Visionary Felix Rappaport Was a Star Wherever He Went

Suddenly, the casino industry had one less visionary. Suddenly, another loss in the world.

Felix Rappaport, the president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino, passed away unexpectedly, according to the casino. Those who don’t follow the casino world living in New England probably didn’t realize what a legend from the Las Vegas we had.

As reported by Brian Hallenbeck of the Day  “Mashantucket Pequot tribal police determined the death was not suspicious, said Lori Potter, a spokeswoman for the tribe, which owns the casino.”

“On behalf of the entire Tribal Council, Foxwoods management team and staff, we extend our deepest sympathies to Felix’s family,” Rodney Butler, the Mashantucket chairman, said in a statement. “With his passing, we have suffered a major loss. Felix’s passion for modernizing and growing Foxwoods, as well as his friendship, mentorship and humor touched everyone who worked with him. We are confident that Felix’s legacy will live on as we continue to push forward on the vision he set.”

Rappaport’s death stunned people throughout the industry. Long recognized as an innovator, Rappaport sought to diversify Foxwoods’ offerings in a bid to lessen its dependence on gaming revenues. He introduced Las Vegas-style entertainment to Foxwoods’ mix, and oversaw the opening of the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods and, more recently, such attractions as “thrill” rides and a zip line.

“It’s totally shocking,” said Mitchell Etess, a senior adviser to the Mohegan Tribe, which owns Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods’ chief rival. “I’ve been working with him very closely on the East Windsor project and had gotten to know him. He was a really great and unique person — and personality. Obviously, he had been doing a wonderful job at Foxwoods.”

To give you another look at how highly Mr. Rappaport was considered, here is a link from the Las Vegas Sun from 2014.

Behind the scenes, Rappaport was a star on the Strip

Felix, you will be missed. Thank you for all you brought to the New England Casino Landscape. May you rest in peace.

Binbin

Barrett-Jackson Auction Opens New Earth Expo Center at Mohegan Sun

For the last 47 years, enthusiasts from all over the world have flocked to Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. Widely regarded as a barometer of the collector car industry, the auctions have evolved over the years into world-class automotive lifestyle events where hundreds of the world’s most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience – in person and on live national and international television.

Barrett-Jackson

Barrett-Jackson produces The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to the millions watching the events via live worldwide television coverage on Discovery Channel and Velocity, over 500,000 people are in attendance at all four auctions, looking to witness auction action at its best, capture the car of their dreams, learn more about collector cars through “Behind the Hobby” symposiums, experience heart-stopping thrill rides in the latest vehicles from America’s top automakers – or shop in the vast Exhibitor Marketplace.

It all starts in the new Earth Expo Center on Wednesday, June 20th, from 8:00am – 5:00pm.  It’s called Family Value Day Preview Day where Gates, Sponsors & Exhibitors and Car Displays Open. Get an up-close look at all the auction vehicles and explore the sponsor and exhibitor displays.

The goldRush Rally

During the final day of the auction, June 23rd, an auto “Super Saturday” will take place. The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions® has teamed up with Shell and Pennzoil to host goldRush Rally at Mohegan Sun. It will be the rally’s first stop during its 10-year anniversary event and the first time in goldRush’s history the rally has stopped at an auction during their epic drives. Full details and up-to-date information on the rally is available at goldRushRally.com.  

Some of the many cars in the goldRush Rally.

For the last decade, goldRush Rally has welcomed distinguished guests, VIP celebrities, and automotive influencers to the #1 luxury rally in the country. Participants drive through high-profile cities and scenic back roads with unforgettable moments witnessed by dedicated fans.  During the stop in Connecticut on June 23rd – on its way to New York – the cars will be staged in the parking lot at Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar for fans to see while rally participants visit the auction inside Mohegan Sun.

The other cities and hotels included in this year’s #1 luxury rally include:

Boston – Revere Hotel Boston Common (4 Stars)
New York – Lotte New York Palace Hotel (4 Stars)
Pittsburgh – Nemacolin Woodlands Resort (5 Stars)
Detroit – Greektown Casino-Hotel (4 Stars)
St Louis – The Ritz-Carlton (4 Stars)
Memphis – Peabody Hotel (4 Stars)
Dallas – Hotel Crescent Court (4 Stars)
Albuquerque – Sandia Resort And Casino (4 Stars)
Scottsdale – Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (5 Stars)
Las Vegas – Encore (5 Stars)

Details for The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions

For tickets to all Barrett-Jackson events Wednesday through Saturday, click HERE for the link to Ticketmaster.

Here’s the rest of the scheduled events.

