R.I. gaming’s main competition won’t be Indian casino
WORTH THE GAMBLE: John Grogan, president of Plainridge Racecourse, says the No. 1 issue for siting gaming facilities is traffic.
PBN PHOTO/MARTIN GAVIN
By Patrick Anderson PBN Staff Writer
Before becoming involved with the Plainridge Racecourse harness track in Plainville, Mass., John Grogan’s game was investment banking. Grogan first met the president of Plainridge while working on a leveraged buyout and because of that relationship came out of retirement in 2009 to work as consultant for Plainridge. When Plainridge President Gary Piontkowski retired earlier this year, Grogan took over.
After years of preparing for Massachusetts’ entry into gambling, Plainridge is now considered the front-runner for the lone slot-parlor license being issued in the state. Grogan discusses his vision for Plainridge, the licensing process and his facility’s competition.
PBN: Why should Plainridge win the Massachusetts slots license?
GROGAN: We are going to build a spectacular facility – state of the art. We have a location on the intersections of Route 1 and Interstate 495. Our traffic engineers tell us 84 percent of our traffic is coming right off the highway and not touching town road. When you think of siting for all these gaming facilities, the No. 1 issue is traffic. We have just an A-plus site for traffic and community impact. And we are also a live racetrack. One aspect of the Massachusetts gaming bill was to support live racing, and we are the only category-2 license [applicant] that has a live race track.
PBN: Paint the picture for me of what Plainridge would look like if all goes according to plan.
GROGAN: We have an existing five-eighths of a mile harness track. What we have added already is a 1,080-space parking structure and we are going to add a 106,000-square-foot gaming venue in addition to our existing 50,000-square-foot facility. … We will have a casual dining restaurant, sports bar, food court, a bar in the gaming floor and a bar in our live racing concourse.