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

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.

Binbin

MGM Winning the Battle in CT by Outspending the Rest

Hold The Demolition!

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations were set to begin work on dismantling the abandoned Showcase Cinamas in East Windsor where the joint venture of MMCT were to build a casino. Let’s face it, it was intended to be a quick reaction to save jobs and revenue going over the border to Springfield .

MGM Resorts International continues to throw any resistance they can, raising its own bet for Connecticut’s lucrative gambling dollars. In case you missed it, in the last few years MGM has:

  • flooded the towns considered for the MMCT third casino venture with propaganda to promote disinterest
  • stirred the pot by inciting other CT tribes to “get their piece of the pie,”
  • made CT legislators consider other processes for gaming in the Nutmeg State
  • studied and suggested Bridgeport as the best place for a new casino (away from Springfield)

    Bridgeport, CT – MGM casino quest

  • continues litigation with the state of CT concerning the casino addition
  • slowed the third casino process to a crawl, getting ahead with their project in Springfield while
  • continuing to move forward steadily in building MGM Springfield
  • and even has CT politicians & residents alike thinking that no additional casino is the best scenario

With an offer for a Bridgeport casino and fierce opposition to the East Windsor site within 17 miles of the $900 million MGM casino nearing completion in Springfield, Mass., there is as much as $20 million a month in Connecticut gambling revenue at stake.

Ken Dixon of the CT Post reported the following actions as MGM raised the ante last year:

  • Spending more than $3.8 million in TV and radio ads and lobbying state agencies and lawmakers, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen, a Hearst Connecticut Media review of public records in the Office of State Ethics has found. (The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegans’ joint venture spent less than $1.2 million.)
  • MGM hired a Washington lobbyist to focus on the Department of the Interior and the White House, paying Ballard Partners $270,000.
  • Lobbying total comparisons: MGM Resorts International $3.8 million, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods $77,850, MMCT Venture, (East Windsor tribal casino) $1.2 million, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent $158,194 (when MGM backed an effort to get the tribe recognized and allowed a competing casino)
  • MGM Resorts International’s growing investment in Connecticut lobbying – 2015 — $172,937  2016 — $1,224,440, 2017 — $3.8 million

“It’s par for the course,” said Andrew Doba, spokesman for the two tribes. “MGM has shown, month after month, year after year, that they are willing to spend ungodly amounts of money to prevent Connecticut from taking the logical and necessary steps to protecting jobs and revenue.”

Connecticut State Capitol

Recently, Kenneth Gosselin if the Hartford Courant reported the introduction of a bill that would open casino expansion in Connecticut to competitive bidding calls for scrapping plans for a casino in East Windsor. The bill requires that proposals include a workforce of at least 2,000 and an agreement to give the state at least 25 percent of gross gaming revenues from all games, plus at least 10 percent from slot machines. The pact with CT’s two tribal casinos now in action insures 25% of all slot revenue.

What would the New bill entail?

  1. Bids are due by Jan. 1.
  2. The proposals also must show the bidders are able to pay a one-time $50 million licensing fee to the state.
  3. The legislature’s public safety and security committee, which oversees gaming, will hold a public hearing on the bill on March 8.

The legislative committee will take a broader look at the future of gaming in the state, including sports betting, in an informational forum.

Last February I wrote that there were three future possibilities in Connecticut concerning casino expansion:

“At this time, here are the possibilities:

  1. No Casino – yes, that’s right.  In a quick Twitter poll on our NETimeGambling Twitter site, 60% responded to no casino, 20% for Bridgeport, and 20% for the Hartford area.
  2. MMCT gets their casino, the mess continues, but to no avail.
  3. All Hell Breaks Lose! – the process is revisited, commercial casinos apply for two licenses, and I’ll be writing about it well into 2020.”

Well, here we are a year later. I guess not much has changed, except for one thing – MGM is winning the battle in CT.  Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods should start thinking about other possibilities to compete for the gambler’s dollar.

 

 

Wynn, MGM, Bridgeport & MMCT – Questions Abound

Over the last few days, news reports have made my mind spin.  While so many headlines have come from different angles, they all seem related to NETimeGambling interests.  Our coverage of New England Casinos news this week has noticeably been missing, but not on purpose. You see, we could report all the news that you have read about already, but it’s too early for comprehensive coverage. The past week’s headlines could actually turn the entire southern New England gambling landscape upside down. Covering this takes careful perspective and consideration.

