Especially since Plainridge Racecourse helped usher Massachusetts into the world of casino gambling, it’s noteworthy that the track won’t be one of the beneficiaries. But Plainridge’s disqualification as a potential slots parlor operator shows that the state Gaming Commission is doing its job. Recently, the panel ruled that the track, whose politically savvy leaders played a big role shaping the 2011 casino law, was unfit to operate a slots parlor in Massachusetts. They cited evidence that Gary T. Piontkowski, the high-profile former track president who abruptly resigned in April, had taken about $1.4 million from the track’s cash room over several years.
The fact that the track allowed those withdrawals to occur, even as the business struggled to survive, raised profound concerns about its management practices. The commissioners unanimously ruled that the withdrawals suggested that the track’s leadership was incapable of exercising the kind of rigorous oversight that the state rightly demands from all casino and slots parlor operators.