'Get your old jobs back': Is in-person sports betting just weeks away at Raynham Park?
RAYNHAM — A return of the good old days at Raynham Park came a giant step closer Monday as the historic greyhound track announced a retail sports betting deal with gambling industry giant Caesars Sportsbook.
If regulators approve the partnership, in-person sports betting could begin within weeks at Raynham Park's current simulcasting space of about 3,000 square feet. The footprint would expand once the new sections of Raynham Park are finished in June or July, said Chris Carney, owner of Raynham Park.
Carney said the deal came together in part because of his previous relationship with Dan Shapiro, chief development officer of Caesars Digital. Shapiro knows the area, having studied journalism at Boston University and interning at Suffolk Downs.
"It was a natural," said Carney.
Raynham Park would be the first in-person Caesars Sportsbook in Massachusetts, though the nationwide company has an online betting partnership with Encore Casino in Everett.
The deal, if approved, could be great news for local employment. Raynham Park, at its peak, employed 1,200 workers.
"Come and apply," Carney said when asked his message to folks who used to work at the track. "Get your old jobs back."
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Carney said former employees would go "right to the top of the list."
The new facility will feature a high-end Italian steakhouse. That's another resonance with the past, when Raynham Park brought fine dining to the area, complete with two-month waits for a reservation for the track's prime rib.
bet365 deal fell through
The deal with Caesars Sportsbook comes after an online-only deal fell apart with international gambling behemoth bet365. Carney said bet365, based in the United Kingdom, balked at conforming to some of Massachusetts' gaming regulations.
Representatives of bet365 could not immediately be reached for comment.
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"Raynham Park is in an excellent location in southeast Massachusetts and will be one of just a few retail sports betting locations in the Commonwealth,” said Eric Hession, president of Caesars Digital, in a press statement. “It’s great to partner with the Carney family, which has a long history in the community and an exciting vision for a tremendous sports entertainment and pari-mutuel simulcasting facility. We look forward to showcasing the Caesars commitment to world-class experiences through this partnership."
Once the renovation and rebuilding at Raynham Park is complete, the 60,000-square-foot facility plans to offer 30,000-square-feet of gaming plus two restaurants, bars and private event space. A separate distribution facility being eyed for the sprawling property at Route 138 and Interstate 495 may bring further job opportunities.
Shapiro, the Caesars Sportsbook exec, discussed the partnership in November at the Breeders Cup horse races in Kentucky. Shapiro and other Caesars decision-makers visited Raynham Park and thought it would be a good fit for the company's operations in Massachusetts, Shapiro said.
"This actually came together really quickly," Shapiro said. "It's good to have a partner who really knows the local landscape, knows the local customers."
Shapiro said Boston and New York are probably the nation's greatest sports cities.
"One thing that stood out to me when I think of Massachusetts, the sports culture and fandom there is really unmatched among anywhere I've lived in my life," Shapiro said.
Caesars Entertainment operates more than 50 resorts. Caesars Sportsbook runs more than 180 sportsbooks across the U.S. It's a sports betting partner of the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.
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This article originally appeared on The Enterprise: Raynham Park partners with Caesars Sportsbook for in-person gambling