The Caesars flag will eventually fly from a building in Massachusetts, thanks to the owner of the Raynham Park simulcast facility, which has reached an agreement to form a sports betting partnership with gaming giant Caesars Entertainment.
Chris Carney and his father, George Carney, have filed a petition with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to compete with Caesars at their former greyhound track in Raynham ) together to run a sports betting company. It still operates as a syndicate where gamblers can wager on televised horse and greyhound racing, although live racing ended more than a decade ago.
If the request is approved, customers could soon be able to wager more, as the Carneys have partnered with one of the largest casino operators in the country.
As former racetrack operators, both the Carneys and the owner of the Suffolk Downs syndicate are eligible for a brick-and-mortar sportsbook license under the terms of a state law passed by the legislature last year legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts. Stirling Suffolk Racecourse has yet to announce a partner or location for its future sports betting facility.
Caesars has decided to enter the sports betting scene in Massachusetts by partnering with Wynn Resorts, using one of two online licenses assigned to Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor casino. The new deal with Raynham Park only involves physical licences, not online gaming. The Carneys are still looking for online partners.
The deal came quickly after Chris Carney pitched Caesars Digital chief development officer Dan Shapiro two months ago at the Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky. Shapiro took a close look at the Carneys’ plans for Rainham Park, toured the site, and was pleased with what he saw. Chris Carney said he and his father are investing $28 million in a 60,000-square-foot building on the track site, with more than half of that space dedicated to sports betting and seating for up to 2,000 people, including standing space.
“Caesars has casinos in many markets across the country, but not anywhere in Massachusetts or New England,” Shapiro said. “We believe having a retail presence in the market helps us. Not only do we generate revenue on the retail side, but we believe it will help our online sports business in a number of ways.”
Shapiro said Caesars will essentially operate the sports betting business as a tenant of the Carney family in the new building, which is about to open In late spring or early summer. Construction started last August. Assuming the Gaming Commission gives the green light in the next two to three months, Caesars could offer sports betting at the current building for several months until the new building opens; the existing building would be demolished to make room for warehouse construction.
Caesars Entertainment, based in Nevada, was previously known as Eldorado Resorts until it acquired Caesars in 2020 and adopted that name; The company changes its name to Caesars Sportsbook. A previous company called Caesars had tried to enter Massachusetts by teaming up with the owner of Suffolk Downs to bid for a resort casino, but ultimately gave up and the Gaming Commission awarded the Boston-area casino license to Wynn Resorts.
Chris Carney said the Caesars brand will help attract customers to sportsbooks due to its widespread recognition. The business will be called Caesars Sportsbook in Raynham Park.
Chris Carney said he currently employs about 120 people at Raynham Park, but expects to grow to 300, in part because the new building will house a full-service restaurant. He said his business will stand out compared to rivals because it will be a stand-alone sportsbook rather than a large casino with room reserved for sports betting.
He said he looks forward to bringing a cult following to the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox.
“You never go a season [in Boston] Nobody makes the playoffs,” he said. “It’s going to be a sports bar, great food, exciting. “
Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org him on twitter @jonchesto.