CT Big News Week – 3/10/2015


The same casino industry competitions that threatens Rhode Island’s revenue from gaming, continues to take it’s toll on the CT casinos.  So, a similar raucous of “what to do” is on the move in Connecticut.  Here is a similar format to the Rhode Island News a few days ago.  Not as long, but if you want the abridged version, read the Bold Items and the NETG (NETimeGambling) analysis. 

One important thing to consider is that it’s not just slot take that is the consideration, here.  It’s jobs and that fact that Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods buy supplies and services from vendors all over Connecticut.  So, what is being considered?

thItem #1 – Additional Casinos. This week more news came out about additional gaming in CT even after the notion of adding slots to OTB parlors was crunched in a “New York minute.”

Chariman Brown of Mohegan Tribal Council said that Mohegan Sun leaders had previously discussed the possibility of a small casino somewhere north of Hartford to include slot machines and table games, sating “There are multiple arteries coming out of Massachusetts or New York would be a place to intercept any sort of convince gaming,” said Brown.  Multiple Casinos?  Why not open it up to non-tribal factions with the same % payment to the state?  What the heck – one in every county.  Indian Gaming.com reported “TheMashentucket Pequot Tribal Nation & the Mohegan Tribe could open as many as three casinos. The new developments would reportedly be located near the borders with Massachusetts and New York, where commercial facilities will be opening in the coming years.

NETG Analysis – Multiple Casinos?  Why not open it up to non-tribal factions with the same % payment to the state?  What the heck – one in every county. The real questions are, do the Pequots & Mohegans have that little confidence in their brand and does the state feel they have that little hopeless control for the future competition?

mohegansunearthhotelItem#2 – Mohegan Sun Will Add A New Hotel on Site.  The Mohegans unveiled plans for a $120 million hotel at the Mohegan Sun. The 400-room Earth Hotel is expected to open in the fall of 2016.  Without a second hotel, Mohegan is losing bookings for nearly 500,000 room-nights a year, Brown said. Room-nights are calculated by multiplying rooms by the number of nights they are booked.  “Competition or no competition, we will fill this 400-room hotel with a fraction of those nearly half million turned away room nights,” Brown said.  The new Earth Hotel, is expected to open in fall 2016, and add to the 1,200 rooms in the casino’s Sky Hotel.

NETG Analysis – I have read some very pompous, obnoxious and yes ignorant comments about this added hotel.  This is a definate positive move.  Mohegan Sun has something they all don’t have – including Foxwoods – and that is Mohegan Sun Arena.  It hosts huge concerts, festival, sporting events such as the AAC Women’s championship this weekend, and many large events that would attract more to Connecticut – if they could stay “on campus” so to speak.  Mohegan Sun Arena is by far one of Connecticut’s tourist assets.  And keeping people here for longer trips from New England and all over the country can only help.  Add to that the conference / convention needs the hotel would help is an enormous help.

The Cedars Hotel at Foxwoods

Item #3 – the Pequots of Foxwoods are looking to address the competition by joining a commercial project in Massachusetts. The tribe hopes to manage a casino for KG Urban Entertprises in the southeastern part of the state.  KG Urban Enterprises spokesman Andrew Paven said in a statement Thursday that the New York-based development firm is “thrilled” about the deal. He says no one knows the New England market better than the Mashantucket Pequots, the tribe that owns the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut. KG Urban is among a handful of companies seeking the final resort casino license in Massachusetts, which is reserved for the southeastern region. Applicants have until March 16 to file any initial application materials still outstanding. For KG Urban, that included identifying who would actually run the casino.

NETG Analysis – The new Massachusetts facilities, namely Wynn Everett, could draw visitors away from New York-based developer KG Urban’s proposed Cannon Street Station on New Bedford’s waterfront. Having two properties could give Foxwoods a piece of the Massachusetts pie, while causing additional revenue problems for Twin River & Plainridge Park (new Mass slot parlor).  The connection of rewards clubs is even more of a plus for Foxwoods, but not for CT state revenue.  New England gaming expert Clyde Barrow still thinks “…I’m no longer convinced that you can sustain a $500 million facility anywhere in the region.”  He could be true.  Maybe that’s why the Mass properties are smaller than the CT behemoths.

And the beat goes on……

That’s all for now.