Plainridge Faces Another Battle

Published: June 25, 2014 02:30 pm EDT

Massachusetts’ highest court has determined that a repeal of the state casino law will be voted on via referendum this coming November. Regardless of the news, work at Plainridge Racecourse continues in order to accommodate the $225-million, fully-integrated racing and gaming operation which will be located on the premises.

Based off its proposal, which was unveiled last fall, Penn National Gaming Inc. was awarded the state’s single slots parlor license earlier this year. A groundbreaking ceremony took place less than three weeks later and PNG announced Plainridge Park Casino’s general manager two months later.

“We’ve been over a lot of hurdles leading up to this point, and as far as I’m concerned, this is one more hurdle that we have to deal with,” Plainridge Racecourse GM Steve O'Toole has been quoted as saying in an article by The Boston Globe.

The report has cited a PNG spokesman as saying that the company has already spent a total of $85 million on the land, the existing facility and construction.

Optimism in the local racing industry has gone through the roof since it was announced that expansion was coming to Plainridge. The Boston Globe article has cited local horsepeople and racing fans as saying that the Standardbred industry in the state will die if the expansion is ultimately quashed via referendum.

“As far as horse racing goes, this is it,” New England Amateur Harness Drivers Club President Billy Abdelnour was quoted as saying. “This was do or die from the beginning. Two hundred and twenty years of harness racing in the state would go by the wayside.”

Eric Schippers, Penn National Gaming’s senior VP of public affairs and government relations, was quoted as saying, “Our fight to protect jobs and preserve this economic development opportunity for Massachusetts begins today.”

(With files from The Boston Globe)

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