THURSDAY

8:00am: Gates, Sponsors & Exhibitors Open

9:00am – 11:00am: Behind The Hobby Collector Car Symposiums

9:00am – 5:00pm: Ford Ride ‘N Drives / Chevrolet Hot Laps / Dodge Thrill Rides

9:00am – Auction Close: Automobilia and Collector Car Auction

FRIDAY

8:00am: Gates, Sponsors & Exhibitors Open

9:00am – 11:00am: Behind The Hobby Collector Car Symposiums

9:00am – 5:00pm: Ford Ride ‘N Drives / Chevrolet Hot Laps / Dodge Thrill Rides

9:00am – Auction Close: Automobilia and Collector Car Auction

SATURDAY

8:00am: Gates, Sponsors & Exhibitors Open

9:00am – 11:00am: Behind The Hobby Collector Car Symposiums

9:00am – 5:00pm: Ford Ride ‘N Drives / Chevrolet Hot Laps / Dodge Thrill Rides

9:00am – Auction Close: Automobilia and Collector Car Auction

 

If you are a car enthusiast, buyer, collector, or just curious about the most amazing automobiles ever made, you’ll make time for this event.

Binbin

New England Casino News

Visiting New England’s Casinos?

New England

Curious about casino expansion in our region? Then there’s only one place to go – visit us at NETimeGambling! For specific casino details, visit the websites of all seven casinos:  Connecticut – Foxwoods Resort/Casino & Mohegan Sun Resort/Casino; Rhode IslandNewport Grand & Twin River Hotel/Casino; MassachusettsPlainridge Park Casino & Raceway, MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor; Maine –  Oxford Casino & Hollywood Bangor Hotel, Casino & Raceway.


NEWS

Plainridge Harness Racing, with renovated racebook, could be looking to add sports-betting.

Sports Betting Coming to New England

Two New England states were listed in an article by Abby Messick of CasinoCityTimes.com  as two of the “Top 10 US states to legalize sports betting.”  Massachusetts and Connecticut were listed as 7th and 2nd respectively behind New Jersey to be the soonest to offer sports betting.  Now that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (A.K.A. PASPA), has been considered unconstitutional, both states are now maneuvering to add sports betting. “Massachusetts has no sports-betting-specific bills right now, but key lawmakers are generating interest. Plainridge Park, [Encore] Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are ready to throw their support behind sports betting. Connecticut already has the Connecticut Lottery Corporation moving to be “ready to operate sports betting.” Director of IT Steve Wager commented that sports betting is particularly suited to the lottery scene, and it would “just be another option.”  [The latest bill] will allow casinos, horse racing tracks and off-track betting facilities to offer sports betting, in addition to language that allows for internet wagering and online lottery sales. But, Connecticut’s tribes are looking to complete control of sports betting, citing it’s gambling pact with the state would be violated and end the 25% slot contribution to the state’s coffers.

Empire City Casino, Yonkers, NY

MGM Buying Yonkers VLT Parlor & Raceway

MGM Resorts International came at Connecticut from another angle Tuesday, announcing it’s buying Empire City Casino, a Yonkers, N.Y., racetrack casino, for $850 million while remaining committed to its plan to build a Bridgeport casino if the state authorizes one.  Brian Hallenbeck of the the New London Day reported that MGM stated it is “…still committed to Bridgeport, where it unveiled plans for a $675 million resort casino last September, announcing it intended to push for the Connecticut legislature to establish a competitive-bidding process for a commercial casino license.” But Clyde Barrow, a gaming expert who has done some consulting work for the tribes, said that while MGM Resorts’ purchase of Empire City “makes perfect sense,” its continuing interest in a Bridgeport casino “would make no sense. “They’re being disingenuous when they say they’re still committed to building in Bridgeport when they’re going to be 17 miles from the Connecticut border” in Yonkers, N.Y., Barrow said. “They’ll be in a position to bid on table games when New York state’s moratorium on them expires in a few years.” 

As it stands, Empire City boasts the sixth largest gaming floor in the country with 5,222 video lottery terminals. In 2006, the machines were added after a $225 million renovation. Then, there were only 1,800 terminals until that December, when a 120,000-square-foot addition allowed for 2,200 more. It was huge news for the southeast Yonkers business that has been owned by the Rooney family — the same people who own the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers — for nearly 50 years and finds itself having to fight for relevancy against competition further upstate and in Connecticut and New Jersey. The two sides have agreed, but the state still needs to approve. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, because the state Gaming Commission needs to review the sale and license MGM to run the facility.

Proposed Tiverton Casino

Tiverton Casino & Hotel (Replacing Newport Grand Casino)

Opening Moved Back to September 1st

Robert Mann of GamingToday.com reported that the projected opening of a new casino in Tiverton, Rhode Island has been moved forward from Oct. 1. to Sept. 1. The 100,000-square-foot space will feature 1,000 slot machines, 32 table games and five dining options. The property also includes a parking garage and an 84-room hotel. “John E. Taylor Jr., chairman of Twin River Management Group, said in a news release late last week that construction crews made quick progress over the winter months, allowing the company to open earlier than anticipated.” The 100,000-square-foot space will feature 1,000 slot machines, 32 table games and five dining options. The property also includes a parking garage and an 84-room hotel. Newport Grand in Newport, RI, will close this summer to make way for the new Tiverton Casino.

