At least two to three times each year, someone brings up the “S” word concerning casino gambling in the northeast:
“Casino Saturation” is a concern everywhere in the U.S. Between the Lottery, Tribal & Commercial Casinos, 43 states have casino legalized gambling. As the debate about online and fantasy gambling continues to be battled out, it seems more gambling instead of less is America’s yearning.
When Oxford Casino in Maine was built, saturation was mentioned since there was already a casino in Maine – Hollywood, in Bangor. It was feared that the two would financially cannibalize each other without enough gamblers for two casinos. But, both continue to survive. Within the past two years, one study suggested that Maine could withstand another casino, but was dismissed twice by the Maine Legislature.
New Hampshire continues to visit the casino option, but has had it defeated 4 times mostly due to the possible competition with Massachusetts gambling properties.
Massachusetts excluded the Brockton Southeast Gaming License due to the Wampanoag Casino in Taunton and the many stages of flux it was in. Two large casinos in Southeastern Mass. was considered too much by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Rhode Island continues to move casinos around and is building a hotel for Twin River to compete with Massachusetts and Connecticut.
ALL BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF CASINO SATURATION!
Connecticut studies, ironically made by MGM, suggested another casino in southwestern CT would be a plausible candidate for casino expansion, as Mohegan & Pequot tribes start plans for their joint casino near the border of MGMSpringfield.
In his article “Growing Gambling Facilities In The Northeast U.S.: Is There A Market For Them All?, Elliott R. Morss provides tables of gaming progression in select casinos, including Wynn & MGM. The article implies that the survival of both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods is in jeopardy. Why:
The old casino model of 80/20 – that’s 80% from gambling revenue and 20% from entertainment, dining, etc., – is changing to a more “integrated resort development” in new casinos. Both Wynn & MGM are building newer casinos in New England with that in mind. For a related post, click on our article MGM Springfield Casino Will Be an “Urban” Casino.
However, as we started, isn’t this the same worry we’ve heard for years? While the CT casinos have felt the pinch and haven’t fully recovered from the 2007 Recession, they continue to diversify and look to additional interests in the “integrated resort” concept. And both have cut gambling machines and tables down to more manageable numbers.
Mohegan Sun continues it’s quest for a casino in Korea, and developing a large swath of land across the river from its casino that will include retail, housing and more. Foxwoods has added more thrill rides and continues to re-invent itself. CT Casino #3, the MMCT third casino in East Windsor still has big old MGM worried, or they wouldn’t be still trying to stop it through the courts.
So, I say gambling is increasing – in New England, in the east, all over the country. There isn’t a finite number of gamblers. The pie just gets larger. With the soon-to-be-changed law on sports betting, more opportunities will be available for CT, MA, RI & the rest of the northeast.
Wynn, MGM, Tiverton will all serve different purposes and different players. Let’s see what the future of gaming in New England holds before we once again think the sky is falling!