However, it hasn’t stopped me from thinking about all of it – past, present, and future. Random thoughts running rampant.  Now, I need to share before my head bursts.

Billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn steps down as chairman and CEO of Wynn resorts, amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.

Steve Wynn with his rendition of Wynn Boston Harbor

It’s sad to think that these allegations go back so many years. The “good old boys” network of covering for each other in entertainment and political fields is now being uncovered in the casino industry.

  • Will it stop the casino in Boston Harbor from still built and becoming the jewel of New England’s casino landscape?  Emphatically “No!”
  • Will the Massachusetts Gaming Commission take the charge and investigate the lies Steve-o made to Cosby and the MGC?  If they have any integrity they will – something that was questionable in the way the license was handled in the first place.
  • By the way, the state Gaming Commission said the omission of mentioning the $7.5 million settlement paid to a woman by Wynn in 2005 in the gaming license application is “critical” to the commission’s review and decision whether or not to approve. How should Mohegan Sun feel about such an unfair process of choosing Wynn over their Revere casino application.

Future Of Proposed East Windsor Casino In Doubt

Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

The fed’s delay, influenced by MGM adding itself to the MMCT lawsuit defense, has seemingly turned the tables on the Pequot and Mohegan joint casino in East Windsor. The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs had 45 days to approve or deny the changes to Connecticut’s gaming compact with the tribes. But, recently, the Trump administration advanced an interesting argument that may even cause the extinction of the East Windsor Casino project even as demolition is scheduled for the casino site. In a motion filed on Monday, government attorneys called for the removal of the Pequots from the case. They contend the tribe’s new casino deal is not subject to “mandatory deadlines — or any deadlines at all” at the federal level, all of which proves true and stops the tribe of Foxwoods fame to be deleted from the MMCT suit.

  • My first response was MGM will do anything to protect its MGMSpringfield project.  It shows me that rumors of questionable success and an unsure feeling about MGM does exist. If you were sure the product you were peddling was so great, why try to kill off all competition?
  • How could Foxwoods not see this coming? Not realizing this snafu was serious enough to put the 3rd casino project in jeopardy could start tribal hostilities between the two tribes once again – dating back to 1637 when the Mohegan’s were originally part of the Pequot tribe, but gradually became independent and allied with English colonists in the Pequot War.

Revoke East Windsor license and set up competition in Bridgeport?

Supporters of a casino in Bridgeport rolled out a bill this week, to revoke the East Windsor license granted last year and replace it with a competition for proposals for a single casino costing at least $500 million. The bill calls for bids by Jan. 1, which would have to include a deal with a city or town, complete with a referendum, anyplace in Connecticut.

Distance from Bridgeport to Resorts World, less than 60 miles away.

  • Why Bridgeport?  Well, before the tribal pacts were made Mohegan and Pequot Tribes, Wynn and Trump saw Bridgeport as a perfect site with proximity to the Big Apple. But, then Governor Weicker made the agreement with the tribes for sole gambling rights. Trump, Wynn, and Bridgeport probably still haven’t forgiven the state of CT.
  • Why Bridgeport?  Because MGM, who has found a new city for financial promises, can’t build a casino anywhere in CT that is within a 90 mile radius of Springfield, according to their licensing agreement.
  • Why Bridgeport? It will open up a bidding war for the first commercial casino in the Nutmeg State, with developers required to meet specific requirements, including: A minimum of 2,000 people to be directly employed at the facility, $500 million minimum total investment for Commercial Casino Gaming Facility, $50 million nonrefundable license fee due before construction, 25% of the annual gross gaming revenue on both Slots and Tables, and additional 10 percent of the annual gross gaming revenue from the operation of video slot machine games to fund Educational Cost Sharing grants for distribution to municipalities.
  • Guess what – NETG suggested rebidding 2 years ago.  Only it was to add more money to the state coffers like Massachusetts did – all those application fees add up!  Then, turn around and do what you want anyway. Ask Rush Gaming and CET Gaming how The MGC choices stack up in their eyes.

MGM is quite the instigator!