Mohegan Sun Has Made Uncasville, CT “Convention Central”

Mohegan Sun reported the celebration and ribbon cutting of the Earth Expo & Convention Center, the property’s $80 million-dollar expansion on Wednesday, May 30th. The state-of-the-art Earth Expo & Convention Center at Mohegan Sun makes Mohegan Sun, already know for its convention and event space, now home to one of the largest and most attractive exposition sites in the Northeast, with over 275,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. The new Earth Expo & Convention Center is located next to the property’s Winter Parking Garage, adjacent to the Earth Tower guest rooms. The first major event held in Earth Expo will be the third annual Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction of collector cars from June 20-23, 2018.  Brian Hallenbeck of the Day writes, “Half of it is big enough to accommodate four football fields — 125,000 square feet of unfettered, column-free convention space. The other half features a 20,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into two; 15 meeting rooms; an executive boardroom and outdoor space with a terrace.”  All 7,100 Mohegan Sun employees were invited to the unveiling, with meals served throughout the day for each of the three employee shifts. Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, cast the Expo Center as the latest sign of the tribe’s commitment to the state, which, in exchange for granting the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots the exclusive right to operate casino gaming in the state, gets a cut of the tribal casinos’ slot-machine revenues.

Tomorrow is Promotion, Events, and Specials for the month of June.  Check in with us tomorrow.

Binbin

Super Hand Video Poker – Try It, You May Like the Excitement

Super Hand Poker

Courtesy of The Wizard of Odds website.

In the original Triple Play (or 5-, 10-, or any other multiple of hands played), the bottom hand is played like any video poker machine.  You are dealt five cards, and after you decide what to hold, you are dealt cards to finish your five-card hand.  But in Triple-Play, there is only one step to follow. After choosing your held cards, they are held in all three hands and then you draw to each hand as separate

Super Hand Poker is a new twist on Triple Play Poker where you are dealt 3 independent hands. Super Hand Poker was first introduced at the 2015 Global Gaming Expo. The only New England casino to include it at this time is Mohegan Sun.

THINGS TO KNOW

  1. Super Hand Poker can usually be found in nickel, dime and quarter denomination.
  2. Don’t expect great paytables. Mohegan Sun had 6/5 JOB and 8/5 DDB.
  3. Without max bet, it acts like a usual Triple Play format.  Max play doubles your bet, with the extra 15 credits adding the best possible hand swap.
  4. Volatile? – yes.  Fun? I thought so. If you are dealt a Flush, FH, or 4-of-a-kind (or even a Royal), it is swapped to the bottom giving you three hands of that payout.  You could then change the hold, if, for example, you were looking for a kicker with quad aces.
  5. Any winning dealt hands are paid, and then the hand with the highest expected value is selected for the next round of play in traditional Triple Play fashion.

PERCENTAGES & STRATEGY

Mike Shackelford of The Wizard of Odds

Mike Shackelford of The Wizard of Odds

According to Michael Shackelford of the Wizard of Odds website, EV percentage is as follows:

  • 6/5 Bonus Poker – 97.8%
  • 6/5 Bonus Poker Deluxe – 95.8%
  • 10/8 Deuces, with both Full house and 4OAK = 4  – 97.48%
  • 6/5 DDB – 95.00
  • 8/5 DDB ( at Mohegan Sun) 97.00%

According to the Wizard, “You can never go wrong with accepting the game’s determination of the best hand to put on the bottom. Sometimes it will be a tie, in which case you can switch with an equal hand, but it will neither help nor hurt you. For which cards to keep and discard, you may use conventional video poker strategy.”

PLAYING SUPER HAND POKER

Here’s how it works:

Three independent hands are initially dealt. Notice when all three hands are dealt the best possible hand was at the top.

With max bet, the game picks the best of the three hands and swaps it to the bottom.  Now, the best hand is the beginning hand for the draw an hold, with the option of swapping another hand.  Much like Dream Card Poker, the best hand choice is consistently correct, as far as I noticed with strategy for JOB and Double Double Bonus.  The game will automatically put the best starting hand, as measured by expected value, on the bottom.


Notice above, you get paid for any made hand on the draw before holding for the Triple Play draw.  Below you see the Kings were held, followed by the draw and the final payoff of hands, ending the game.

