PLAINVILLE — Revenues held fairly steady for another month at Plainridge Park Casino, but state lawmakers are considering legislation to grow that take even more with the addition of table games and more slot machines.
Gross gaming revenues at the Route 1 venue were just over $12.7 million for August, a slight decline from July’s figure of almost $13 million, according to the state Gaming Commission figures released Wednesday.
But the performance was better than August of last year, when gross gaming revenues, the difference between what gamblers bet and what they take home, was only $10.1 million.
At the time, the casino, as well as other businesses, were trying to recover from pandemic-imposed shutdowns, and Plainridge was still operating under rules limiting its capacity and hours.
On Beacon Hill this week, legislators heard testimony on bills that would allow the state’s only slot parlor to host table games and install additional slot machines. Other legislation would allow slots at veterans’ halls.
Unlike the state’s other two gaming venues, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Plainridge does not offer live poker or blackjack. It’s also limited to 1,250 electronic slot machines.
It does have electronic versions of those table games, however, and offers live and simulcast harness racing.
But that, advocates of the legislation said, still has left Plainridge at a disadvantage when competing with full service casinos in nearby Lincoln and Tiverton, R.I., both of which are planning to expand.
The competition and the three-month COVID-19 pandemic shutdown made 2020 a tough year for Plainridge. The casino reported gross gaming revenue of $82.2 million, a 46 percent decline — or nearly $70 million — from 2019, according to industry website Casino.org.
Quoted in news reports, a spokesman for Penn National Gaming, which operates Plainridge, said adding 30 new table games would create about 175 new jobs at the casino.
Area lawmakers have long advocated for adding table games at Plainridge. State Reps. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, and Jeff Roy, R-Franklin, both spoke in favor of the legislation Tuesday before a joint legislative committee.
Altogether in August, the Gaming Commission reported that the month of August the state’s three gambling locations generated approximately $92 million in gross gaming revenue, compared to $96 million in July.