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

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.

 

 

CT’s Third Casino, An Underwhelming Reality?

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

Last week, MMCT, the joint venture between Connecticut’s Mohegan and Pequot tribes, showed a slight blueprint of what the satellite casino planned for East Windsor, a blueprint that was underwhelming. The news was that it would include 2,000 slot machines, up to 150 tables, and a five-story, 1,800-parking space garage.

Steve Ruddock, a veteran of the gambling industry and longtime contributor to numerous publications including DFS Report, USPoker.com, and PlayMa.com.  As a resident of Massachusetts and a scholar of the gambling industry, Steve has a special perspective on the  gambling expansion in Connecticut.

Drawings were submitted to the town and are little more than a rough sketch a first glimpse at the thinking behind the $300 million development.  Steve’s analysis was quite good and can be read at “IT APPEARS EAST WINDSOR CASINO’S BIGGEST SELLING POINT IS A PARKING GARAGE”

Blueprint for MMCT East Windsor Casino.

Steve and I exchanged opinions and I believe I’m now leaning his way. He called it a “slot box.”  I hesitated when I read his opinion and asked him what constitutes a “slot box.”  Steve’s definition was “A casino without a lot of amenities. Somewhere you go to gamble and do little else.”  I must admit, after seeing his explanation, I do agree.  This third casino is not going to come close in comparison to MGM Springfield.  As presented, it IS a “slots box.”

It made me wonder what other slot boxes this size and this amount of table games and slots were in Las Vegas or elsewhere.

Of course there is Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts.  But that was the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s plan all along.

Elsewhere in New England there is Oxford and Twin River casinos in Maine and Rhode Island respectively, but both have completed, or in the process of completing a hotel.

NYC has its Empire City and Resorts World, both large slot joints, with no hotel. But these two casinos with few amenities are highly successful. East Windsor is a far cry from New York City concerning the number of available gamblers, so the comparison of how successful a slot parlor could be to keep revenue and jobs in Connecticut is questionable.

Resorts World, Queens, NY.

In Vegas, with that definition would you consider Casino Royale on the Strip, Dotty’s chain of slot joints, (much smaller, no hotel), and some of Downtown Vegas Casinos, like El Cortez and the Plaza, even though they have hotels.

It’s too bad that a hotel isn’t in the mix for East Windsor, never mind a good restaurant like Stack’s (Plainridge Park) or the many high end eateries at both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.  Or, how about some meeting space to add to the hotel to add to convention crowds from Hartford. In other words, there needs to be more incentive besides program loyalty to keep Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun patrons from crossing over the Massachusetts border.

Bottom line is, why not build a world class casino, smaller scale, like those in SouthEastern CT? Something that would be able to compete with MGM Springfield. Something that costs more than $900,000!

I’m not in favor of open bidding in Bridgeport, or anywhere else in CT. The future ramifications would open up a can of worms that would not fix CT’s financial woes. But I do think that East Windsor and the people of CT deserve better from MMCT.

Thanks to Steve Ruddock for inspiring this post.

Binbin

 

 

 

7 Most Viewed “Casino”Posts in August at NETG

It’s been a few weeks since we looked back at previous the week’s previous posts and highlights.  So, this morning, I will highlight the best of August, in case you missed anything on vacation. But first, some gambling humor:

In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the casino roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.” —Gambling Joke By Stephen Wright (courtesy of ThrillofGambling.com )

SO, HERE ARE THE TOP “LUCKY 7” POSTS FROM AUGUST

7)Slot Machines – When to Play Max Bet

One of the most debated topics regarding slot machines, and video poker, concerns max bet, specifically when should I hit that bet max button. Max Bet or Maximum Bet is the highest amount of coins or credits you can play in a single spin.

 


 

6)Casino Comps & Your “Average Daily Theoretical

Ever wonder how the casino you visit decides on what comps to give you? My comps continued to be menial – “minion’s comps” I call them until I found out about Average Daily Theoretical – the average amount that a gambler losses per day for a certain gambling activity…..