 

RECOMMENDATION

I had a blast playing this game.  It is slow due to the additional steps to complete play.  If game you are looking for a full-pay, grind it out type of video poker, don’t bother.  But sometimes gambling is about the fun and the expectation of a big payout. Should it replace $1 Full Pay JOB for serious play at Mohegan Sun? No.

But like I said, it was fun. Try it – and if it drains your bankroll quickly but you still want high volatility, play Powerhouse Poker or Super Draw 6 Card Poker in the same row, Earth casino.

That’s all for now.  Tomorrow we take a look at some upcoming promotions for the Kentucky Derby!

Binbin

 

 

Wynn & MGM Rumors Abound in Massachusetts

Matt Maddox (left & Steve Wynn (right) courtesy of CNBC

Wynn Resorts new CEO Matt Maddox reported on CNBC Wednesday that “Boston’s not up for sale. What Boston represents for us is a good growth opportunity……I like that market. I found that land. I pursued that deal. I entered the agreement with the host community five years ago. I liked that market then, I like that market now.”

Rumors have been spreading daily over the two new casinos in Massachusetts.  It all started when Steve Wynn, then CEO of Wynn Resorts, Wynn, was accused of demanding sexual favors from female employees over the last three decades. Since these allegations became public, and his resignation as Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO on Feb. 6, a firestorm of speculation has whirled around Everett, MA.,  spreading to Springfield, MA and even Connecticut’s tribal casinos.

MGM BOSTON HARBOR?

MassLive reported that “gaming officials are exploring the sale of Wynn Boston Harbor, with MGM Resorts International as a top candidate to purchase the project.”  MGM Resorts International has been urged on by John DeCree of Union Gaming stating “purchasing Wynn Boston Harbor could result in a double-digit increase in return on investment for MGM than their casino project in Springfield.”  But state gaming regulations only allow a casino operator to hold more than one gaming license in Massachusetts.  Selling their MGM Springfield project would then be necessary to purchase the Wynn property in Everett.

MORE RUMORS

Meanwhile, back in Springfield, MGM this week has reported a new opening date – earlier than the previously announced late September.  MGM Springfield is now prepared to open (mark your calendars!) August 24th, 2018.  This report is not a rumor, but will the casino in Springfield be owned by MGM by that time?

With a series of “what-ifs” and “thens,” check out this possible 5+ step scenario:

  • 1. MGM purchases Wynn Boston Harbor, becoming MGM Boston Harbor
  • 2. MGM sells Springfield casino.
  • 3A. Mohegan Sun buys Springfield, becoming Mohegan Sun Springfield (the Mohegan tribe lost out to Wynn for the Boston license with their proposal in Revere. or
  • 3B. MMCT Joint venture between the Pequot & Mohegan tribes in CT change it’s prospective 3rd CT casino in South Windsor to Springfield, MA.
  • 3C. The prospective 3rd CT casino in South Windsor continues as a joint venture between the Pequot & Mohegan tribes in CT
  • 4. The prospective 3rd CT casino in South Windsor is not built, leaving Foxwoods out of the mix, until….
  • 5. Connecticut opens bidding for Bridgeport Casino, as Foxwoods & MGM become prime suitors to battle it out for the NYC market.

It seems like fun to make these rumored projections, much like a mock draft on Draft Day.  But it isn’t fun and games for the city of Springfield. MA. Casino opponents in Springfield always warned that “something like this could happen with MGM’s track record.”

MGM Springfield

Remember when this beautiful tower was going to enhance the Springfield skyline?

AND WHAT ABOUT SPRINGFIELD?

According to MassLive, “Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said Friday he has been assured by the top executives of MGM Resorts International and MGM Springfield that it remains committed to building a first-class resort casino in the city, despite unconfirmed reports that the company is in discussions to purchase the under-construction Wynn Resorts casino in Everett.” Residents have made it known that they need MGM for its economic and jobs promises. Some note that MGM has already changed its plans when they changed the 30-story hotel tower and decreased the casino floor.

Other residents have noted that businesses have been reluctant to break ground in Springfield to accompany the opening of MGM Springfield.

MGM has stated, “We do not comment on rumors or speculations around transactions. We remain fully committed to the opening and success of MGM Springfield.”  But it is the Boston market that will pay the most dividends.  Springfield has always been, to some, a questionably lucrative project.

CONCLUSION

Many events would have to happen in order for Wynn Boston Harbor to become MGM Boston Harbor. The summer will prove to be interesting, as state legislatures business is coming to a halt soon in both states, putting a hold on possibilities.  Besides the Wynn Boston Harbor mess and the MMCT situation in CT, sports-betting is also on the table in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

For Springfield’s sake, I hope the next throw of the dice isn’t “snake-eyes!”

Binbin

Hotel Review – The Hilltop Alternative to a Foxwoods Weekend Stay

Foxwoods Resort Casino has always been a wonderful place to stay.  When we can, my wife & I will go for a little staycation, and we live only 30 minutes away.

