And the Plot Thickens….
The Mashentuckets have decided to join the fray by their decision to become a big player, joining with developer David Nunes – the mysterious last minute entry (10 minutes before the deadline) to the party with no location. Now we know more!
David Nunes controls 177 acres acres off of I-495 in Milford, about 35 miles away from Boston. Foxwoods and Nunes will now compete in a Boston area trifecta with Caesars Entertainment (Suffolk Downs) and Wynn resorts, which plans a hotel resort in Everett.
The partners have not settled on a name, but will be a “Foxwoods” brand with the Pequots having a great influence in the design of the resort. Foxwoods chief executive, Scott Butera, says he loves the site. “It’s in an area that you can build with very little disruption” Butera said. “We have a customer base and we think we can instantly this property.”
Of course, the fact that the Mashentuckets have run one of the largest casinos in the world for 21 years will be a key selling point. And about one third of Foxwoods visitors are from Massachusetts. With the threat of losing customers to Massachusetts casinos, getting this licence will be no lose at all, considering they will be losing visitors to themselves!
This brings to mind the question “What will be best for New England’s Gamblers – competition between gaming giants or the lack there of?”
Scenerio 1– Foxwoods in Boston market, Mohegan Sun in western Mass, and the Mashpee Wampanoags in the southeast, and one slot parlor. Would this make the current markets in CT stronger, while watering down the quality by lack of competition? We’ve already seen it on the Las Vegas Strip, with MGM & Caesar’s controlling most of the strip. As we have seen in Vegas, the amenities continue to improve, but the cost of entertainment and the value of gaming continues to decrease. The slot payout percentage on the strip is equal to that of the Sun & Foxwoods, with table games worse – at least the CT casinos don’t offer 6/5 Blackjack! (at least for now – see scenario two)
Scenario 2 – Completely different players in all areas, calling for competition to lure gamblers from all parts of New England – MGM or Penn in the west, Caesar’s or Wynn in Boston, the Mashpees and a slot parlor. !0 different players bringing their brand of gaming and resorts. Here’s a brief opinion of what each brings:
- MGM – International name, excellent entertainment, poor rewards, mediocre to poor gambling value, but an overall attention to the resort experience. (6/5 blackjack & high table limits)
- Caesars (formerly Harrah’s) – best rewards club, good comps and room offers, mediocre to poor gambling value (6/5 blackjack, but good slot offerings), known for taking care of it’s patrons, but not taking care of it’s properties. (Have you seen the Las Vegas Paris balloon lately?)
- Wynn – extravagant properties, decent rewards club, fabulous restaurants and particular attention to those who can afford it!
- Penn – owners of the slightly smaller Hollywood brand, but not a small player by any means. They know how to run smaller resorts, including raceways (such as our own Casino in Maine at Hollywood Raceway) turned into casinos. West Virginia, Mississippi, and their new ventures in Ohio and Maryland. Their only property in Nevada, 10 miles outside of Las Vegas, is the beautiful M Resort which they have run the gambling operations for a few years now. Unfortunately, while it is a wonderful resort, and a personal fave of mine, since taking over the gambling operations from the Marnell familly, I have seen changes in fewer or cheaper comps, promotions, room offers and gaming value.
So, there is one man’s opinions about the future casino movement in Massachusetts and it’s players. I can’t wait to turn the page and see what royal turn of events is in the next chapter!
It sure is exciting to see it all unfold. But, all this has me exhausted. (I think a nap is in order since everywhere in Connecticut today is one sheet of glare ice.) It’s like watching that mess on I-95 in New Haven turn into a really great highway, if that sort of thing interests you – it interest me! (Hmmm, too much information)
That’s all for now! It’s better for both of us I stop now.