 

5)Three Suggestions to Slot Machine Players

Have you wondered why it seems harder to win at your favorite casino?  Here are three tips.


 

4)Massachusetts More Worried, Not Mohegan Sun, About New England’s Casino Share

Still getting noticed after posted two years ago.  For related posts, check out: Massachusetts, MGM Springfield, is Still Worried About Their New England Casino Share


 

#3)Daily Bus Transportation to Our New England Casinos

It seems getting to our 7 casinos in four states is on the minds of our followers.  It will only get more involved with the addition of MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor!

 

#2)COMPARING ALL 7 NEW ENGLAND CASINOS – From our Menu Pages & Archives


 

AND THE MOST REVIEWED POST IN AUGUST:

5 Things You Need to Know About New Foxwoods Rewards Club

Have a great week. – Binbin

 

MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

Two years ago, I wrote a similar post to today’s about MGM Springfield.  To compare posts, here it is:

MGM Springfield – Random Thoughts 

I some ways, the project has changed.  All the while, CT & MGM has seemingly been at war over potential revenue & jobs.  So, today, I revisit my opinions and analysis of the MGM Springfield Urban Casino project. 


I want MGM Springfield to succeed……….There, I said it.

Mostly, I want it to bring revenue for an economically needy city, while enhancing the New England Casino landscape, not digging it up. I want it to be beautiful and to enhance the rundown parts of Springfield.

Benefit For a Needy City

Springfield is considered #5 in a list of “Most Dangerous Towns to Live In” by OnlyInYourState.com .  Springfield is the third largest city in Massachusetts – Population: 154,518. Annual crimes per 1,000 residents: 10.39 violent crimes, 45.46 property crimes and 55.85 total reported crimes. “If both property and violent crimes were considered, Springfield would rank #3.”

But I do feel the people of Springfield will benefit with a strong Host Community Agreement.  It  calls for “MGM Resorts to make upfront and advance payments, totaling $15 million to the City of Springfield. The upfront payment will be distributed to the city in installments during the construction phase of the project. When MGM Springfield opens for business, the city will receive in excess of $25 million annually in payments. These monies will be used to enhance public safety, support early childhood education and for general public purposes.” (from the FAQ at MGMSpringfield.com)

Springfield needs the help.  Statistics show that Springfield is in the Top 5 of all Massachusetts towns with: highest divorce rate, highest % of families below the poverty level, highest violent-crime rate, and lowest median family income. (according to WalletHub in “2017’s Best Places to Live in Massachusetts for Families”)

A Great Casino to Visit

I want it to be another casino jewel in New England in southern New England’s Casino Ring as a gambling/tourist destination.  MGM, Wynn, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Twin River – all large casinos with hotel amenities providing for vacations & stay-cations alike all in a radius of 120 miles.

Eight casinos inside this radius by 2020.

The original plan video can be seen here. The original plans were impressive, but the hotel tower plans have changed, and the parking garage will be lower by two floors. MGM is also moving the apartments in the opening of the video further away from the casino.  Inside, MGM Springfield looks similar to Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas (Sumerlain), with restaurants outlying the casino, and the essential “Center Bar” made so famous in casino design by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas long ago.  It has modern looks like MGM’s latest “Aria,” but much brighter.

Will MGM have the same poor to mediocre Video Poker paytables and average gaming rules that are in all their other properties?  The exception is Borgata when they purchased Boyd Gaming’s joint share. They now own one of the best casinos in Atlantic City, as well as the entire country. Keeping the good gambling options at Borgata and similar options at MGM Springfield will be crucial to compete with CT, RI & Wynn Boston Harbor for New England’s gambling revenue.

MGM Operation of MassMutual Center

Mass Mutual Civic Center, Springfield, MA

MGM Springfield and Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, announced a joint bid for the five-year contract to operate the MassMutual Center, a multipurpose arena and convention center, in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. Under this joint bid, MGM Springfield would serve as the venue management company and Spectra would provide food and beverage services through its Food Services & Hospitality division. Michael Mathis, President and Chief Operating Officer for MGM Springfield said, “….the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) has a prime opportunity to select the best of the best to operate this great facility.”

