State casino regulators have disqualified Plainridge Racecourse from the competition for a slots parlor license, citing revelations raised by state investigators that former track President Gary T. Piontkowski made personal cash withdrawals from the struggling track’s money room “almost on a daily basis’’ for years, totaling roughly $1.4 million.
“The burden is on them to demonstrate their suitability to operate a gaming establishment,’’ the commission wrote of Plainridge. “Their lack of attention to detail, interest in the operation and blind trust does not advance their case.’’
Plainridge, in Plainville, is the only harness racing track in Massachusetts. The rejection of the track’s application to operate slot machines puts the future of harness racing industry in serious jeopardy.
“I think it is very difficult to sustain a track without slot machines,’’ said Clyde Barrow, a gambling expert at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. “And the truth be told, Plainridge opened primarily on the hopes of one day getting slots.’’
A rival slots developer, Raynham Park, was declared qualified to bid, in a gambling commission ruling also released today.