Casino.org says, “Although Connecticut’s two tribal operators believe it’s part of a very elaborate bluff, an artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino, which the gaming operator says will bring 2,000 permanent jobs and a tax revenue stream of $316 million per year, has been created and presented to the state’s power brokers. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

It all began with CT’s reaction to MGM Springfield. MGM was not happy that Connecticut would acquiesce to their competition. Lobbyists infiltrated the MMCT process in choosing a site, and continued to lobby against it when East Windsor was chosen. Then another tactic – trying to get the Schaghticokes tribe federal and state recognition. That didn’t happen, so it was on to  Bridgeport.  I guess MGM is seen as the Golden Ticket to needy groups and cities.

MGM sure has a lot of money to stop CT’s “slot-box.”

Yep, that’s what they called it, even though it will be close in size, casino area, and gambling offered – with a full casino, unlike Plainridge Park in Plainville Massachusetts. MGM could stand for “Money Gone Mad” if referring to expenditures to battle the MMCT venture. Check this out:

  • MGM spent more than $3.8 million in TV and radio ads and lobbying state agencies and lawmakers, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegans’ joint venture spent less than $1.2 million.
  • MGM hired a Washington lobbyist to focus on the Department of the Interior and the White House, paying Ballard Partners $270,000.
  • Lobbying totals: Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods $77,850; MGM Resorts International $3.8 million; MMCT Venture, (East Windsor tribal casino) $1.2 million; Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority $178,702; Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent $158,194
  • MGM Resorts International’s growing investment in Connecticut lobbying; 2015 — $172,937; 2016 — $1,224,440; 2017 — $3.8 million  *Source: Office of State Ethics

What will Southern New England’s gaming look like by 2020?

Your guess is as good as mine. Questions abound:

  • Could we see one or two commercial casinos rise up in Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford?
  • How many will be operated by MGM?
  • Will Caesars Entertainment make an appearance in CT?
  • Will CT’s tribes extend to Bridgeport? East Windsor?

Too many questions.  Now my head really hurts.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…………we all will.

Binbin

 

 

Valentines Day Specials at MA, ME & RI Casinos

February is for Lovers.  Here is Part 2 of all the opportunities for you and that special someone in Massachusetts, Maine & Rhode Island

Valentine’s Day At Plainridge Park Casino Plainville, MA.

FEEL THE LOVE FREEPLAY – 6PM-10PM – Win your share of $65,000 Free SlotPlay Saturday, February 3,10,17 from 6pm-10pm. 5 winners every hour can win up to $2,000 Free SlotPlay. Prizes valid for Free SlotPlay only, must be playing on Marquee Rewards card to be eligible.

RUSSELL STOVER GIVEAWAY – 11AM-4PM – Earn 500 points on Sunday, February 11th on your Marquee Rewards card the same day of the promotion to claim a box of Russell Stover Chocolates. May vary from picture. While supplies last. One per account.

Slack’s Oyster House & Grill FEBRUARY 14, 2018 DINNER SPECIALS FROM 5PM-10PM – Choose from a Prix Fixe Menu, $50 PP Complimentary glass of Roederer Estate Sparkling wine.  Click HERE for the MENU.


Valentine’s Day At Hollywood Hotel, Casino & Raceway, Bangor, ME

SWEETHEARTS’ GAMING PACKAGE – includes deluxe room accommodations for two, a bottle of champagne, a half dozen fresh roses, chocolate covered strawberries and an Epic Buffet dinner for two. Packages start at $271 per night. Package available Friday and Saturday night only.


Valentine’s Day At Oxford Casino, Oxford, ME

Valentine’s Buffet, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – 5:00pm – 9:30pm; $32.95 per person – Featuring carved prime rib, lobster tail, peel and eat shrimp, and decadent desserts. Limited space available. Reservations recommended. Call 207-539-6705.


Valentine’s Day At Twin River Casino, Lincoln, RI

Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse February 14th –  SWEETHEART SPECIALS MENU

Wicked Good Bar & Grill February 14th – VALENTINE’S DAY MENU

Shipyard Brewpub at Twin River February 14th – VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIALS

 

MGM Springfield Shows Progress & Promise

MGM Springfield area

MGM has opened its first building in Springfield for its $1 billion casino & resort. About 50 employees moved into the casino’s new administrative office this week. The building will eventually house some 300 corporate and human resource workers, as well as a training school for prospective casino workers.

This prompted us at NETG to check the progress in Springfield. How has the process been going?