No Smoking, No Free Booze

In the casino area, will MGM & Wynn be powerful enough to influence a repeal to the “NO Happy Hour” Law in Massachusetts?  Imagine no alcohol freebies on a casino floor owned by MGM & Wynn – blasphemy!  And remember, ALL Massachusetts casinos are to be non-smoking. The options provided for smokers at Plainridge Park in Plainville seem almost punitive.  Massachusetts Casino Law has the entire casino as non-smoking.

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife

A key factor in MGM Springfield’s success will be the connection through its rewards club, MLife, providing perks to MGM’s properties from Las Vegas to the east coast. Earning points in Springfield that can be used in Las Vegas & Biloxi (MGM owns Beau Rivage Resort Casino there) is exciting!  Let’s face it, MGM does own some incredible properties.  Imagine earning connections to stay at Bellagio in Las Vegas, as well as attracting Las Vegans to our little corner of the country.  This attraction can only help MGM to help the city of Springfield and the state of Massachusetts with jobs and revenue.

THE BATTLE CONTINUES

I decided to leave the discussion of MGM’s ongoing battle with Connecticut and their 3rd casino on the CT/MA border for another day.  This is about Springfield’s residents and the ability that MGM has in its hands to help the city rise from its ashes.

Now is the time for action to help save the city of Springfield, to focus on the positives that MGM Springfield brings.

As Jean-Luc Picard said in Star Trek Next Generations, I say to MGM concerning the welfare of Springfield, “Make it so!”

Jean-Luc Picard, “Make It So, MGM!”

 

Binbin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MGM Resorts Logo

Connecticut’s 3rd Casino Approved – MGM Objections to Continue

It seems we have come full circle concerning MGM and their opposition to Connecticut’s casino expansion.

It was March of 2015 when the two tribes in CT asked for permission to build a casino off I-91 near the Massachusetts line to intercept patrons on their way to MGM Springfield, hoping it would be done and open by 2017.  MGM Springfield, a $950 million casino is a major threat to force more declining revenue of Connecticut’s gambling industry and impact the local economy by reducing employment opportunities.

MGM Springfield Downtown

Well it’s 2017, and CT is finally seeing it’s expansion come to life.  But, it will surely fizzle if MGM International has anything to do about it.

The two tribes that  were enemies and then competitors for centuries even when they were allowed to build two of the largest casinos in country, offering the only Las Vegas style resort gaming in the Northeast outside of Atlantic City, are now in it for the long-haul together.

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

A third casino in CT gets ready to move forward.  MMCT, the Mohegan Sun and Mashantucket Pequots tribes’ combined venture is soon to get the Governor’s backing, completing the state’s blessing for a new casino in East Windsor.

In two years of fighting, litigation, television commercials, community propaganda and interesting surveys to support their findings, MGM has thrown everything they could at the casino wall, hoping for anything to stick and sway the people of CT and their legislators.

The first attempt by MGM was a lawsuit challenging the exclusive right for the two tribes to jointly operate and build a competing casino. MGM insisted they could make money in CT (even though they pulled out of joint venture with Foxwoods) and that the casino bill violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. A federal judge in January of 2016 dismissed the company’s lawsuit to block the state of Connecticut’s 2015 tribal gaming act.

At the same time, MGM backed the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, in Kent, CT – officially recognized by the state but not the federal government – to sue the state of Connecticut’s bill, claiming they had a right to a casino.  But land claims, the lack of federal recognition and then the resurrection of the law suit all dismissed again recently seem enough to keep the Schaghticoke demands futile.

Seal of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs

Seal of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs

MGM then sought help from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, stating that a casino off tribal land would break the original agreement from 1993, saying that approving this bill would sever the pact for 25% of the slot revenue to the state. MMCT assured legislators that the proposed construction of a third casino would not jeopardize any gambling agreements reached between the state and the two tribes in 2016 & recently when the BIA agreed.

