Plainridge Park Casino file photo

Playing the slots at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.

PLAINVILLE — The state Gaming Commission came to the hometown of Plainridge Park Casino Tuesday and learned the slot machine parlor just had the best first quarter in its brief history.

Plainridge, the state’s first legal casino, had $42.2 million in gross gaming revenue for the first quarter this year and paid $20.7 million in state taxes for those three months, Vice President of Finance Ruben Warren told the commission.

Warren said the first quarter of last year revenue was $38.4 million.

Gross gaming revenue is all the money paid into slot machines minus the amount paid back in winnings.

Warren also said the sale of lottery tickets at the casino was up 19 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.

Warren and other Plainridge officials gave a report to the commission at the town senior center after commission members toured the casino and a new town hall and public safety building being constructed with taxes from Plainridge.

Commission Chairman Steve Crosby said the board wanted to come back to Plainville and give residents an update on how the casino is doing.

Plainridge opened three years ago this week.

“So far, knock on wood, it’s looking pretty good with very little negative impact,” he said.

Kimberly Dixon, vice president of human resources at Plainridge, said there are 465 employees at the casino, with 308, or 66 percent, of them working full time.

Marketing Vice President Michele Collins said Plainridge has expanded its entertainment options to live boxing, sports viewing parties and dancing.

It is also supporting local charities such as Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity and North Attleboro YMCA, she said.

Crosby gave a report of his own, based on the findings of researchers the commission employs from University of Massachusetts Amherst and which is updated quarterly.

He said the researchers have taken a unique approach in creating a baseline of data from interviews with 1,000 people before Plainridge opened and continues to survey them to see what impact gambling is having on the area.

The research was dictated by the state Legislature.

“There has never been anything like this before, literally in the world,” he told about 19 people attending the meeting.

He said researchers have found very little increase in crime, except for a brief jump in credit card fraud two years ago.

Police Chief James Alfred said he has doubts the increase was caused by the casino. Alfred also said an increase in police calls to Plainridge would happen anywhere there is a large number of people, such as a shopping center.

Commission member Gayle Cameron, a former New Jersey State Police colonel, said all the crimes — mostly minor thefts — committed at Plainridge were solved because there are so many security cameras there.

Plainridge officials said 24,000 customers had their identifications checked at the doors of the casino and 380 were prevented from entering because they were under age 21.

One underaged person got in but was discovered and ejected.

Crosby also said there is no evidence problem gambling, divorce and other social problems have increased because of Plainridge.

He also said wages are up and poverty down in the Plainville area more than in Norfolk County or Massachusetts as a whole and that might be attributable to Plainridge.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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