Connecticut Tribal Casinos “By The Numbers”

the state that started Las Vegas Style Gambling In New England –

Connecticut

Who knew thirty years ago the 2nd and 3rd largest casinos (based on casino space) in the western hemisphere would rise out of the woods in southeastern Connecticut.

Foxwoods started it all with a Bingo hall.

Tribal gaming began in 1986 with the opening of a high-stakes bingo parlor on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation, after a court ruled that state bingo regulations did not apply on the tribe’s sovereign land. The operation expanded to include table games in 1992, and slot machines in 1993.The Mohegan Tribe, having gained federal recognition in 1992, opened its casino in 1996.

Before that, horse racing and off-track betting had been legalized in 1971, and Jai alai and dog racing were added the following year. I still remember visiting Hartford Jai Alai and Plainfield Dog Track, which was only 10 minutes away from me at the time – the beginning of my gambling days.

Foxwoods Resort Casino

The numbers of these two casinos are staggering.  But these days of competition from all directions has promoted changes since their best days. Less slots, more table games and more emphasis on non-gambling activities continue to be the norm these days, and CT’s tribal casinos are no exception.

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville, CT

 

Foxwoods Resort Casino Mohegan Sun Resort Casino
Hotel FW HOTEL
MS Hotel
Location
Mashantucket, CT
Uncasville, CT
# of Hotels 4 2
Hotel Rooms 2266 Rooms, Suites & Villas 1600 Rooms & Suites
Hotel Amenities 3 pool areas, 2 Spas, Gyms 2 pool areas, 2 Spas, Gyms
Gambling FW Gambling MS Gambling
Legal Gambling Age 21 21
Casino Size 323,376 sq/ft.            5 Casinos 300,000+ sq/ft.          3 Casinos
Smoke-Free Gaming Designated on Casino Floor Designated on Casino Floor
Total # of Slots & VP 4800 5000
Comped Alcoholic Drink? Comped Drinks until 2:00AM Comped Drinks until 2:00AM
Table Games Over 300 Tables – includes Baccarat, Mini-Baccarat, Blackjack, Caribean Stud, Roulette, Three Card Poker, Craps, Crazy 4 Poker, Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, ‘Money’ Wheel, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, Mississippi Stud, Stadium Gaming Over 300 Tables – includes Baccarat, Mini-Baccarat, Blackjack, Caribean Stud, Roulette, Three Card Poker, Craps, Crazy 4 Poker, Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, ‘Money’ Wheel, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, Mississippi Stud, stadium gaming
Poker Room 147 Tables 42 Tables
Racebook 200 seats, Simulcast Wagering, GH, HR, JA 200+ seats, Simulcast Wagering, GH, HR, JA
Rewards Club FOXWOODS REWARDS 4 Levels – No affiliation to other casinos. / Tier Status is biannual MOMENTUM –           5 Levels. Affiliated with Resorts (AC) & Mohegan Sun Poconos (PA) / Tier Status is biannual
VIP Lounges 2 3 + 1 for Soar Only
Dining FW Dining MS Dining
Food Options 6 Fine Dining; 9 Casual; 18 Quick/Chain options 4 Fine Dining; 12 Casual; 14 Quick/Chain options
Buffet Yes Yes
Bars Nine Ten
Entertainment FW Entertainment MS Entertainment
Venues 5 Large Event Venues; 6 Live/DJ Club/Lounge Venues 2 Large Event Venues; 9 Live/DJ Club/Lounge Venues
Convention/ Meeting Space 150,000 sq/ft Conference/Meeting Space Over 275,000 sq/ft Conference/Meeting Space
Other Entertainment Options 4 Thrill Rides; Luxury Bowling Lanes; PGA designed Golf Course, Top Golf; TreeHouse Arcade; Mashantucket Pequot Museum Research Center PGA designed Golf Course; 2 pool areas; Kids Quest; WNBA Basketball; NLL Lacrosse; Golf Course; Game On Entertainment Center
Retail 21 Retail Stores + Tanger Outlets (over 80 Stores) 34 Retail Stores
Owner Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Mohegan Tribal Authority
PARKING 24/7 Free Parking – 4 Garages 24/7 Free Parking – 3 Garages
Hours of 24/7 24/7
Operation

 

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!

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