But, on the weekends, hotel rates increase – not just at Foxwoods, but everywhere.  While it’s great to sleep over at one of the four hotels on the weekend, the prices can be prohibitive to most.  There are other possibilities, so I looked and found the Hilltop Inn & Suites.

Disclaimer – remember prices will vary.  The following comparisons for one weekend will, however, be similar to most weekends.

CHECKING IN

Pleasant, quick, and friendly.  The check-in desk gives a good impression and the staff were helpful and efficient.  I had a meeting at 4:00 at Foxwoods.  I arrived at 3:30 and was checked-in, unpacked and on my way to Foxwoods in 20 minutes.

Please note, this is actually a motel, not a hotel, meaning no hallways and your door opens to the outside. It doesn’t really make a difference because the area is safe.

It takes 5 minutes to get to Foxwoods.  But if you’re interested in drinking, they provide a shuttle for the casino.

AMMENITIES

Free breakfast is offered.

Besides the shuttle, a Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room, free parking and a decent breakfast are included.  Free High Speed WiFi was more like medium speed than fast, but still worked.

 THE ROOM

In was a nice clean room. Two queen beds, with a small dinette table and two chairs. No frills but was well worth the price. Bed was comfortable. Water pressure in shower was great which had been renovated.  It has the typical motel arrangement of the sink outside the shower & toilet.  I found it spacious for two people.  the room also has a free safe for valuables.

Apologies for the dark pic. The lights weren’t on.

The only complaint would be the walls seem a little thin.  A few people were talking next door, not too loudly, and they could be heard in our room.  But nothing a little white noise sound on soft can’t take care of.

PRICE

This is what you’re really interested in, aren’t you. For a weekend night, rates vary between $99 to $129.  For this standard, modest, & clean alternative to the hotels at Foxwoods, I would recommend the Hilltop Inn & Suites.  Foxwoods rates the same night ranged from over $400 at Two Trees Inn to over $1000 at Fox Tower. Hilltop is a comparatively inexpensive choice when visiting Foxwoods for the weekend just up the road.

Gamblepalooza – What A Weekend!

Gamblepalooza is done.  Mark & Dr. Mike are returning to San Diego, others returning to Cincinnati, Chicago, and New Jersey. Cousin Vito & Mikey9’s are back in CT to get this week’s report on it.  And Eric Rosenthal and Ed O’Connor are probably preparing to share their expertise for one of many interviews or articles up next.

I am so happy to have met some great people.  Not only great in terms of gambling knowledge and experience, but really friendly people.

Highlights:

Lots of craps was played.

The Centrale meet-up in the Fox Tower was a wonderful time to drink and chat.

I finally met two couples from Connecticut who follow NETimeGambling.

The Keno Breakfast was a lot of fun at the Veranda Cafe. The only win I had all weekend!

The Group Slot Pull – those are $100 Wheel of Fortune Slots.

The Group Slot Pull  – even though we didn’t win, it sure was fun and brought the 40+ of us together in the High Limit Slot room – to the dismay of the Foxwoods staff.

Meeting with the original ZorkFest Gang- Jay & his wife, Han, Michelle (and others I’m sure I forgot)

Special Thanks

Cousin Vito & Eric Rosenthal – for getting the first get-together started  and planned including the great room rates for a weekend. Great job gentlemen.

Amanda & Ianna – we all know who the foundations are behind the above, previously mentioned characters.

Foxwoods & Staff – a great group of people who gave this group the service and amenities one would expect from a first class resort.

I hope it happens again next year.  Meanwhile, next in our sites is  ZorkFest 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada – Memorial Day.

Dr. Clyde Barrow & the Proposed Bridgeport Casino

Attorney General Jepson

Attorney General George Jepsen has advised Connecticut legislators to test the market for opening Connecticut to commercial casinos. He seems to think it wouldn’t jeopardize $260 million in slots revenue the state expects to collect this year under the exclusive deal with the tribal owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun.

But this is a questionable tactic in my mind, and so does Clyde Barrow.

Who is Clyde Barrow?

Dr. Clyde Barrow is considered a gaming industry specialist. In a comprehensive study, he stated that a new Connecticut casino (referring to the joint venture between the Mohegans & Pequots) would recapture 46 percent of the 9,300 jobs and $337 million in revenue that would otherwise be lost to out-of-state competition, especially that from Massachusetts.

Casino Consultant, Clyde Barrow

Casino Consultant, Clyde Barrow

Dr. Barrow goes on to say recently, “Precedent has already been set. According to Barrow, “in October of 2010, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council “stopped sharing revenue from the casino along New York’s northern border with the state, claiming the exclusivity provisions of its gambling compact has been violated…..In other words: if the State of Connecticut grants a commercial gaming license to any operator other than the State’s two Indian tribes under an open competitive bid process, then the tribe’s current combined revenue sharing payments of $267 million annually could cease immediately (Connecticut Division of Special Revenue 2017).”

