Slots License Is Officially Penn National’s, At Least For Now

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission made things official Friday, formally offering a slots casino license for the Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville. But there’s still some uncertainty over gambling in the state.

Penn National casino company has a month to pay the $25 million license fee. That’s quite a price tag given a proposed ballot question seeks to roll back Massachusetts’ casino law. If the courts allow it to proceed, and voters sign off, companies like Penn National may be left with expensive – but useless – licenses.

Gaming Commission chair Steve Crosby says he’s talked to lawmakers about this possibility, “saying that we think it would be reasonable to have some mechanism for paying that back in the event that there were a repeal, but that’s not really within our control.”

Penn National’s Tim Wilmott says the company’s not slowing down. He says construction on the slots parlor will start Monday.

“If there is a ballot question in November, we’re going to fight for the right outcome,” Wilmott says. “We have a lot of experience in political battles with gaming in other parts of the United States and we feel confident we’re going to get the right outcome.”

The Plainville proposal beat out competing slots parlor bids for Leominster and Raynham.