Officials from the two tribes provided legislators in 2016 with copies from a letter sent by the current Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the country’s Department of Interior stating that the existing gambling compact, under the terms of which Connecticut is provided with 25% of net revenue from slot machines in return for securing the two tribes with the exclusive rights to operate gambling venues within the state’s borders, would not be affected by the opening of a third casino.”

Two bills were eventually issued to the CT legislature earlier this year – one for the MMCT joint venture on the CT/MA border, and one outlining an equal bidding process for a casino in the southwest part of the state (where MGM could possily bid and build a casino). MGM continued to televise ads in CT under the moniker of MGMConecticut.org, trying to persuade CT’s residents of the need for equal bidding for a casino license, saying 71% of the state’s surveyed residents were in favor of an open bidding process.  All the local TV stations, all hours of the day were not enough to change the representatives vote.  Where is that 71% (of whatever sample size) when MGM needs them?

MGM has waged an all out war to try to save its interests across the border.  Whether or not is is to save MGM’s chances for a casino in CT, or just continuous stalling tactics while preparing for MGM Springfield to open,  MGM has had a five-prong attack:

  1. a legal fight in federal court,
  2. lobbying at the Connecticut State Capitol,
  3. bringing the fight to Congress
  4. instigating the Schaghticoke Tribe in Kent, CT to legally pursue it’s right to the casino pie – have proved fruitless in trying to block the construction of a third tribal casino thus far
  5. influence the people of CT to consider an open bidding process

Results?

  1. The federal court and the BIA has already thrown out MGM’s previous lawsuit
  2. Lobbying at the state capital didn’t succeed in bringing about the open bidding process
  3. The CT Senate, House, and soon Governor Malloy, approve the process for the MMCT casino in East Windsor.

I say MGM’s main purpose in all of this was to stall – because the urban casino they are building is a questionable success.  It will be great for MGM, but will it be good for Springfield?  Remember, MGM and CEO Jim Murren himself has said they are in the hotel and entertainment business, not the casino business.  How does Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission feel about their revenue being secondary in MGM’s plan?

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

MGM Springfield is in a much smaller city, and it will go up MMCT’s Mohegan Sun / Foxwoods casino in East Hartford and will continue to feel pressure from Plainridge Park Casino, the only open casino in Massachusetts. New York projects near western Mass. and Wynn’s Boston Harbor Casino/Resort will definitely tug at Springfield’s bottom line.  MGM said in 2016 that they didn’t believe in a ceiling on  gamblers discretionary funds and were not concerned with the possible saturation of casinos – do they still believe that?

Now, MGM is back to square one, leaning on the judicial branch to stop MMCT in East Windsor. I think I can still hear someone speaking in the wind from Springfield, “just stall, I don’t care how, just stall….”

And that, my friends is a complete circle.

Binbin

 

 

Connecticut’s Casino Expansion – Links For A Look Back

The Casino Expansion in Connecticut is about to continue, along with MGM’s opposition.  Before tomorrow’s post about the third CT casino, here are some previous posts concerning the last two years of expansion, and MGM Springfield.

MGM SpringfieldSpringfield, Mass Future Betting on MGM – An $800 million plan straddling a downtown and South End neighborhoods is what Springfield, MA is betting it’s future on.  Springfield’s partner in all this – MGM Resorts International.

 

Connecticut Casino Quandry – Paring Sites & Legislative Bills Slow it All Down – Ramp up…Slow down…Gain interest….Hold on…A Definite Maybe…..That’s how the MMCT 3rd casino in Connecticut is progressing.

Connecticut’s 3rd Casino – 5 Things Determining It’s Future – The possibility for a third casino in CT continues to be just that – just a possibility.

Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT

Artist first rendering of renovated Cinemas building for New Mohegan Sun/Foxwoods Casino

Connecticut Lawmakers, MGM, & CT Casino Expansion – It’s no wonder that lawmakers from the Bridgeport and New Haven areas are calling for an open, competitive process for the evaluation of casino proposals.

