New England Casinos Increasing Hotel Room By Over 30%

By 2019, New England’s line-up of casinos will include:

  1. Two new casinos in Massachusetts
  2. Newport Grand moved from Newport to Tiverton, Rhode Island
  3. Maybe an additional casino in Connecticut.

The most important component favoring New England’s tourism business is the additional casino-attached hotel rooms offered in the area.  This is not keeping in mind the affiliate hotels in each casino’s surrounding area, just those attached or directly on the property.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

Fox and Grand Pequot Hotels & Casinos

At this time, the seven operating “brick & mortar” casinos offer 4018 hotel rooms on their properties, with Foxwoods having the most with 2266 rooms and suites.  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).

Withing the next two years, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine will add hotel rooms increasing the total number of casino hotel rooms by over 30%.

Hampton Inn at Oxford Casino

The walls have begun to go up on the Hampton Inn on Route 26 across from the entrance to the Oxford Casino. Oxford Casino’s own hotel is also being constructed.

Oxford Casino, in Oxford, Maine will be completing their hotel later this year. Expansion of the existing Oxford Casino facility will feature over 100 new guestrooms including standard rooms and suites, additional dining options, an expansion of the gaming floor and new flexible meeting and banquet space.  This hotel, as well as the unaffiliated Hampton Inn completed across the street, will have the greatest impact for tourists looking to stay and help the central Maine tourism improve its possible accommodations.

Wynn Boston Harbor

Wynn Boston Harbor

In Massachusetts, the addition of two new resort/casinos – MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor – will add almost 900 rooms.  Wynn is expected to have 700 rooms, including Deluxe rooms, Parlor Suites and Panoramic View Suites.  Click here for a look.

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s hotel without tower.

MGM Springfield, after downsizing its tower, will include a four-star luxury hotel with 250 guest rooms and 20 VIP suites.

Rhode Island’s casinos, both owned by Twin River Management, will undergo changes that will challenge casinos in both Massachusetts & Connecticut.  Tiverton Town Council unanimously approved new zoning regulations that will allow Twin River Management Group Incorporated to construct its planned Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel . Leaving Newport Grand for a new casino on a 45-acre site only a few hundred feet from the Rhode Island border with Massachusetts will challenge the progress that Plainridge Park has enjoyed in the last year. The Herald News reported that the plan for the Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel moreover calls for the construction of an 84-room hotel along with a two-level parking garage capable of holding up to 1,800 cars

Tiverton Casino

Proposed Tiverton Casino

In Lincoln RI, Twin River Casino has seen much success in recent years with the addition of table games. John Taylor, chairman of the board at Twin River, said construction should begin this spring on an approximately 140-room hotel that will be built at the north entrance of Twin River, opening in July 2018.  While Taylor admits “It’s not going to change the complexion of who we are – we are a convenience casino operator,”  the hotel should bring in others around New England with hopes of staying for a day or two.

Twin River

North entrance area where new hotel is expected to be built (left side of picture).

The additional room total after 2019 is approximately over 2000 rooms added. This improvement should change some of the “convenience” gambling to resort-status for more New England Casinos.

One note – If the Mashpee Wampanoag “First Light” Casino/Resort project is able to be completed, a total of 600 rooms will be offered in two phases in Taunton, near Plainridge Park, Wynn and Tiverton – another increase of 10% of the then over 6000 rooms available at New England casinos.

These are all welcome additions and should ease the concern of casino saturation. The pool of gamblers would be expanded by the ability for gamblers outside of New England to stay and move to other casinos in proximity, thus making all 9 or 10 casinos not completely dependent on local gaming.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

Mohegan Sun’s Earth Tower – A First Hand Look

img_1598NETG stayed spent the night in Mohegan’s Earth Tower.

FYI – It’s not really a “tower.”

But it has 12 stories of ultra modern decor and amenities in a slightly smaller package.

THE LOBBY

img_1597

The Earth Hotel Lobby

To start with, it has it’s own lobby, which can be reached from the Winter Garage, or the main hotel lobby. Across from the lobby you’ll find four areas to socialize in. The furniture and accessories are soothing, a great place to sit back after a day of the convention or the tables. Include the new Bean & Wine Bar, with sandwiches, desserts, and beverages, and you have a great area to start your visit or end your day.img_1596In the warmer months, there are numerous outdoor fireplaces and benches to entertain old friends or meet new ones. img_1595

THE ROOM

The rooms are smaller than the Sky Tower, but the ambiance and furnishings make you tend to forget it.  The long lighted wall behind the beds makes it feel larger. Lots of technological thinking provides many gadgets and necessities for Millennials to Boomers. Numerous USB ports for powering devices are included.img_1589-2 The room key doesn’t need to be inserted, just held up to the sensor.  And some of the light switches are touch sensitive, also. The bathroom is modest with a large shower.  In room amenities include:

  • Safe
  • Refrigerator
  • Mini Bar (coming soon)
  • Coffee Makerimg_1590-2

While we had asked for a King Bed, we were given 2 queens – first come, first served they said.img_1585-1

SOME TWEAKS NEEDED

As with any new opening, there are some tweaks to be made.  One VERY uncomfortable part of the room was temperature.  The thermostat just didn’t work as efficiently as it should. It’s hard to understand and the “ECO” setting seems to mess up any continuous temp.  At one point it read 72, but the room was cooling off at 69 degrees.

To make matters worse, a small vent above the closest bed kept shooting cold air down on one of the beds, causing the bed to be unusable. Staff in the lobby said it had been a problem in other rooms as well, but they’re working on it.

img_1586-1I should mention that while it is nicely decorated, some of the furniture seems a little cheap, namely the drawers (shelves) for clothing.

