On October 12th, 1996, the doors opened at Connecticut’s 2nd casino after Foxwoods opened it’s doors three years prior. After 20 years of expansion, Mohegan Sun is one the largest, most beautiful resort casino in the world.
This month, Mohegan Sun will be celebrating with a variety of events. It started with the annual BrewFest, celebrating with more local beers than ever and Tim McGraw in the arena. So many events this month include, there are just too many to include in one post. Instead, click HERE for all of the month’s activities.
Only a little after a year of opening the the Casino of the Earth, the Mohegan Tribe announced expansion – a hotel, convention center, more gaming space, and an entertainment center. Little did southeastern CT and all of New England realize that the “entertainment center” would turn into one of the best arenas in America. It was the game-changer that really shot Mohegan Sun into the top level of casinos it remains today.
How important is the arena? No other casino in New England, including Foxwoods, Wynn & MGM Grand, include such a large versatile event center. From it’s inaugural event with Michael Jordan (w/ the Washington Wizards) played an exhibition against the Boston Celtics. The list of performers, sporting events, and special gatherings are too long to list. The seating can be configured into 5 common sports configurations. Basketball, boxing, bowling, rodeo, table tennis, lacrosse. It also can be reconfigured to fit many types of concerts: regular, fullhouse, centerstage, and halfhouse. The arena has won awards for being one of America’s most modern concert venues. The arena was awarded the 2008 and 2010 Country Music Award for “Casino of the Year”. It was also ranked the 4th best venue by Billboard Magazine.
“It’s what sets us apart from everybody — not just Foxwoods, but everybody on the East Coast,” said Mitchell Etess, the retired Mohegan Sun executive. “The arena really became the main driver of people (to the casino).”
The Mohegan Tribe didn’t stop there, adding two more casino spaces, adding retail space and an array of the finest restaurants and small chain shops. They knew that gaming alone was not the only way to go. Since then, they acquired a Pennsylvania casino and now run it as Mohegan Sun Poconos, is partners with Resorts in Atlantic City, as well as other casinos in Washington state and Louisiana. It is even developing a casino resort in Korea.
In an interview with Joe Grogan of the Norwich Bulletin, Tribal Council Chairman Kevin “Red Eagle” Brown said, “When Mohegan Sun first opened its doors in 1996, the Mohegan people were “the little tribe that grew up on the hill.” Today, their casino funds educational, and social opportunities for tribe members, stand as one of the greatest Native American success stories.”
Brown continued, ““The simplest way to put it is that the fortunes of running what is now the largest revenue generating casino in the Western hemisphere has put us in a position to be self-governing.”
With new competition on the rise in the next two years, and the consideration of a joint casino with Foxwoods, the future is still bright due to pending projects and retail diversity with companies such as Arooga’s and Jersey Mike’s.
We wish the Mohegan Tribe the best in the future. The Sun and Foxwoods is the best 1-2 casino punch east of Las Vegas. It’s about time the rest of the country took notice.