Vegas style gambling has officially come to Massachusetts with the opening of Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, which is roughly 55 kilometres southwest of Boston. The first of three casinos planned for Massachusetts officially opened its doors on June 24, 2015. The $250-million state-of-the-art casino facility operates year-round, 24 hours a day, and is home to the only live harness horse-racing track in the state.
Massachusetts Opens the Door to Vegas Style Gambling
In 2011, Massachusetts passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which has paved the way for casino gambling. It also authorized the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to license destination resort casinos in three geographically diverse regions across the state and one slots facility.1
The three regions in which the legislation divides the state into are the western area (“region B”), which includes Springfield; the eastern area (“region A”), which includes Boston; and the southeast area (“region C”), which incorporates the Cape Cod beaches.
Plainridge Park Casino, the first of the three planned casinos, officially opened its doors on June 24, 2015. MGM Resorts International will open its $800-million casino complex in Springfield in 2017, while Wynn Resorts Ltd. will be building a $1.75-billion five-star resort and casino in Everett, a beachfront community just north of downtown Boston.
While the law is intended to draw in people from outside of the state, it is also expected to retain gamblers from Massachusetts who travel to Connecticut to visit Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods Resort Casino, or Rhode Island to visit Twin River Casino or Newport Grand.
The three casinos are expected to generate $300–$500 million in new revenue for Massachusetts.
Massachusetts: A Major Gaming Destination for Canadians
Just a short drive over the border from Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, Massachusetts is a popular travel destination for Canadians. Not only do Massachusetts and Canada share extensive economic ties, but they also share cultural and historical ties. Roughly one in four Massachusetts residents claim ancestral ties to Canada.
Each year, roughly one million Canadians visit Massachusetts where they collectively spend close to $335 million.2 Now that Plainridge Park Casino is open, and with more casino openings slated in the near future, those tourism numbers are bound to rise.
Among New England states, Maine has two small casinos, Connecticut has two large casinos owned by native tribes, and Rhode Island is home to two slot machine parlours. Last year, New Hampshire state legislators rejected a bill to allow construction of a casino.3
Plainridge Park Casino, Massachusetts’ First Casino Now Open!
If opening day is any indication, Plainridge Park Casino is going to be a major travel destination. Several hundred would-be gamblers waited in line to be among the first to play the slots or poker.
The 106,000-square-foot racing and gaming facility has 1,250 slot machines and electronic table games, as well as the only live harness racing track in the state. Open seven days a week and 24 hours a day, Canadians can enjoy Plainridge Park Casino 365 days a year.4
Plainridge Park Casino Breakdown: The Details of the New Vegas Style Gambling Casino
The 44,000-square-foot gaming facility features 1,250 slot machines, video poker, and virtual table games. Plainridge Park Casino also has a multi-tiered Marquee Rewards card program that lets players earn and redeem points at dining and retail outlets, invitations to special events, and free play at Penn National’s 21 casinos nationwide. Players will also soon be able to redeem their Marquee Rewards card points at the Tropicana Casino Las Vegas on the Vegas Strip.
One notable difference for Canadians visiting Plainridge Park Casino compared the casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island is that it is smoke-free. Massachusetts’ casino laws forbid smoking in casinos. To accommodate those who do smoke, Plainridge Park Casino provides visitors with an outside smoking patio.
Live Harness and Simulcast Racing
Plainridge Park Casino is home to the only live harness racing track in Massachusetts. Live racing is underway now and runs through November. Guests to Plainridge Park Casino can enjoy the live action from the 26,000-square-foot grandstand with box and reserved seating.5
Plainridge Park Casino also offers simulcast racing from across the country. Guests can watch races live year-round from legendary tracks including Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, Pimlico, Belmont Park, and Woodbine, all from the comfort of the 13,000-square-foot clubhouse with box seats.
Nearby Hotel Accommodations
While Plainridge Park Casino does not contain a hotel, there are numerous hotels in nearby Plainville, including the Holiday Inn Express – Plainville, the Renaissance Boston Patriot Place Hotel, the Hampton Inn – Franklin, the Residence Inn – Foxborough, the Holiday Inn Express – North Attleboro, and the Residence Inn – Franklin. Each of these hotels provide discounts for Marquee Rewards card holders.6
Dining, Entertainment, and Retail
Shop till you drop; then dine out and dance the night away. There’s something for everyone at Plainridge Park Casino. Doug Flutie’s Sports Pub has more than 30 LCD screens; Slack’s Oyster House & Grill features freshly shucked oysters and an all-American menu; and at Revolution 1776 Lounge you can sit at the bar, listen to a local band, and play video poker.7
There are also three food court eateries, perfect for a quick bite. Boston-based b.good offers locally sourced ingredients, Slice has the best local Italian pizza, and The Bean offers premium coffee and pastries.
In the racing area, you can check out the Dark Horse Bar for a beer, enjoy a quiet bite at Mountain Skipper Express, which is located close to the Simulcast Theatre, or head over to Trackside for a snack while watching more live racing.
If you want to stretch your legs, you can stroll over to the Shopping Station, where you can purchase boutique gifts including jewellery, shirts, hats, and everyday essentials.
Massachusetts Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax
So you travel to Massachusetts, visit Plainridge Park Casino, and win more than $1,200 on the slots. You’re a resident of a country without a U.S. tax treaty (that includes Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates). If this is the case, your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax. One exception: if you’re from Malta, your gambling winnings are taxed at 10%.
But let’s say you don’t want to give this money up; can you get your taxed winnings back? You sure can, and here’s how…
The Easiest, Fastest Way to Get Your Money Back
If you’ve been to the U.S. and had 30% of your slot, video poker, or pari-mutuel winnings held back by the IRS, Refund Management Services (RMS) can help you reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings.
Founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1998, RMS is the most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider for Canadian and non-U.S. residents. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest, and your refund cheque gets mailed out to you as soon as your refund is approved. We’ve never been refused an eligible refund. For more information on the One Simple StepTM process, contact us today!
1. “Expanded Gaming Act,” Massachusetts Gaming Commission web site; http://massgaming.com/about/expanded-gaming-act/, last accessed June 29, 2015.
2. “Massachusetts,” Government of Canada web site; http://can-am.gc.ca/business-affaires/fact_sheets-fiches_documentaires/ma.aspx?lang=eng, last accessed June 29, 2015.
3. Tempera, J., “Vegas-style gambling launches in Massachusetts,” Reuters web site, June 24, 2015; http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/24/usa-massachusetts-gambling-idUSL1N0ZA2NF20150624.
4. “Casino,” Plainridge Park Casino web site; http://www.plainridgeparkcasino.com/casino, last accessed June 29, 2015.
5. “Racing,” Plainridge Park Casino web site; http://www.plainridgeparkcasino.com/racing, last accessed June 29, 2015.
6. “Hotels,” Plainridge Park Casino, http://www.plainridgeparkcasino.com/hotels, last accessed June 29, 2015.
7. “Dining,” Plainridge Park Casino, http://www.plainridgeparkcasino.com/dining, last accessed June 29, 2015.