MGM International and Jim Murren, CEO, could not be happier. Even MGM’s stall tactics with the MMCT Mohegan/Pequot Casino and the creative distraction of a Bridgeport, CT casino can’t take away from the process success in Springfield.  MGM builds resorts, and does it well.

The “Casino Lab”

MGM Casino Lab

Steve Urbon, from SouthCoastToday, reported in August on the place that includes “a wildly colorful carpet and low, indirect lighting with spotlights on the four felt-topped blackjack tables, two poker tables, custom chips, craps table, and roulette wheel…..hands-on training for table games, for both players and the casino dealers. It is designed to be completely realistic” The room is part of Bristol Community College’s CATCH Institute and is the first and only school in the state to win the Gaming Commission’s Gaming School Certificate and is located at the Taunton campus inside the Silver City Galleria Mall.

Recently, it was reported that MGM Springfield and the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute will provide details on how to register and enroll in classes to train for such games as blackjack, poker, roulette and mini-baccarat. MGM expects to hire 450 table-game dealers, with hiring expected to begin this summer. See Kenneth R. Gosselin‘s report MGM Springfield: Wanted Table-Game Dealers for more details and if you’re interested in becoming a dealer.

PlayMyWay

Programs such as PlayMyWay focus on problem gambling prevention and customer protection practices. Its intention is to help players make decisions about gambling, allow them to monitor and understand their playing behavior in real time, and support their decisions. At this time, the PlayMyWay program is only at Massachusetts’s only open casino, Plainridge Park Casino and seems to be working well. Even though the program is not mandatory by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the other two casinos, MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor (opening in fall of 2019), Michael Mathis, president and COO of MGM Springfield, and Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, the commission voted 5-0 to allow both casinos to implement PlayMyWay as a voluntary program. Mathis was quoted as saying “MGM believes that a voluntary operator driven approach to play management will achieve the commission’s and operators’ shared goals of a best in class responsible gaming framework,”

Diversity for Springfield

MGM is committed to create a diverse workforce at it’s Massachusetts casino. According to Peter Goonan at MassLive “Mathis said he is proud to say that out of 16 department heads hired, more than half are minorities and/or women. MGM Springfield has set goals for diversity hiring in its formal agreements with the Gaming Commission and the city of Springfield.” In addition, “the hiring of minorities for the casino project was listed as 22.2 percent as of Sept. 30, 2017, as compared with the project goal of 15.3 percent, according to MGM Springfield. The hiring of women was 9.25 percent as compared with the project goal of 6.9 percent, and the hiring of veterans was listed at 10.16 percent as compared with the goal of 8 percent.”

Casino On Schedule

MGM Springfield Interior Lobby, courtesy Jim Kinney | jkinney@repub.com

Also covered by Mr. Goonan in a December post how impressed the MGC and Chairman Steve Crosby was with MGM’s plans. Commission members agreed that photographs of the work site, comparing last year to this year, showed dramatic change. They were also impressed with a report about the hotel that is under construction on site, including an interior view of what the hotel rooms will look like, with Crosby saying the view was “really cool.” MGM is taking a new path in its hotel design, giving a touch of Springfield & New England in its decor and design. For a gallery of photos from MassLive courtesy of Jim Kinney from the Springfield Republic, CLICK HERE.

MGM joins Cambridge College

Cambridge College and MGM are launching the Commonwealth’s first ever Hospitality pre-apprentice program in greater Springfield. Hospitality careers include event planners, travel agents, hotel staff and food service. MGM Springfield and other local organizations will help prepare the workforce for these high demand positions. The program consists of four weeks of classes to help students prepare for entry-level jobs in the field. This is must needed help for a city struggling with unemployment.  While having a modest decrease in unemployment rate, it is still close to double that of the Massachusetts average.  Covered by WesternMassNews “[MGM Springfield] is going to have approximately 2,200 of the 3,000 jobs as full-time positions.”

Anticipation is Building

I too am getting caught up in the excitement of the addition of another casino/resort in New England. This one looks to be like no other in New England and the country.

For a great encapsulation of MGM Springfield, please visit Steve Ruddock’s recent post:

MGM SPRINGFIELD TAKING A PAGE OUT OF THE PATRIOTS’ PLAYBOOK

Go MGM Springfield, and Go Patriots!