Connecticut’s Tribal Tax Revenue

Foxwoods Resort Casino has operated a Class III casino under a compact with the State of Connecticut since February 15, 1992 and Mohegan Sun Casino has operated a Class III casino under a compact with the State of Connecticut since October 12, 1996. Connecticut’s two tribes have a combined Gross Gaming Revenue that is the 4th largest in the United States.  The top three are California (where 62 of the 109 California tribes own 69 casinos), Florida (2 tribes operate and own 8 casinos) and Washington state (32 tribal casinos owned by 23 tribes). Remember, only two tribes with only two casinos in the third smallest US state.

But all that revenue from slots at both tribal casinos would be lost with a competitive process for the 4th casino in Bridgeport.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino.(Image: MGM Resorts International)

As reported by Brian Hallenbeck, the Day staff writer, Dr. Barrow said “Assuming the third Connecticut casino gets built — and few consider that a slam dunk — a fourth, competitively bid casino would have to generate nearly $1.1 billion in annual gross gaming revenues to offset what the state would lose when the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes stop sharing their casinos’ slot-machine revenues, a new report concludes. And the probability of a Bridgeport casino pulling in that kind of cash “is almost zero [because] not a single commercial casino in the United States currently generates that level of gross gaming revenue,,”

 

Let’s look at a few other considerations:

  1. The traffic from New York of prospective gamblers will cause studies and improvements in the dangerous, time consuming highway that is I-95. Improved infrastructure should be paid for by any perspective Bridgeport Casino project, or that will cut into Connecticut’s tax revenue, diminishing the already smaller revenue expected without the tribal tax revenue.

    I-95 traffic congestion on SW CT.

  2. Potential developments in New York, where a constitutional moratorium on New York City casinos expires in December 2022, also threaten the success of a Bridgeport casino, Barrow contends. “There is nothing to prevent the State of New York from locating a new casino even closer to the Connecticut border, where it could intercept casino traffic from New York City and capture traffic from Fairfield County. The anticipated traffic from New York City will never materialize for a Bridgeport casino because New York can easily and quickly pre-empt a new competitive threat from Connecticut by building an even more lavish casino that is more convenient to New York City customers.”
  3. If newly built New York Casinos and NYC close Empire and Resorts World Casinos are already cutting into the tribal revenue, what kind of a terrible impact would a border war with New York AND Massachusetts bring without the CT tribal revenue when the exclusive pact with the tribes is broken.

I believe Dr. Barrow’s analysis.  But maybe MGM International also believes he’s right.  I guess that’s how stalling tactics, and MGM is real good at not showing its hand. Meanwhile, MGM Springfield continues – full speed ahead, while Connecticut is still waiting for in first gear.

Bin bin

Kids Week Events at CT Casinos – Part 1 Mohegan Sun

Kids Quest & Cyber Quest at Mohegan Sun

Wondering what to do next week when the kiddos are home for school vacation? Well, Connecticut’s two tribal casinos are supplying free entertainment and events in case you need some great ideas.

Add to that food options like Johnny Rockets, Chick-fil-a, and Pepe’s Pizza at the Sun and Sugar Factory, Fuddruckers, and California Pizza Kitchen at Foxwoods, and you can spend the day.  Ben & Jerry’s? – they’re at both!

Here are the possibilities at

MOHEGAN SUN

APRIL 9TH & APRIL 10TH

All Day Activities | 11:00am to 7:00pm

  • Cyber Quest Activities: – Arcade Racers, Sensory Play Area with Slime, and Arts & Crafts
  • Manicures and basic hairstyles – by Paul Mitchell The School North Haven
  • NASKART Information and prizes with an appearance by mascot, Eli Trick
  • Discounted Arena concessions will be available on both days:
    Hot dogs $2
    Ice cream $2
    Popcorn $1
    Pretzels $1
    Nachos $1
    Fountain soda/juices/water $1

APRIL 9TH

New England Black Wolves – Pro Lacrosse at Mohegan Sun

11:15am – 11:45am – New England Black Wolves Demo – with appearances by Black Wolves Players, members of The Howlers dance team, and the Black Wolves mascot, Hunter
Noon – Movie: Secret Life of Pets
1:30pm – 4:00pm – Face painting and balloon twisting by Faces By Lonnie
2:00pm – Cupcake Decorating with Mohegan Sun’s Executive Pastry Chef, Lynn Mansel
4:00pm – Movie: Wonder Woman

