Plainridge breaks ground on slots parlor

Construction began Friday on the first major gambling hall in Massachusetts.

Penn National Gaming broke ground for a $225 million slots parlor at the Plainridge harness race track in Plainville.

"Today we move from the conceptual, we move from the theoretical, to creating real jobs, real opportunity," said Eric Shippers of Penn National.

Plainridge Park Casino is slated to open next spring. The location is about 30 minutes from Rhode Island's Twin River Casino, which recently added table games in anticipation of competition from Massachusetts.

Penn National was awarded the state's only slots parlor license last month by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The facility will be allowed to install up to 1,250 slot machines, but cannot offer table games such as blackjack.

In addition to hundreds of temporary construction jobs, the company says there will be 500 new, permanent jobs at the casino after it opens.

Penn National operates 26 other gambling operations in 16 U.S. states and the province of Ontario.

NBC 10 News contributed to this report.