Binbin

 

New England Casinos – 5 Top Stories of 2017

2017 was the year that we finally started to see the future of casino gaming in the northeast. Pennsylvania is adding more casinos. New York will complete it’s 24th casino with Resorts World Catskills in 2018. Atlantic City is showing signs of recovery with the addition of Hard Rock Casino in the former Trump Taj – and just maybe Revel will be bought, renovated and opened. And, New Jersey continues to lead the fight in the world of online gaming legislature and country-wide sports betting.

In New England, things have certainly ramped up. Only one word comes to my mind when someone mentions casinos in New England – Expansion. Expansion in Massachusetts with two new casinos by 2019, expansion in Rhode Island with a new hotel and casino in Tiverton, new expansion in Connecticut, however, at this time we still don’t know exactly how much.

So, here’s a look back at 2017 in New England – casino style.

1. MGM SPRINGFIELD

The City of Springfield, MA is preparing for a renaissance in jobs, revenue and entertainment with the opening of MGM Springfield. It’s going to be a different brick-and-mortar casino than previous MGM projects. It could be the single most important project in Springfield history, raising the Rose City up from the ashes.

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance, Main Street to the left,

 

MGM Springfield – What City Improvements Can We Really Expect?

MGM Springfield – An “Urban” Casino

MGM Springfield Releases New Details with Local Flavor

MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

 

2. MOHEGAN SUN CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY AND EXPAND

 

Kathleen McWilliams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant, reported the Mohegan Tribe’s plan for the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston CT, (just across the river from the casino), would be made into a dozen amenities, including an indoor water park, a senior living center and a sports complex. This huge plan also includes include outdoor and indoor entertainment attractions, a large performing venue, time share units, retail, an RV park and marina. The plan includes restaurant space, a convenience store and gas station. A large project such as this is completely opposite from the trend in casino projects in size and dynamics. Not essentially connected to the casino part of the Tribe’s operations, it will be an overwhelming list for the town of Preston, CT.  In addition, on the casino campus, Mohegan Sun is again expending, this time in conference space.

Mohegan Expo Center, with Earth Hotel upper left.

 

Mohegan Sun News – Plans for Norwich Hospital Site and Mohegan Expo Center

3. FOXWOODS 25th ANNIVERSARY

Foxwoods celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary.  For 25 years, starting with a small bingo hall and the help of then Governor Weicker, Foxwoods has continued to be a country-wide phenomena. It is the largest casino property by square feet, it is the second largest casino area, and it includes the only covered, indoor Tanger outlet in the country. Gaming renovations have included two stadium gaming areas, offering $1 blackjack (3/2), and the continuation of one of the best poker rooms in the country. A more comprehensive move towards non-gaming amenities have included the addition of thrill rides, a zip line and race track for 2018, new restaurants, and additional night-club options. The celebration has gone on most of the year, with many giveaways and events. Here is coverage of New England’s first casino in 2017.

Foxwoods 25th Anniversary – Part 1- The Path To The Top

Foxwoods 25th Anniversary – Part 2 – The Celebration

4. MAINE’S THIRD CASINO PROPOSAL FAILS

Once again, Maine had supporters for a third casino in York County.  Once again, it was defeated. Maybe it was the fact that it seemed like a legislative scam, or that the backers could not be trusted. It started in February and continued along a sleazy path until it’s defeat in November.

Maine’s Third Casino – The Ultimate Scam Allowed by No Legislative Policy

Today’s the Day – The Vote for a Third Maine Casino

5. MGM / CT – THE BATTLE GOES ON

Shall we really re-kindle all of the MGM vs. MMCT news?  Well, it did monopolize much of the gaming news in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.  I guess I have to compare it to our country’s political climate – just nasty. Then there is the possibility (little to none) of a Bridgeport Casino by MGM?  or  MMCT?  or anyone else – as long as the CT agreement with the Pequots & Mohegans  is nullified. Whoo-wee, here are the top posts concerning the I-91 Battle of the Border.

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

East Windsor is Chosen By MMCT for CT Casino

MGM, Massachusetts, Provide Answers to Connecticut’s Casino Mess

MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

Casino.org says, “Although Connecticut’s two tribal operators believe it’s part of a very elaborate bluff, an artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino, which the gaming operator says will bring 2,000 permanent jobs and a tax revenue stream of $316 million per year, has been created and presented to the state’s power brokers. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles

Other news included:

New Hampshire once again considered a casino, and looked into internet gaming, but nothing has yet to come of it.