APRIL 10TH

Hartford Yardgoats – minor league baseball

11:00am – Noon – Hartford Yard Goats mascot appearance and photo station
Noon – Movie: Coco
1:30pm – 4:00pm – Face painting and balloon twisting by Faces By Lonnie
2:00pm – Cupcake Decorating with Mohegan Sun’s Executive Pastry Chef, Lynn Mansel
4:00pm – Movie: Thor: Ragnarok


 

APRIL 16TH & APRIL 17TH

All Day Activities | 11:00am to 7:00pm

  • Cyber Quest Activities: – Arcade Racers, Sensory Play Area with Slime, and Arts & Crafts
  • Manicures and basic hairstyles – by Paul Mitchell The School North Haven
  • NASKART Information and prizes with an appearance by mascot, Eli Trick
  • Discounted Arena concessions will be available on both days:
    Hot dogs $2
    Ice cream $2
    Popcorn $1
    Pretzels $1
    Nachos $1
    Fountain soda/juices/water $1

APRIL 16TH

Noon – Movie: Secret Life of Pets
1:30pm – 4:00pm – Face painting and balloon twisting by Faces By Lonnie
2:00pm – Cupcake Decorating with Mohegan Sun’s – Executive Pastry Chef, Lynn Mansel

Chiney Ogwumike of the WNBA CT Sun

3:00pm – 4:00pm – Connecticut Sun Basketball Clinic – with appearances by Connecticut Sun Players, members of The Solar Power dance team, and the Connecticut Sun mascot, Blaze
4:00pm – Movie: Wonder Woman

APRIL 17TH

11:00am – Noon – Hartford Yard Goats, mascot appearance and photo station
Noon – Movie: Coco
1:30pm – 4:00pm – Face painting and balloon twisting by Faces By Lonnie
2:00pm – Cupcake Decorating with Mohegan Sun’s Executive Pastry Chef, Lynn Mansel
4:00pm – Movie: Thor: Ragnarok
For additional questions please contact Kensey Marsland
kmarsland@mohegansun.com 860.862.4526.
Tomorrow we take a look at Kids Week at Foxwoods.
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Sol Toro at Mohegan Sun Renovated – a Dining Review

The new Sol Toro entrance

One month ago, a favorite restaurant at Mohegan Sun – “Sol Toro” – had a facelift.  Renovations were quick. When all three of us at NETG visited, not only were we surprised at at what we saw, we liked what we saw and loved what we tasted.

The Renovations

The formerly dark and somewhat gloomy interior has been renovated. Gone are the front grills in the entry, and the dark wood that consumed the interior of the restaurant. New paint, new lighter scaled furniture, and better lighting have transformed this space into a most welcoming space. Brightly colored chairs and light wood table tops make the space shade inviting. Design changes include an expanded bar and lounge area for socializing while sipping margaritas or trying one of their 285 tequilas.

Tons of Tequila at SolToro, Mohegan Sun

Menu Changes

According toHotelmanagement.net, SolToro’s menu of Mexican classics with a modern twist will also get an upgrade. New dishes from” culinary director Chip Miller will include Queso Three Ways (chili con carne, roasted corn & bean, chipotle bacon); Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with tomato broth and roasted poblanos; and carne asada of marinated prime NY strip, served with cheese enchiladas, charred onions and zesty chimichurri sauce.”  A staple of their previous menu, table side guacamole, is still available mild, medium, and spicy, and is not to be missed.

Our Experience

Delicious tacos at Solo Toro Tequila Grill

We passed on drinks, expecting libations at the New England Black Wolves Pro Lacrosse game.  Three of us ordered the tacos.  My BAJA FISH Tacos were the best fish tacos I ever had.  Slightly seasoned with lime scented cabbage, the ancho tartare added heat to the mahi.  The tacos shells stayed nice and firm and were absolutely delicious.  Others in our party had the ADOBO PORK Tacos, which included cilantro jicama slaw, grilled pineapple, and a jalapeño ranch sauce, which were also outstanding.  Miguel had the CHICKEN BURRITO with cheese, rice and beans a step above the usual Mexican sides.  We all agreed we would return and try some of their more exotic entrees like their ROASTED DUCK and STEAK tacos, as well as their tableside Guac.

Recommended

The new lighter look of the bar area.

Solo Toro, part of the Michael Jordan’s group of restaurants at Mohegan Sun, continues to be a good dining experience, and now with the new bright ambience, it’s now a great dining experience.

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Connecticut Casino Expansion Intensifies

 

MGM  Bridgeport rendering top. Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes for East Windsor, CT. below.

To add a casino or not add a casino? – That is NOT the question. To add two casinos? – Now that’s the question!

To get the prequel for this post, click on the the post “Wynn, MGM, Bridgeport & MMCT – Questions Abound.”  

