New England Casino Expansion – Is It the Battle with Mass. or Fight For Self-Preservation?

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The northeast corner of the U.S. is becoming saturated with casino gambling.  New England has seen the number of casinos grow from 2 in Connecticut in 1996, to six  and the promise of 4more in Massachusetts (not mentioning one proposal in New Hampshire and expansion being considered in Maine).  Pennsylvania is experiencing it’s first decline in Revenue and Delaware has been in trouble for a few years now.

While New England is getting it’s share of casinos, revenues have showed a steady decline in the Connecticut behemoths (Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun) &  Rhode Island’s casinos are bracing for the worst when Massachusetts opens up for business.  Maine’s little casinos, Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway and Oxford Casino, just over a year old, are experiencing better than expected success.

So, southern New England Properties are looking to expand their market interest for the sake of better revenue – or is it self-preservation?  Here is a breakdown of expansion by Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods in CT., and Twin River Casino in Rhode Island:

Mohegan Sun has many new projects:

  • Today, Sun CEO Mitchell Etess makes a presentation at 1:00 to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as their joint venture for a Eastern Mass License with Suffolk Downs and the city of Revere.  They will be competing with Steve Wynn in Everett for the same license.
  • Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania started with the acquisition in 2005,continued to evolve and then was the first the first in PA to add table games in 2010. 
  • Mohegan Sun now runs gaming operations for Resorts in Atlantic City, since 2012.

Foxwoods continues to look for more possibilities, starting with it’s major expansion of it’s retail with a 312,000-square-foot outlet mall connecting MGM and Foxwoods.  It is expected to open in 2014.    (The front “horseshoe-shaped” extension that connects Foxwoods to MGM is the proposed Tanger Mall Outlet.)

Both Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun are also looking upstate New York for expansion in the Catskills.

Finally, the surprising news out of Rhode Island.  Twin River Casino does not seem content to sit back and take on the Massachusetts battle with just the addition of Table Games.  The parent company of Twin River bought Hard Rock Biloxi in Mississippi for $250 to diversify it’s interest and future revenue.  In acquiring the Mississippi business, Twin River would take over a much smaller gambling venue, but one boasting the Hard Rock brand name, along with one of its popular restaurants, a high-end Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, a 12-story hotel and another hotel tower due to open in February.  

What will the next expansion be from New England casinos?  There’s a lot to be done in this blogger’s opinion, such as:

  • More New England presence in New York state – both upstate and New York City.
  • How about “Resorts Mohegan?”
  • A resort hotel built for Twin River – make it a true destination to compete with Massachusetts.
  • Rhode Island – get rid of those VLT’ machines and become a true “vegas-like” casino.
  • Twin River and Newport Grand need to become connected, if Newport is going to survive.
  • Oxford Casino in Maine – Build a Hotel!

That’s all for now.  Go out and get that Royal Flush – just make sure it’s here in wintry New England!


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