With competition in the gambling industry on the rise, area towns are asking the state to allow Plainridge Park Casino to expand.
In letters to the state Gaming Commission, Plainville, Wrentham, North Attleboro and Franklin officials said they would support allowing table games and more slot machines at Plainridge, terming the changes “a modest expansion.”
Plainridge, a three-year-old facility on Route 1 in Plainville, has 1,250 slot machines, but no live table games such as blackjack, roulette or craps.
The town officials said Plainridge has been a good neighbor and faces increased competition from Rhode Island and a renewed proposal for a casino in Brockton.
Twin River Casino in Lincoln recently built another facility in Tiverton, near the Massachusetts border.
The expansion at Plainridge would require a legislative change, as it is designated as only a slots parlor and not a full-blown casino under state law.
State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, who represents Plainville, said he is on board with the request. “We have an ongoing venture that is working extremely well with virtually no negative impact on the community,” he said. “The community wants it. And the addition of other games will help us compete against Rhode Island which just built another casino on our border.”
Plainville Selectmen Chairman Matt Kavanah also expressed concern over increased competition. A developer who previously proposed a casino in nearby Brockton has asked the gaming commission to reconsider the application. Plainville has “fostered and maintained a mutually advantageous relationship with Penn National Gaming,” Kavanah said. “That relationship has returned dividends not only to the Town of Plainville and her citizens but also to our neighboring communities. The (commission) has a real opportunity to bolster gaming revenue in Region C and better protect the Commonwealth from competition across state lines.”
Penn National Gaming has in the past said it was satisfied with its current limits, but issued a statement saying it supports the request for expansion. “We are very proud of the positive employment and economic impact that the Plainridge Park Casino has brought to Plainville and the greater Attleboro region and it is no surprise that any border state competition that impacts that is something they take very seriously,” Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs, said. “We do as well, and look forward to a discussion about the best way for the Commonwealth to compete against Rhode
Island’s aggressive efforts.”
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