need to get a dog license or pay their water bill when they head to the new town hall. And it will be thanks to Plainridge Park Casino.