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Monday, October 7, 2013

Penn National Presents to the MA Gaming Commission

Thanks to VFTRG contributor and now correspondent Joe F., here is a brief recap of the presentation Penn National Gaming made in front of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission which concluded an hour or two ago

Four executives from Penn National just completed a presentation before the Massachusetts gaming Commission related to their application for the single slots license being issued by the state. From a harness racing perspective, it was pointed out that the company operates 28 facilities, 11 of which feature racetracks, 4 of which are harness tracks…..A simulcast agreement has been reached with the horsemen through 2014 and “hopefully beyond that.”……..They intend to upgrade the racing facility…….They said they intend to upgrade the quality of racing and integrate the racing at Plainridge with the best that is being promulgated on a national level. Specific mention was made of events surrounding the Hambletonion. (lookout Meadowlands)…..Saving open space as well as hundreds of jobs belonging to drivers, farmers etc came up…..Much was made of the revitalization of racing at Bangor under Penn National……The presentation ended with a video that highlighted the fact that harness racing in the US was born in Massachusetts. Interviews with Scott Renz, Bob Tisbert and his wife, Jim Hardy, Chip Campbell and others went into the decline of the sport in the state over the course of the last few decades. Also, a clip was shown of George Ducharme in the Winner’s Circle of the Hambletonion.…..File under interesting: the first speaker, Penn National President and COO, Tim Wilmott, noted that while the racing product at Bangor has improved substantially, the fact that the supplemental money goes directly to the owners rather than to the owners and operators of the track is something that needs to be addressed.  

They seem to have a plan that can succeed in Massachusetts. They employed all union construction workers on their last four projects and intend to do so at Plainridge. That’s a big plus. Doing a job like this inside route 495 with nonunion labor would bring a world of trouble to their doorstep.…..Instead of building a hotel they will partner with nearby hotels that are currently experiencing 50-60% occupancy rates. The commission will like that….They’ve entered into a partnership with two local community colleges and a veteran’s center for the purpose of finding employees…..They’re partnering with Gillette Stadium, the Wrentham Mall and the Comcast Center…….All of these things will gain heavy weight supporters, something that goes a long way in a political state like Massachusetts. And instead of using the entire 90 minutes allotted they completed their presentation in less than an hour.

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