The Big Gamble

Stay up-to-date with NEPR's local reporting on casinos and gambling, and its impact on the region.

People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino
Don Treeger / The Republican

As some high profile Massachusetts politicians criticize recent legislation that paves the way for casinos in the commonwealth to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., elected officials in communities where resort casinos will operate are generally supportive of the law.

The change allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue liquor licenses allowing casinos to serve alcohol to people gambling on casino floors until 4 a.m. The new time, which amounts to a two-hour extension, was included in the state budget Governor Charlie Baker signed into law.

People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino
Don Treeger / The Republican

Net revenue at the first casino to open in Massachusetts was essentially flat in the first quarter of 2017 compared to last year.

The total at the Plainridge slots parlor from January to March was roughly $38 million. The information was presented Wednesday at a meeting of the state gaming commission.

Prosecutors in Massachusetts have to make some decisions by Tuesday. That's their deadline to decide whether to follow through with the thousands of cases that were tainted by the 2012 scandal at a state drug lab, where a chemist repeatedly falsified her analysis of evidence. Many of the cases could be thrown out.

We spoke to reporter Matt Murphy of the State House News Service. He said 24,000 convictions may have been compromised.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno speaks during a press conference on the MGM construction site on March 29, 2017.
Henry Epp / NEPR

The head of MGM Springfield said Wednesday that he's not concerned about the possible impact online gambling could have on the casino business. The potential legalization of online gambling was the subject of a hearing at the Massachusetts state house this week.

"We think brick-and-mortars can co-exist with online. But it's got to be like anything else," Mathis said. "It's got to be studied, regulated and evaluated and they need our input -- they need the industry's input."

Mathis said MGM would look to operate online gambling in Massachusetts if it becomes legal.

Construction of the MGM casino in Springfield, Mass., as of Oct. 2016.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

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