As part of an update of our website, posts, pages, and links, I found an interesting post from 2013. It covered the Foxwoods and MGM joint venture. I hope you enjoy this look back sixteen years ago. Remember, this is one of our first posts as NETimeGambling. Foxwoods and MGM Joint Venture Ends – 2013
The Lion will roar no more in Connecticut – not that it really has.
Foxwoods Resort Casino is parting company with Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International. They announced the end of the licensing agreement that enabled Foxwoods to brand its second casino tower MGM Grand at Foxwoods. The “Wonder of it All” will use a six-month transition period to complete the change.
To be honest, the “lion” hasn’t really been roaring a lot in the past 6 years. Terrific entertainment in the MGM Grand Theater, a few outstanding restaurants and the club Shrine have been the highlights. The MGM property has been underwhelming. The small casino has very little personality. The fact that MGM had to go through Foxwoods’ Rewards Club also hampered their clientele. Being able to play in Vegas and spend in Foxwoods, or vice versa, would have definitely increased popularity.
It wasn’t the best time – Foxwoods and MGM Joint Venture Ends – 2013
The tribe and MGM — then known as MGM Mirage — signed the agreement in 2006. It was at a time when both were eager to pursue gaming opportunities in the Northeast. MGM Grand, built next to the tribe’s Foxwoods Resort Casino complex cost more than $700 million. It opened on May 2008, just as the effects of the Great Recession were beginning to be felt. Here in New England, many thought, as yours truly, that this was an ill-timed mistake. Many in the gaming industry felt they are recession proof. Originally, the “strategic alliance” reached between the parties in 2006 called for them to collaborate on projects off the Mashantucket reservation. Due to the economic downturn, other collaborative projects never materialized.
The community of Milford, MA defeated the Foxwoods attempt at a Massachusetts Casino.
Scott Butera, Foxwoods president and chief executive officer, said Friday’s announcement is related to an ongoing Foxwoods makeover. “We wanted to consolidate our property under the Foxwoods brand,” he said.
And then there’s Massachusetts
Both parties were “mutually agreeable” to the dissolution of the Foxwoods-MGM licensing agreement, said Clark Dumont, an MGM spokesman. He noted that MGM hopes to develop a resort casino in Springfield, Mass., less than 80 miles from Foxwoods. MGM is quite confident they will be chosen over the other CT casino’s interests in Palmer by the Mohegan Sun.
“With MGM working toward a significant presence on the East Coast, it was the opportune time to review our relationship (with Foxwoods) and dissolve the licensing agreement.” Recent attention to expansion into Maryland, Massachusetts, and even Great Britain presents a global expansion out of Nevada. It all follows MGM’s successful casino in Macau, China.
Foxwoods, is also involved in a Massachusetts casino proposal. It heads a partnership seeking a license to build a $1 billion project in the Greater Boston town of Milford. However, Foxwoods has had lots speed bumps – namely community opposition and making deadlines due to changes in planning. Against Steve Wynn for the same area license, Foxwoods is definitely the underdog.
Foxwoods has made great changes and renovations, due to Butera’s national gaming experience. Let’s hope it continues. Imagine the likes of Wynn, MGM, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in a radius of 90 miles. Competition can only be good for the consumer!
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NEW ENGLAND CASINOS PROPERTY FACT – EXPANSION
As the dust begins to settle in New England’s State legislatures, one thing is sure – there will be winners and losers as the plot plays out. In my opinion, Massachusetts is a big winner with MGM Springfield & Encore Boston Harbor anchoring the Bay State with two giant representatives of the casino/resort industry. Rhode Island casinos are winners with the addition of sports betting. Unfortunately, the revenue from sports betting hasn’t lived up to expectations, but it is improving.
The expansion has produced one major group of winners – New England’s resident gamblers. Competition between the three southern New England states has given New England residents new gambling options & conditions to choose from. Links to reward clubs such as MLife, Wynn Red Card, and the change of Penn National to Choice Rewards gives a national connection coast to coast. Promotions and entertainment offerings have also seen a greater competition, which only translates as a positive for consumers.
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New England Casino Coverage!
The dust is beginning to settle in New England’s State legislatures. As gambling continues to expand in the northeast, there are bound to be winners and losers. It’s hard to say who will be the real winners and losers in the New England Casino Expansion story. At this point, I can at least speculate, can’t I?
New England Expansion Winners
Massachusetts is a big winner with MGM Springfield & Encore Boston Harbor anchoring the Bay State. They are two of the biggest players in the casino industry.and brings lots of advantages to this young gambling market.
Rhode Island casinos are winners with the addition of sports betting. Unfortunately, the revenue from sports betting hasn’t lived up to expectations, but it is improving.
But, the New England Casino Expansion has produced one major group of winners – New England’s resident gamblers. Competition between the three southern New England states has given New England residents new gambling options & conditions to choose from. Links to reward clubs such as MLife, Wynn Red Card, and the change of Penn National to Choice Rewards gives a national connection coast to coast. Promotions and entertainment offerings have also seen a greater competition, which only translates as a positive for consumers.
New England Expansion Losers
Who are the potential losers in this expansion? Well, depending upon future growth, some of the winners may also be partial losers.
Connecticut casinos have been seen as the biggest losers by the yearly decline in revenue of approximately 7-9% each month. But, because of recent talks with Bridgeport and the CT legislature, the future seems brighter. With the federal approval for the casino venture in East Windsor, Connecticut could have a third casino on the Massachusetts border, just 10 minutes away from MGM Springfield. The two CT tribes – Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans – could have their joint venture, Tribal Winds, up and running by 2021.