The battle at the border between MGM Springfield and the MMCT joint casino venture by the Mohegan & Pequot tribes is going on three years now. But events in March took the conflict to a new height. Highlights?  Sure, there are plenty:

  • CT Attorney General George Jepsen advised legislators on Thursday to consider and test the market for opening Connecticut to commercial casinos, believing that commercial casinos would not jeopardize the $160 million in slots revenue that the state expects to collect in 2018 from the exclusivity deal signed with tribal owners Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owners of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.

    Attorney General Jepson

  • According to MGM, Connecticut left tons of money on the table by accepting the first casino proposal that came their way. MGM has argued for the past year that the casino proposal process should be open to commercial interests. MGM would also pick a different location – Bridgeport, which is further from the MGM Springfield than East Windsor.
  • MGM wants to build a casino and hotel on the Bridgeport waterfront – the only place MGM is interested in. A bill to support this was in jeopardy after committee leadership refused to hold a vote on it, but it was passed with one major change – Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will still be allowed to develop their own casino in East Windsor, CT, minutes from the Massachusetts border and from MGM Springfield. Due to the change in the billMGM isn’t so so sure it’s interested if the MMCT casino in East Windsor is allowed to be built.

    Connecticut State Capitol

  • Then, Connecticut lawmakers approved a revised bill that could pave the way for the construction of the state’s fourth casino. The piece of legislation nearly died in the General Assembly’s Public Safety and Security Committee, but last-ditch efforts from lawmakers supporting the idea helped it survive with a 21-3 vote in favor. If approved in the Legislature, the bill would allow for the opening of a new bidding process for operators interested in building a casino in Connecticut. In case the proposed commercial casino bill reaches the desk of Governor Dannel Malloy and he signs it into law, the state of Connecticut would then subsequently allow the local Indian tribes, casino developers, and other qualified entities to submit their respective proposals for establishing the fourth legally authorized gaming venue in the state.

You can’t make this stuff up!  At any given time, either side sound like adolescents not getting their way, only this is different – there’s a lot of money at stake!

Remember to go to TravelZork to see our monthly post, as well as all of their great coverage of  travel, Vegas & casino resources on the web.

CT Should Try the “Massachusetts Model for Casino Expansion”

In a previous post, I suggested what was, at the time, a rediculous suggestion on casino expansion in CT.  It was based on how things eventually turned out in Massachusetts.  But it doesn’t seem so far fetched now.  Matter of fact, the latest CT legislature bill resembles my silly suggestion. Let’s call it the “Massachusetts Model for Casino Expansion.”  This is what I suggested a year ago:

  1. Set up a process for  accepting license applications similar to Massachusetts.
  2. Begin the bidding process for both the Bridgeport casino & East Windsor Casino in the mix.  We’ll call them the Southwest license and the Nithern license.
  3. This will stop the 25% guarantee on slots to the state from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, but later on, (hopefully) this will not be a problem due to two new casinos.
  4. Allow MMCT to bid for East Windsor & Bridgeport, as well as anyone else, such as MGM, CET, & Boyd. MGM couldn’t bid even if it wanted to on East Windsor because its Massachusetts license has a radius restriction on building new casinos nearby……there are few commercial operators willing to launch a casino between the new MGM Springfield and the tribes’ big destination casinos on the reservations, especially if it also meant matching the state’s revenue from those tribal casinos. So, because MMCT would be considered a company interested in a commercial casino in East Windsor, it would have to cover the new fee together (25% of table games & slot revenue.)
  5. If chosen, Mohegan & Pequot tribes would stop their deposit to the state coffers, but would now cover 25% of slots and table games at the East Windsor site.  If they decide they aren’t interested, someone (but not MGM) will build a casino in northern CT, at the same 25% slots and table game status. (remember, the previous pact with the tribes covered 25% of only slot revenue)
  6. Meanwhile, all applications, similar to Massachusetts, will be accompanied by stringent background checks and $500,000 application fee (higher due to the inflation of 6 years).  Eight companies were interested for the Springfield and Boston region casinos.  An application fee of $400,000 immediately brought in over $3 million dollars in revenue before the process had begun!
  7. In the end, it seemed obvious to me that the MGC were leaning towards Wynn & MGM. I’m not suggesting the process be skewed toward our tribal casinos, but am established working relationship should go a long way compared to unknown relationships with commercial casino companies.
  8. The need for a casino in Bridgeport could change or be voted down. A south-western CT casino could eventually be a moot point, if CT decides it doesn’t want it any more. In Mass, Brockton & Rush Gaming were held hostage until the MGC dropped the Region C license due to the litigation troubles the Mashpee Wampanoags were going through.
  9. In the end, the two tribal casinos would be still standing alone, only the state of CT would have made extra revenue on the process.

So much for daydreaming.  Next, I’ll dream about 99% video poker and 2/1 Blackjack as the expectation for the future.

Thats all for now.

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