By Gintautas Dumcius
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON — The slots parlor slated for Plainville remains on schedule with a targeted opening for June 24 and an increased budget.
Operating as the Plainridge Park Casino, the slots parlor and its owner Penn National Gaming offered a quarterly report to state gambling regulators, saying their budget for the facility increased by $25 million to $250 million. Penn said they are aiming to hire 500 people by June 17.
In a memo to the Gaming Commission, Penn National Gaming chief financial officer Saul Reibstein said the increase is “principally a result of our decision to purchase rather than lease certain games and equipment.”
The facility — located on Route 1 roughly 35 miles south of Boston and 18 miles away from Providence, Rhode Island — is expected to have over 1,200 slot machines.
House lawmakers believe the slots parlor will generate $104 million for local aid to cities and towns, including the figure in their fiscal 2016 budget proposal. Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget includes a more conservative estimate of around $84 million.
Reibstein added in his memo that the owners have “sufficient financial resources in order to meet all expected financial obligations relating to the completion of the gaming establishment and related infrastructure improvements associated with the Facility.”
The report acknowledged that the slots parlor is falling short in its goal to include women in its construction workforce. The goal was set at 7 percent and they are at 3 percent, according to the report, which also notes the project construction workforce is meeting a 16 percent goal for minorities.
“The four percent cumulative shortfall of the women’s workforce goal is a result of the number of larger trade areas represented on the job (site, plumbing, electrical, drywall and mechanical),” the report said. “These trades have struggled to meet goal percentages to date due to the overall composition of their workforce in the general Massachusetts area, and therefore, the workforce available for the Plainridge casino project.”
The main contractor, Turner Construction, and subcontractors meet regularly to monitor performance, the report said, adding, “Turner employs the same monitoring and corrective action approach with all subcontractors and is satisfied that a good faith effort to achieve goals is being made by all project participants.”
Gaming Commission chair Stephen Crosby said Penn National has been “very forthcoming” about its construction workforce numbers.
“There is a limited supply of women in the construction marketplace,” he said, and there are efforts to “build up the pipeline” in anticipation of two casinos opening Massachusetts in the next couple of years.
Wynn Resorts is attempting to build a casino in Everett and officials broke ground in March on a MGM casino in Springfield.
Crosby added the Plainville project is “dramatically exceeding” diversity goals among its suppliers.