CT Casino Expansion Attracting Lots of Attention – The proposal for an additional casino two years ago, voted to keep jobs and gambling revenue in the state, has caused quite a stir.

NETime Gambling’s Sunday Summary

It’s been a few weeks since we looked back at previous the week’s previous posts and highlights.  So, this morning, I will highlight the best of May, in case you missed anything. As always, I include some pics or humor or thoughts for the day.

SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED!

Monday, May 1st – 13 Essential Gambling Websites

Mark Gruetze

Mark Gruetze of the Tribune-Review, or Trib-Live, posted an article about websites for Gambling fans. NETG highlighted his picks with a few additions of our own.

Monday, May 8th – Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast

A great podcast. His purpose is all about maximizing the experience for the recreational gambler.  “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Monday, May 15th – New England Casinos Increasing Hotel Rooms By Over 30%

There are only 3 Resort/Casinos that have hotels connected – Foxwoods (2266 rooms), Mohegan Sun (1600 rooms with the addition of the Earth Tower), Hollywood (152 rooms). Within the next two years, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine will add hotel rooms increasing the total number of casino hotel rooms by over 30%.

Connecticut State Capitol

Thursday, May 19th – Connecticut’s Third Casino – Four Links to the Latest Spin

More updates concerning the battle of CT’s third casino, from different points of view.

Tuesday, May 23rd – Mohegan Sun – Stadium Table Games Report

I made a short visit to Mohegan Sun Sunday to play and review stadium gaming, where 30-40 players can play at individual stations at the same time, but with only one dealer per game needed……

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino

Tuesday, May 30th – Plainridge Park Casino Exceeding All Expectations

Plainridge Park continues to improve its footing in the New England Casino landscape. From its opening two years ago to now, Plainridge Park, in Plainville, Massachusetts, has pushed to make the first Massachusetts casino a successful one.

Finally, at the beginning of June:

June 2nd – Craps Quiz – How Much Do You Really Know?

Speaking of craps…….

 

GAMBLING HUMOR

It’s 8:00 AM at a gambling casino. Two bored dealers are waiting around for someone to walk up and try their luck at the craps table. A very attractive lady comes in and wants to bet twenty-thousand dollars on a single roll of the dice. The dealers agree.
She says, “I hope you don’t mind, but I feel much luckier when I’m bottomless.”
With that she strips naked from the waist down, and rolls the dice while yelling, “Mama needs a new pair of pants!”
She then begins jumping up and down and hugging each of the dealers. “YES! I WIN! I WIN!”
With that she picks up her money and clothes and quickly leaves. The dealers just stare at each other dumbfounded. Finally one of them asks, “What did she roll anyway?”
The other answers, “I don’t know. I thought YOU were watching the dice!”

 

Have a great week. – Binbin

 

CT Sign

Connecticut’s Third Casino – Four Links to the Latest Spin

Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

The addition of a third casino in Connecticut continues to drag on, while MGM Springfield continues to rise ahead of schedule.  The spin on the latest events in this “battle at the border” between Massachusetts and the Nutmeg State continues to grind. The many talking heads involved are all after the same thing – control, or at least having a piece, of the New England Casino landscape.

To keep you up-to-date, NETimeGambling is providing this time line of the last two weeks’ events, with links to articles that explain further.

MAY 1st “Finance committee allows its third-casino bill to die”

Connecticut State Capitol

As reported in the Day by Brian Hallenbeck, a bill that was meant to call for commercial competitive bidding for a third casino was never sent to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, causing it to fail on the House floor.  The bill “encountered considerable opposition.” Contrary to that opposition, due to expected losses in state jobs and revenue, was the following article……

May 17th “MGM poll: 71% of likely voters want open bid for third casino”