I’m sure all the things that need fixing will get the attention they need. But, if I had a choice, I would stay in the Sky hotel until the bugs are taken care of.  Soon, Mohegan Sun will have two outstanding hotels for you to choose from.

Binbin

 

 

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

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino

CASINO TRENDS

Mohegan Sun is not waiting patiently by to see what the next competition is, or what the next trend is in the casino world. They are actively pushing their brand forward, and in the process, building what they see are immediate needs to visitors and the local communities.

This is in direct conflict with casino construction in America recently. Big mega-resorts are not the norm any more – although Wynn Boston Harbor & MGM

This depicts the areas where some form of legal gambling can be found in America

This depicts the areas where some form of legal gambling can be found in America

Springfield in New England as well as MGM National Harbor in the D.C. area. Two of the latest casino interests are:

  • The Convenience Casino – Smaller, local casinos with less amenities, a few restaurants and mostly slots, if not all slots. For many a slot player, convenience trumps the amenities that make up the gaming “experience.” Close to home gets the nod.
    Bettendorf, Iowa Riverboat casino. These casinos do not have to travel on the river - they stay where they are.

    Bettendorf, Iowa Riverboat casino. These casinos do not have to travel on the river – they stay where they are.

    Especially if you can’t get to the major hubs of Las Vegas, AC, or Biloxi. Examples are Plainridge Park, in Plainville, MA., and numerous racinos and riverboat casinos throughout the country.

  • The Urban Casino –
    hpim7898

    Greektown Casino, in the heat of Detroit, Michigan

    They are built, usually in already existing buildings, although major renovations or completely new buildings like MGM Springfield, are also included.  Detroit has made good on the small “urban casino” projects. They are built in an already existing Downtown area, made to fit in the existing landscape of the city, and are not dependent upon having a hotel.

  • The Boutique Casino – a fairly vague answer to the Mega-Casinos of Las Vegas. Basically, they are a smaller, quaint, not necessarily a chain or a franchise hotel, where the hotel and casino are downsized. The Cromwell in Las Vegas is a good example.

Still, Mohegan Sun, a mega-resort/casino, pushes on as the antithesis of those trends.

Retail, Water Park, Senior Living and more in Preston
The Norwich hospital site bought by Preston.  In the far top, Mohegan Sun sits.

The Norwich hospital site bought by Preston. In the far top, Mohegan Sun sits.

Kathleen McWilliams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant, recently reported the “plan for the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston CT, (just across the river from the casino), [will 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.”

“With up to $600 million in possible development, we will stimulate growth, drive new business and help strengthen the local economy,” Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said, referring to the 393-acre brownfield site that has been vacant since the state shuttered the hospital’s doors in 1996. The property was sold by the state to Preston in 2009 for $1. $20 million, including $9 million from the state, has been spent cleaning up the property and demolishing dozens of buildings to make way for new development.

Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown stands with a bronze sculpture of his ancestor Mohegan Chief Matahga, Burrill Fielding. (Mohegan Sun)

Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown stands with a bronze sculpture of his ancestor Mohegan Chief Matahga, Burrill Fielding. (Mohegan Sun)

Is this designed to make the the casino a bigger attraction?  Not really.  Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said the intentions are:

  • to offer options for Mohegan Sun visitors who aren’t as interested in gambling.
  • to add at least 750 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent full time positions.
  • to solidify Mystic country in southeastern Connecticut as a top tourism destination
  • a big step forward that will allow the town to double its grand list, said Preston First Selectman Bob Congdon
The Earth Tower 
New Earth Hotel, at Mohegan Sun 2017

New Earth Hotel, at Mohegan Sun 2017

Recently, the Mohegan Tribe opened of the Earth Tower. The main reasons for The Earth Tower? – competition from other casinos and the need for more rooms attached. The tribe says it has turned away 1 million room requests in just the last year. Consideration to the many conventioneers was completed this fall. (Look for a review next week, after a brief stay in the Earth Tower.) A previous post discussions the opening – Earth Hotel Opens at Mohegan Sun

Conference Center Expansion
Area to the top left is for the proposed Expo Center

Area to the top left is for the proposed Expo Center

Long before they christened their second hotel tower a couple of months ago, Mohegan Sun officials were engaged in planning another relatively modest expansion, this one an $80 million conference center. “It’s not definite that it’s a go, but we’re in the advanced planning stages,” said Bobby Soper, president and chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. He said the planning began a year ago.

According to Brian Hallenbeck, of the New London Day, “The proposed Mohegan Sun Expo Center…..Mohegan Sun officials believe would enable the casino to capture most of the 85,000 “room nights” a year it now turns away because of a lack of meeting space. Last June’s “highly successful” Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, held at Mohegan Sun Arena, “validates the proposition…”   The proposed conference center would be located in a vacant area next to the casino’s Winter Garage and would link the garage, the Earth Casino and the Earth Tower “Everything will be under one roof,” Soper said. “Whether you’re staying at Earth, or Sky or visiting the conference center, it’s going to be all under one roof.”

MMCT & CT’s 3rd Casino

All this while the Mohegan Tribe is slowly trying to add a third casino in the Bradley Airport in a joint venture with the Mashentucket Pequots of Foxwoods fame. The MMCT was formed by the two tribes to to propose the third casino. Progress in choosing the location has set-back plans and dulled support.

So, Mohegan Sun is not finished in building out of the recession.  As MGM Springfield is keeping the the rejuvination of the city of Springfield, MA. in its sights, so does the Mohegan tribe in expanding the tourist industry for southeast Connecticut, and the state as a whole.

Binbin