Pity the poor $340 million casino in New Hampshire as it tries to compete against a $1 billion casino in the northeast section of Massachusetts. It might just as well have been limited to a video slot barn.
That was one of the concerns expressed at a public hearing held last week to consider a proposed casino bill that would require a New Hampshire licensee to invest $425 million (less the $80 million paid up front for a license) for a gambling facility.
That property, noted speakers, would have to compete in Massachusetts against a $1 billion complex being proposed for either Suffolk Downs, to be operated by Caesars Entertainment Corp., or a Wynn Resorts Ltd. development to be located in Everett on the site of the former Monsanto Chemical plant.
And another thing, said Clyde Barrow, director of the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth: People visiting casinos don’t necessarily gamble. In fact, over the last decade, it has been found that as many as 20 percent of casino goers do not gamble. They are there for the amenities such as spas, restaurants and scheduled entertainment, he said.
Faced with the prospects of such amenities being offered in Massachusetts, the New Hampshire casino might consider just going with slots, such as those seen in so-called racinos.
Apparently forgotten were the years when major thoroughbred racing being conducted at Rockingham Park in Salem competed directly with major thoroughbred racing being held at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. History shows both facilities suffered from reduced attendance and wagering.
Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.
Contact Ray at RayPoirier@GamingToday.com.
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