For a casino or other gaming facility to operate legally in the US, licensing is required. Operators obtain licensing by filling out an application and proving they meet the criteria to offer such gaming options as slots and table games. In Massachusetts, the full-scale casino industry is still relatively new and operators are just now having to start going through the process of renewing their license. Plainridge Park Casino was the first of the three operators in the state to be approved for renewal.
The Gaming Commission voted unanimously to approve Plainridge Park for renewal. The license for casino gaming will now be extended for five more years. The decision is the very first time the commission has reauthorized a casino for licensing.
Plainridge Park was the first to open, so they are the first to require renewal. Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield opened at a later date, so they will be up for renewal at a different time. Plainridge Park was originally a racino that offers harness racing and simulcast betting. They proved to be a leader in the new industry, as Penn National Gaming provided top quality casino content to the property after they gained the original approval.
Penn National Gaming chief executive Jay Snowden, commented on the approval, expressing his appreciation to the commission on the decision. He pointed out that the commission has high standards when it comes to gaming and racing integrity for Massachusetts. And Plainridge pledges to continue to uphold the principles over the next five years and more.
Working During a Pandemic
The casino is open now, after being shut down for quite some time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of June, the facility had just over 400 employees, but many were on furlough caused by the closure. Just recently, the company had to cut ties with some of its employees who were on furlough as the casino can only operate at a reduced capacity.
For the casino to continue to offer services for the next few years, they were required to go through the relicensing process, even during the pandemic. This involved a long process of community meetings and a public hearing. There was also discussions involving the company over several meetings within the commission.
The commission has congratulated the casino for a job well done and are happy to have renewed the venue for five more years. It is a big milestone for the commission as well as the Commonwealth to reach within the gaming industry.
For now, the venue will continue to follow safety and health protocols as they offer services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The venue is quite popular among visitors but still struggling to gain any real traffic as individuals do not appear to be ready to travel as the pandemic is still an issue.
Hopefully, the pandemic will start to slow down as it continues to spread and health officials will be able to create a vaccine. In the meantime, the casino will continue to operate with measures in place for health and safety.