It seems that MGM Resorts International, which is building MGM Springfield Casino/Resort 15 minutes north over the CT/MA border, knows what is best for Connecticut.  They have known all along, if you trace the history of this casino war – or so MGM feels they do. According to Eric Bedner of the Journal Inquirer in RI just a few days ago, MGM revealed that a statewide survey (commissioned in part by MGM Resorts International) shows that 71 percent of likely Connecticut voters support legislation that would establish a competitive bid process for a third casino.  WOW!  That’s just the opposite, and a very high percentage, that want competitive bidding!  But wasn’t there opposition to that? (read above article).  And the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes released a study by gaming expert Dr. Clyde Barrow that shows the competitive bid process could cost CT up to $85.6 million annually. “”There is no math that makes Connecticut’s first commercial gaming enterprise work for the state if it’s not operated by the two federally recognized tribes,” wrote Dr. Barrow. “For the State of Connecticut to merely break even in terms of state revenue, a competitively bid third casino would need to generate $1.063 billion in gross gaming revenue annually. There is not a single commercial casino in the United States generates that level of gaming revenue.”

In case you’re wondering why MGM is in favor of a casino being built, it is not due to a new found empathy towards Connecticut.  It is simply because MGM could build another casino in south-western CT, but not near the border where the joint venture of the Pequots & Mohegans would build.  Why? – MGM’s agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts includes not building a competing casino within a radius of 90 miles, which crosses over into Connecticut to far to be considered near Hartford and north.  But, days before this…….

May 16th – Schaghticokes Push Back As State Seeks To Dismiss Lawsuit

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation from Kent, CT in the north-western part of the state, continues to insist on its due piece of the casino pie. For and explanation previous history of the Schaghticokes & MGM, check out a previous NETimeGambling post entitled “Casino Industry Finds Strange Bedfellows In Connecticut & Maine.”  The difficulty for the tribe from Kent is that they are still not federally recognized.

May 18th – Tribes get BIA letter helpful to their bid for a third casino

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

The CT Mirror and  have been on top of the third casino situation since its inception.  Recently, they reported  the Bureau of Indian Affairs confirmed that “A commercial casino operated by Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes would not jeopardize their revenue-sharing deal with the state,” contrary to other reports surfacing, influenced by MGM.  It had been rumored, around the time of both casino bills being published, that the third casino by MMCT (the joint venture of Pequots & Mohegans)  would “invalidate a deal in which the tribes were granted exclusive rights to casino gambling in Connecticut in return for a 25 percent share of gross slots revenues.” This recent article by The Mirror explains the most recent opinion handed down by the BIA.

After reading these posts and articles, what do you think is going to happen?  Many questions remain.  But who is most concerned about Connecticut’s third casino?

  • How worried is Connecticut in losing jobs, revenue, and diminishing the huge 1-2 gaming punch that Foxwoods and the Sun have brought to New England and the US?
  • How worried is Massachusetts in the fruition of success that MGM Springfield has promised?
  • How worried is MGM International concerning their latest project in Springfield – the invention of the “urban casino/resort?”

Only time will tell.  That’s all for now.

Binbin

East Windsor is Chosen By MMCT for CT Casino

In keeping with today’s post, NETG correspondent Bert reported breaking news after noon time concerning the MMCT, the joint venture between the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan tribes. The tribes announced that they have chosen the vacant Showcase Cinemas lot in East Windsor as the location for Connecticut’s third casino.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

Right off Route I-91 and only a few minutes from the Massachusetts line, East Windsor was chosen over the Windsor Locks location closer to Bradley International Airport.

The proposal includes:

  • space as large as 300,000 square feet (Twin River Casino is about 300,000 sq. ft.)
  • and with 2,000 slot machines (1.5 more slots than Plainridge Park)
  • and 150 game tables (less than half of the amount in either Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun).
  • A 2,500-space parking garage would be relocated just to the east of the abandoned Showcase building, in addition to a 1,200-space garage nearby.

Last September, the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans — the tribal operators of the state’s two casinos forming MMCT — reopened the search for proposals for a Hartford-area gambling attraction to compete with a $950 million casino and entertainment complex under construction in nearby Springfield.  Jobs and state revenue were said to be the two most important factors in adding a third casino, combating expected losses to MGM Springfield which is well on their way to completing their “urban casino.”

More on this in the coming week.

Binbin