Twin River Management Group finally made its plans for Rhode Island.  After Tiverton’s approval of a new TRMG Casino/Hotel in it’s town, and after they had already purchased Newport Grand, TRMG will move it’s Newport operastion to Tiverton.  They will also build a hotel at it’s flagship property in Lincoln, RI.

New England Casinos will be Increasing the number of casino Hotel Rooms By Over 30% by 2019.

Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway, a slots-only casino, continued to make progress in attracting guests and increasing revenue.

MGM Springfield is ahead of schedule for its 2018 opening. 2017 showed major progress in Springfield’s best hope for economic success.

Wynn Boston Harbor broke ground and in progressing towards a 2019 opening with great anticipation throughout the region.

Oxford Casino in Oxford Maine, finished their hotel on the premises and added another dining option – the Ox Pub.

WOW, WHAT A YEAR!

Living in such a small part of the country with such a vibrant casino industry that is gettiing on it’s feet again after the 2007 recession certainly makes my job easy.  Next year? – more expansion, more excitement, and more bickering from the Connecticut shoreline to downeast Maine.  Happy New Year everybody.

7 New England Casinos by the Numbers

NewEnglandFINALEver ask the questions:

Which New England Casino has the largest casino?

What tables games are offered at X, Y, & Z casinos?

How many dining facilities are there at “such-and-such” casino?

Does “such-and-such” casino have non-smoking areas? Where are they?

These and more answers to your questions about New England Casinos are now at your finger tips.  One click and a link to your favorite New England Casino(s) will give you the numbers of whatever you’re looking for.
Hotel, Gambling, Dining, Entertainment and Retail Facts of All New England Casinos are provided here to answer questions pertaining to all seven casinos.
Click on each Link below to see the statistics of each casino, or click on the summary of all seven for an instant comparison.

Connecticut Casino Facts (Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods)

Rhode Island Casino Facts (Twin River & Newport Grand)

Massachusetts Casino Stats (Plainridge Park)

Maine Casino Facts (Oxford & Hollywood Bangor)

All NE Casino Facts

As in all pages of information such as this, numbers may vary slightly or even change as time passes.

Your help is needed!  If you find added table games, dining info, or changes of any kind in any of this information, say hello and send us a comment.  Let us know!

Your NETG Staff – Bin, Miguel, & Bert.

MGM Springfield Releases New Details with Local Flavor

Main Street, Red Rose Pizza in the far left corner. In between is Howard Street to the Cinema, Bowling, and Event area

A very positive article was published by Jim Kinney in MassLive, concerning local interests represented by MGM Springfield. It seems MGM has some very keen interest in our unique New England heritage.

Part of the original plan was to include a bowling alley. Today’s post mentioned it’s not just bowling lanes, but something dear to New England’s keglers – candle pin bowling.

Candle pin bowling uses three small bowling balls, with none of the “dead wood” removed. A score of 120 is equal to 180 in ten-pin.

Most people outside of New England have never bowled candle pins, or even knew they existed! According to Mr. Kinney’s post, Alex Dixon, general manager of MGM, was quoted saying, “If it’s what your local community wants, it just doesn’t make sense not to include those things.” Bravo, someone is listening.

Preserving and uplifting the city is a crucial part in the casino’s presence. A movie theater and ice skating rink is also planned, and what is more winter fun in New England than ice skating.

The French Congregational Church.

For historic preservation, MGM Springfield even moved the French Congregational Church, known since 1919 as the First Spiritualist Church, is a historic High Victorian Gothic structure that sat on the complex site.

Other points of interest include:

  • “MGM hopes to open the first through the eighth floor of 95 State St. for its offices in January. This will be the first permanent space MGM will occupy at the site”
  • “The ninth through 11th floors will be the site of MGM Springfield’s table games school for dealers run cooperatively with Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College”
  • “Al Griggs, vice chairman of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, asked about having locally grown foods at MGM. Dixon said yes, that’s the plan, saying that incorporating locally grown food not only helps farmers but it improves quality in the restaurants and helps MGM meet its environmental sustainability goals.”

MGM has vowed to consider Springfield’s history and architecture in building this casino / resort.  Along with keeping that promise, they are looking for those things that makes it different from previous ventures over the years – the feel of New England.

