"Congratulations and welcome to Massachusetts.” That's what the Boston Herald reported Friday that Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby said to Penn National Gaming officials after the five-member commission voted unanimously 5-0 to award the company a five-year license to operate a slots parlor at Plainridge Racecourse.
The commission voted 3-2 on Thursday in favor of awarding Penn National the gaming license, asking that the company return on Friday with its agreement to comply with 18 conditions attached to the license. Upon Penn National's agreement, the vote swung to a unanimous decision.
Penn National officials said design work would begin next week at Plainridge, with the slots parlor targeted to open by next spring. This is the first of three casino licenses that are expected to be awarded in the near future. Other possible sites include the greater Boston area and western Massachusetts. An Indian tribe is also seeking federal approval to open a casino less than 20 miles from Plainridge.
Penn National's license requires a $25 million licensing fee to be paid to the state within 30 days. Plainridge officials also noted the possibility of opening a temporary slots parlor within six months.