By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The state Gaming Commission has released a survey of the people playing the slots at the Plainridge Park Casino, and while the official spin celebrates the recapturing of gambling money that used to flow out of state, a dive into the details reveals a more disturbing picture.

Seventy-eight percent of the patrons at Plainridge were from Massachusetts, while less than 20 percent came from out of state. This shows how little appeal the slots parlor has to players in nearby Rhode Island and Connecticut, with comparable or superior gambling opportunities in their home states.

Will the so-called “destination” casinos in Springfield and Everett do better? We’ll see.

Speaking of competition, almost 90 percent of Plainridge patrons said they had visited out-of-state casinos in the past year. Do we really think our out-of-state won’t do their best to lure Massachusetts bettors away?

plainridge2 Keller @ Large: Plainridge Park Casino   Whats Working And Whats Not

The Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. (WBZ-TV)

Consider the makeup of the Plainridge crowd, mostly older, lower-middle-class people seemingly intent on gambling with little interest in anything else. Only 60 percent bought food or drinks at the slot parlor; 67 percent of them didn’t do anything off-site, contrary to the spin that these gambling halls spur economic activity outside their walls.

Also troubling – the 30 percent who said they wouldn’t have gambled elsewhere if Plainridge hadn’t opened, and the fact that interaction with the state’s Game Sense program to help deter compulsive gambling was minimal.

Plainridge is generating badly-needed revenue to the state that we didn’t have before – for now. That’s the good news.

The bad news is it’s far from clear our belated venture into the gambling business is going to be worth the risks it entails.

Talk back to me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Comments (2)
  1. How much does this slot parlor contribute to the state?

    Is it worth the incentives that the state and the town provided?

    Your piece, Jon, gives us nothing on which to evaluate your remarks.

  2. Joey Tutalo says:

    There are two main problems with Plainridge simply said number 1. Gamblers love to smoke and there are no smoking rules gambles playing slot machines do not want to move . Number 2 . No table games its very hard and impossible for a casino to compete without table games .I’m convinced that if Plainridge expanded and added table games even just poker it would make it more competitive . Tables would give the everyday card players a choice and I’m sure it would double the revenue at Plainridge . MGM & Wynn two casinos coming to Mass will thrive you can’t compare them to anything any casino in this area offers especially “Wynn” he’s in a class all by himself his casino will destroy its competition . Very few cars will make the trip out of mass to RI or Conn why would they with a casino like Wynn in the Mass area . Wynn will offer great shows with top stars , fabulous dining places just the beauty of playing there will bring the crowd . The view from the Wynn hotel out into the water will be amazing . Wynn will be and is the best move Mass has made . Wynn will be a destination casino just like Wynn in Vegas a wonderful add on to the many exciting places to visit in Mass .

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