And Connecticut could reverse the tables on MGM International. Recent talks with Bridgeport & CT legislators could continue the monopoly of gaming and the expected revenue in the state. With an open bidding process, the Constitution State would lose 25% of all slot revenue from both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
An artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino. (Image: MGM Resorts International)
Plainridge Casino’s Caught In Between
Plainridge Park Casino and Racewaycould the biggest loser. This quaint first Massachusetts casino in Plainville Massachusetts opened in 2015. Penn National has been building loyal patrons ever since, slowly increasing revenue to surrounding communities and the Bay State. Plainridge has one glaring problem – its slots only, and has no hotel. And they are surrounded by competition. Twin River Casino & Hotel is ten minutes away with over twice the slots, tons of table games, and more dining options. Remember, they also have legalized sports betting.
The New England Casino Expansion of Encore Boston Harbor will also present a huge problem for Plainridge. The newest New England Casino is only 50 minutes away – a big, beautiful resort offering all the amenities and gambling options you’d expect from from Wynn Resorts. Also, the CT casinos are just over an hour away.
How will Plainridge survive? The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must change the original gaming rules so it can expand, include table games, and add a hotel. However, it doesn’t look to happen soon. Let’s hope that this Plainville Property hangs until then.
The race to more Sports Betting
I believe the finish line to the Legal Sport Betting finish line will be as follows:
Win – Rhode Island, if they add mobile online betting in Rhode Island.
Place – Massachusetts. It will take longer than expected, but eventually they will get it right. As heard on the Art In The Game podcast recently, guest Dustin Gouker suggested multiple vendors would be best, giving competitive lines and bonuses to MA residents. RI uses only one, William Hill, and is run by the RI Lottery.
Show – Maine & New Hampshire. (tie) Yes, they both will beat out CT. Again, it will be a slow process, but the Maine legislature is more apt to pass it before a third casino for their tribal communities. New Hampshire has already passed a beginning bill concerning legal sports betting.
NO Show – Connecticut. It’s very complicated. If the tribes don’t get the sole ownership of legal sports betting, they see it as breaking the gaming pact first established in 1992. So many want a piece of the sports betting pie – OTB, KENO operators, and the LOTTERY. We will see a prolonged stalemate on this one.
The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were once one tribe. But war with colonists, differences with other tribes, and different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day. Over 250 years after the Pequot War (which almost eradicated the entire Pequot Nation), a bingo hall rose on what was left of the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in 1985.
Previous to 1992, both tribes fought for federal & state recognition as well as keeping land claims. Then governor Weicker agreed to give the Pequots a monopoly on slot machines in return for 25 percent of the slot machine revenue with the state guaranteed $160 Million. A year later, in 1993, the Pequots agreed to share the gaming business with the Mohegans, a tribe with whom they have lived for centuries, but the Indian monopoly is extended to all casino games.
NEW ENGLAND CASINO EXPANSION – 1992 to the PRESENT
Foxwoods started it all with a Bingo hall.
1992 – first New England Casino as Foxwoods opens its doors in Mashantucket, CT
1992 – Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (class II) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai
1996 – the Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT
2005 – Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine
2007 – Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming; Newport soon follows
2008 – MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino
2011 – MA legislature approves construction of 3 casinos
2012 – Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine, making two casinos in Maine
2015 – Plainridge Park opens in Plainville, MA, first of three casinos at – slots only.
2017 – Oxford Casino opens Hotel and casino expansion
2018 – Newport Grand closes; MA opens 2nd Casino, first full casino, in Springfield; Twin River Group moves Newport Grand operations to newly opened Tiverton Casino & Hotel; Twin River Casino opens new hotel; RI casinos offer first legal sports betting
2019 – MA opens third casino in Everett, Encore Boston Harbor
Casino gambling found a home in the 1800’s in Newport, Rhode Island, not to mention the numerous greyhound, horse tracks and parimutuel parlors throughout New England. Jai Alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI were also popular for a while in the 1970 – 90s until Foxwoods opened. Rhode Island’s Lincoln Greyhound Park became Twin River Casino later.
The Many Casinos That Never made it
New England has had more casino proposals not come to fruition than the Las Vegas Strip. For those of you living here, remember these possibilities?
Penn National Casino in Springfield, MA (2013)
Caesars Casino proposal in Boston, MA (2013) partnering with Suffolk Downs
Mohegan Sun Casino proposal in Palmer MA (2013)
Hard Rock International Casino proposal in West Springfield MA (2013)
Mashpee Wampanoag “First Light” Casino in Tauton MA (2013) [not daed yet]
Nunes/Foxwoods Casino proposal in Milford MA (2013)
Rush Gaming Slots-only proposal in Worcester MA (2013)
Racino proposal in Scarborough ME (2013)
Cordish Gaming Slots-only proposal in Foxboro MA (2013)
Penn National opts out of Casino in Springfield, MA, to set sites on slots-only in Plainville (2013)
New Hampshire proposes three separate casinos (2012, 2013, 2015), but none to show for it.
The Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians casino proposals ME
Mohegan Sun Casino proposal for Revere MA (after MGM chosen for Springfield (2014)
Maine Casino Proposal @Scarborough Downs (2014)
Foxwoods Casino Proposal in New Bedford MA (2014)
Rush Gaming Casino in Brockton MA (2014 – 2018)
York Casino Proposal ME (2015, 2017)
Foxwoods New Bedford (top), Rush Gaming’s Brockton Proposal, which is hanging on by a thread.
For now, there are 9 casinos when Encore Boston Harbor opens. And now, the plot thickens………