 

BinBin

5 Cases Against Skewed Plainridge Park Survey

Recently, an article was circulated by many touting that “Plainridge Park Casino had ‘recaptured’ $100 million in gambling revenue from Massachusetts customers who had been going to out-of-state casinos.”

Wow! That’s monumental!……..if it were believable.

Numbers are deceiving. Surveys should not be assessed on terms of small captive sample sizes and numbers that dictate questionable generalities beyond the realm of possibility. As we see on the news, and in the paper, a survey could prove just about anything and is used to bolster one side’s thoughts against the other.  Numbers can be used to lie, or at least exaggerate a point. So is the case with this latest survey.

Please Note – NETimeGambling loves Plainridge Park Casino. It’s machines are up-to-date, it’s clean, it’s smoke-less, and the staff seems friendly and hospitable. This isn’t about the casino, it’s about the misleading survey.

Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby said the survey showed that the casino law was achieving its prime goal of having Massachusetts customers spend their money in state rather than going to Rhode Island or Connecticut.  So, let’s look at the survey results:

WHO CONDUCTED THE SURVEY?

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who are conducting a multi-year, comprehensive study known as the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) conducted this data.  They presented it to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

CASE #1

“Nearly 90 percent of PPC patrons had visited casinos in other states in the year before PPC opened, with the majority, 72.3 percent, having visited casinos in Connecticut and 55.9 percent in Rhode Island. The majority of PPC patrons were from Massachusetts, with 11.4 percent from Plainville or nearby towns and another 66.5 percent from other Massachusetts communities. Overall, 19.2 percent of patrons were from outside the Commonwealth.”  

NETG – Studies such as this that include stats about gamblers, but not important information about gambler’s bankrolls, amount of betting, and length of sessions.  Consider this statement, “19.2 percent of patrons were from outside the Commonwealth.”  By itself, it seems great.  But realistically, most gamblers frequent multiple casinos, especially aware gamblers. So, 1 of every 5 were from another state.  That could mean one car each from CT, RI and Maine for every 15 Massachusetts patrons. (That would mean 1 out of 15 cars from CT, or only 6% from CT – see how numbers can lie!), Is this really significant?  Gamblers travel – it’s a given. A similar survey should be done at Twin River, Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun for an accurate comparison.  Unless the results were skewed in favor of MA, it’s a moot point.  I wonder what a similar survey to turn up with cars from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New York and New Jersey at the Connecticut Tribal casinos.  Lump all those states together, and I estimate you would find a higher percentage of patrons outside the Nutmeg State.

CASE #2

“Recaptured” patrons are Massachusetts residents who would have spent their money at an out-of-state casino and “reallocated” patrons are Massachusetts residents who would have spent their money on other goods and services in the state had PPC not opened. The research team estimates that over half of all gambling, 58.3 percent, and non-gambling, 50.4 percent, spending by Massachusetts patrons at PPC is “recaptured.”

NETG – So let me get this straight. Plainridge Park has “recaptured” over half of all gambling from other states by asking certain patrons, the majority from Massachusetts (remember the numbers for CASE #1) if they spent money on gambling that they never spent on gambling before?  How is that “recaptured? – they never gambled before! 

CASE #3

The general adult Massachusetts population, Plainridge patrons are “older, somewhat more likely to be white, more likely to have higher education and an annual household income between $50,000 and $100,000.”

Plainridge Casino Floor

Plainridge Casino Patrons

NETG – I could have told you that without the survey. Older patrons with travel to closer casinos, especially with slots – that’s a demographic you will find across the country. The race and household income represents the town of Plainville. This should not be revelations to the recapturing of funds – it’s the effect of a “locals” casino, unlike a destination casino teasing away patrons from other states for it’s shows, dining, or shopping.

CASE #4 –

Rhode Island’s Twin River Casino, said two years ago that their expected revenue dip would be about 10 percent when Massachusetts opened its first slots parlor. Instead, it has seen only 5% dip.

