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Almost 10,000 thronged to Plainridge Park Casino on opening night

By Alex Ritman     Jun 29, 2015 in Business
The state of Massachusetts has officially entered a brand new era of legalized gambling. Plainridge Park Casino is the first gambling venue to start operations in the state under a 2011 law.
The casino opened its doors for the first time on Wednesday night attracting almost 10,000 visitors.
Penn State Gambling's representatives, along with sports celebrities and government officials inaugurated the venue. Two glamorous showgirls held the ribbon as it was ceremoniously cut to mark the occasion.
State senator, Richard J. Ross, said, “This is like seeing a baby being born.” The opening of Plainridge should herald an era of greater economic development, he added.
The state is currently hungry for higher tax revenue and job opportunities.
The state of Massachusetts has been rather puritan in its core beliefs and this is a huge shift. After a long era of reluctance, it has finally joined the growing trend for gambling across the nation.
Massachusetts is now the 40th state in the United States to make gambling legal. Secretary of housing and economic development, Jay Ash, said, “We want to keep our gambling money home.”
A Massachusetts resident, Dave Reilly, said that he would much rather gamble and lose money within his home state. He and his wife take frequent gambling trips to Rhode Island.
On its first day, between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m., the casino was full to 70 percent of its total capacity. Penn National Gaming's CEO, and the venue's operator, Jay Snowden, confirmed.
Snowden also said many of the afternoon visitors were retirees. The early evening and late afternoon attracted a younger crowd.
The facility has a current net worth of $250 million. The casino currently allows only slot-machine gambling with 1,250 machines in operation. It is to remain open 24/7 on all seven days of the week.
According to Stephen Crosby, Massachusetts' Gaming Commission chairman, Plainridge is a trial run to assess the potential of the gaming industry in the state.
Crosby also said that he is sure that Plainridge will be a success. He cited Massachusetts law for gambling being the strictest in the country as one of the reasons for his belief.
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