Business News: Caesars to offer sports betting at Raynham Park

One of the state’s oldest bet takers is partnering with one of the largest gambling companies in the world to offer betting on professional and some college sports as the Commonwealth breathes new life into a business it nearly destroyed.

“Caesars Sportsbook is the strongest retail sports gaming brand in the industry and we are extremely proud to announce our partnership,” Chris Carney, the third generation owner of Raynham Park said in a statement.

On Monday, the former dog racing track, now little more than a place for people to play the lottery and place bets on horse races run elsewhere, announced it would partner with gaming giant Caesars in a plan to open one of the largest physical sports betting spaces in the country.

Now mostly weeds, the dog track was shuttered after a 2008 ballot initiative made greyhound racing illegal in Massachusetts.

Since then, the Carney’s business has survived by taking bets via simulcast after missing a bid at a casino license in 2011. The company has shrunk from more than 500 employees to fewer than 100, Carney said.

The Legislature may have saved the family business, which has been operating in Raynham for more than 80 years, with the passage of the state’s sports wagering law.

Signed last summer by former Gov. Charlie Baker, that new law allows some businesses to compete for mobile sports betting licenses and the state’s standing gambling facilities to offer the additional form wagers, if they apply for a license.

That includes the dog tracks, even if they haven’t seen a greyhound for more than a decade.

“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,” Eric Hession, President of Caesars Digital, said with the announcement of the partnership. “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.”

Last fall, the Carneys announced through a family spokesperson they would build a “60,000 square foot sportsbook that will include more than 30,000 square feet of gaming space, two restaurants, several bars, private function rooms and capacity for 2,000 patrons” on the 13-acre plot of land they bought next to the old greyhound track.

That facility, according to the Carney family, will be one of the largest of its kind in the nation.

Sports betting will go live on January 31 throughout Massachusetts, though for in person bets only. Mobile betting will not begin until March. The Carneys said in September they would open their new venue by April.

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