‘I loved it here’ – Chris Carney’s memories of Raynham Park
Chris Carney, whose family owns Raynham Park, shares memories of growing up around the greyhound racing.
Chris Helms, The Taunton Daily Gazette
RAYNHAM — Raynham Park co-owner Chris Carney said state lawmakers’ approval of sports betting legislation on Aug. 1 “means new life” for the former dog track.
“It’s a rebirth to an old organization that we used to have in the area,” he said. “My father (George Carney) started it in 1940, and he is still in gaming. He has been in gaming for the longest period in Massachusetts’s history.”
Raynham Park hosted greyhound dog racing for decades until voters outlawed the sport in November 2009.
Carney said the lawmakers’ approval of sports betting legislation “is a major accomplishment and huge milestone ” for Raynham Park.
Types of sports betting allowed
Lawmakers approved a measure that allows people to place bets on professional sports teams
The measure also allows people to bet on colleges and university sports teams if they play in national tournaments like March Madness.
People can place sports bets on a mobile phone or in a casino or retail location with a state betting license.
A slot parlor, casino, and racetrack can obtain a sports betting license by paying a state $5 million application fee.
Each casino is allowed to partner with two mobile betting platforms, and another seven mobile betting platform licenses will be available under the bill.
The legislation requires a sports wagering operator to pay a 15% excise tax on their profits for in-person betting at their site.
Sports wagering operators will also have to pay a 20% tax on betters that use a company mobile app or other digital platforms.
Gov. Charlie Baker previously indicated he would support legislation to allow sports betting, and he has until Aug. 12 to approve the measure under state law.
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Raynham Park retail simulcasting center
Carney said a new retail and simulcasting center would be constructed at Raynham Park for people to cast bets.
“We are building a 65,000-square-foot building,” he said. “It will be the largest retail facility in Massachusetts and only one of five retail facilities that have sports betting in the state.”
Carney said the foundation for the retail-simulcasting center had been completed.
“We are now waiting for the steel erectors to come,” he said.
Carney said his family “gambled” when they decided to have a simulcasting and retail center at Raynham Park before sports betting was approved.
“Now the governor just has to sign the bill,” he said.
The new facility will also accommodate betting on greyhound, thoroughbred, and harness racing.
Carney said the simulcasting and retail center should be completed in January 2023.
“We are totally ecstatic,” he said.
Carney said the facility would have “a couple of restaurants, two big major bars, and private function rooms.”
“We will try to hire back all previous employees along with employees’ kids,” he said. “We will try to make it a family business like before.”
Carney said he had received many phone calls from former workers and people who wanted to work at Raynham Park.
“We have people calling us who want to sell us a security lock system along with heating and air conditioning,” he said. “This facility will be the biggest thing that has come to this area in the last 20 years.”
Carney said he believes the revenues collected at Raynham Park when it’s fully operative will “exceed what lawmakers thought.”
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Raynham Park distribution center
Carney said construction of a million-square-foot distribution center is also scheduled to get underway in January 2023 at Raynham Park.
“We are waiting to get MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Permit Act) permits for that,” he said.
Carney said leases of the distribution center by businesses would be managed by Portman Holdings, an Atlanta, Georgia-based development firm.
With reports from State House News Service.