Twin River Casino

NETG – Will the MGC admit changes in their findings at Plainridge when Tiverton opens in 2019 and the pendulum swings back?  How about those who frequent Plainridge Park changing their minds and going to MGM Springfield?  Will Plainridge, without table games continue to withstand competition from Twin River, Tiverton, and the biggie – Wynn Boston Harbor?  Surely it will, but it shouldn’t be seen as a failure, just the process of competition.  When the dust settles in 2020 on New England’s Casino landscape, that’s when success and failure, recapturing and reallocated patrons could take a serious turn INSIDE the Commonwealth, to the detriment of Plainridge Park.

CASE #5

The majority of those (patrons surveyed), 72.3 percent, gambled at Connecticut casinos while 55.9 percent went to Rhode Island. The majority of Plainridge patrons were from Massachusetts, with 11.4 percent from Plainville or nearby towns and another 66.5 percent from other Massachusetts communities, the survey found.

NETG – Again, gamblers travel, it’s a given.  Loyalty, on the other hand, is different. The survey questions seem to benefit the answers wanted, not the questions needed. Where were these other important questions, such as:

  • Where do you most frequently gamble?
  • At which casino do you have the highest tier rating? (this would should amount gambled, time spent, and customer value to the casino)
  • Do you visit casinos for non-gambling reasons?  Entertainment? Shopping? Dining?

Finally, it is obvious so far, that more gamblers are coming out of the woodwork. Saturation is still a concern, and the effects of 10 casinos won’t be seen for a while. 

THE FINAL POINT

Plainridge is a great property on its own merits. It will continue to build it’s loyalty, but a few visits by a small clientele does not a loyalty program make.  Plainridge Park has shown tremendous progress, but why Massachusetts has to skew their results to show certain victories in revenue only shows rhetoric and politics at its worst.

Binbin

 

 

10 Casinos in New England by 2020 – An Update

Everyone likes to speculate about the future – at least I do when it comes to the future of gaming in New England. It’s time to bring out my inner Zoltar and look ahead.

The stage has been set for the opening of full blown casino gambling expansion in New England by 2020. While there may be changes along the way – there always seem to be – the final New England Casino Portfolio should look like this:

Maine – 2 Casinos:

Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME. Owner – Penn National
Oxford Casino, Oxford ME. Owner – Churchill Downs LLC.Hampton Inn at

New Hampton Inn across the street from Oxford Casino.

The Oxford casino will see expansion with Hampton Inn on Route 26 across from the entrance and it’s own hotel and expanded dining & gaming by the summer of 2018.  The treacherous cross over RT 26 from the Hampton Inn is also getting altered for safety reasons.

Massachusetts – 3 Casinos:

Plainridge Casino (Slots only) & Raceway, Plainville, MA. Owner – Penn National
Wynn Boston Harbor, Everett, MA. Owner – Wynn Resorts

rendering of entranc at Wynn Boston Harbor

Rendering of entrance at Wynn Boston Harbor

MGM Springfield, Springfield, MA. Owner – MGM Resorts International

A possible 4th Massachusetts Casino was slated for Taunton, MA.  First Light Resort, Taunton, MA. Owner – Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal NationTribal Council. The First Light casino, hotel and entertainment complex was to be built on a 151-acre industrial park that’s part of the Cape Cod-based tribe’s recently designated federal reservation. First Light at this time is being weighted down in a lawsuit brought on by a group of Taunton residents wanting to overturn the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to declare land in trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which it plans to use to build the $500 million casino in the city. At this time, NETG believes it will not be completed any time soon. With the delay, First Light is hopelessly behind Wynn & MGM Springfield.

First Light

First Light Resort Casino, Wampanoag Tribe, Taunton May never see completion.

Rhode Island – 2 Casinos:

Twin River Casino (with expanded Hotel), Lincoln, RI. Owner – Twin River Management Group
Newport Grand, Newport, RI Closed for new Tiverton Resort, Tiverton, RI. (Move to Tiverton is expected by 2020) Owner – Twin River Management Group.

Proposed Tiverton Casino

Connecticut – 3 Tribal Casinos:

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashatucket, CT. Owner – The Mashentucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville, CT. Owner – The Mohegan Tribe of CT
MMCT Pequot & Mohegan Casino Venture, East Windsor, CT.

Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

The third casino in CT, by MMCT, is held up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs concerning a casino off tribal lands. It will be built, however.

A 4th Casino is being pushed on Bridgeport, CT by MGM.  It’s future is dim at best.

 

Zoltar is tired and I’ve run out of nickels.  Time to sit back and let the future unfold.

Binbin