New England’s Casinos – Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Future

When I first started NETimeGambling, I hoped that New England would have become the Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi of the northeast, an extended area of casinos offering gamblers the variety and quality to go along with the area’s historical and cultural tourism.

Was I naive or what? Just watching the nasty competition between the casino industry in Massachusetts and Connecticut proves that. This law suit, this rumor, that accusation – all for the almighty buck with little consideration for consumers, residents and players, let alone the New England Tourist industry. Although community recognition and financial help and development is included in many expansions, we all know they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t have to in getting that gaming license – it’s all business and bean-counting to them.

Yes, my early naivete has changed to a growing cynicism. The last two years have allowed negative thoughts from the dark side of the gambling industry to infiltrate the hopes and dreams of a bustling tourist industry. Fees, higher house odds, diminishing comps, and rewards clubs cutbacks in awards have tainted my outlook, as well as many of us in the casino community.

Am I bitter?…..A little.  But great competition, as vile and ornery as it may be, is still in the consumer’s benefit. We can only hope it continues to bring greater value to our gambling guests in New England without jobs and community assistance lost.

OUR 6TH ANNIVERSARY!

This month marks our 6th year anniversary of NETimeGambling.com. So much of our casino landscape has changed and continues to evolve. Let’s look at the beginning of NETimeGambling and see what we were writing about in 2012. As this article enfolds, certain corrections, additions, opinions and explanations will be added to bring the last six years up date. These comments will be bold, italicized and green so you can’t missed them. 

CHRISTMAS PAST – 2012

The finished 3600 seat Bingo Hall was the keystone that the World's largest casino would be built around

The finished 3600 seat Bingo Hall was the keystone for the World’s largest casino that would be Foxwoods

The beginning of casino gambling in New England began in both Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 1992 with Foxwoods opening its doors in Mashantucket, CT, and that same year Rhode Island approved VLT gaming machines (classII) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai casinos. For a short history of casino gambling in New England, go to NEW ENGLAND CASINO HISTORY

When NETG started covering New England’s casinos, revenue had continued due to the recession of 2007. Let’s see what each state was up to…..

In 2012, our first year of blogging, Connecticut’s two behemoth casinos were feeling the pinch of the recession.  Layoffs occurred and revenue to the state declined. The large retail addition and hotel at Mohegan Sun were put on hold indefinitely.  MGM & Foxwoods parted ways, and other CT tribes also wanted a part of the casino pie. Luckily, they were still the only place around – but not for long.

Rhode Island
had seen a slight increase with hopes to get its table games up and running to take away from CT’s two Mega-casinos and before MA casinos were to be built. (Twin River received local approval for table games, Newport Grand slot parlor did not. In retrospect, Foxwoods saw a great expected loss in players than Mohegan Sun.)

Massachusetts intended to add three, if not four, casinos within three years to take back the revenue lost in RI & CT.

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos.

Massachusetts Regions for full casinos. Doesn’t include Mashpee Wampanoags in Taunton or Plainridge Park Slot Parlor in Plainville

New Hampshire wanted to keep their citizens and revenue at home as well, so they considered legalizing gambling. (Three times, only to be turned down all three times. While NH has a budding community poker business, there is no casino in site.)

Maine had two casinos in 2012, one with a hotel and one considering hotel expansion.

And lest we forget that Atlantic City was still reeling from the recession and the arrogant denial as a day-tripping only destination. Completion and expansion from the likes of PA, NY, CT and DEL, and New Jersey’s own consideration of statewide gaming soon saw the demise of the East Coast’s #1 gambling Destination. Atlantic City was already down to 9 Casinos, soon to be 7. (While this sounds dire – and it was – it is nice to see a recent resurgence at America’s Playground.)

CHRISTMAS PRESENT 2018

Mohegan Sun Earth Tower to the right.

Connecticut casinos had stabilized a bit, with positive revenue months becoming more frequent. Then MGM Springfield opened. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun would collaborate in opening a casino in East Windsor to counteract the opening of MGM Springfield and keep more gaming dollars in Connecticut. The Department of the Interior needed to approve the third casino but the request went unanswered for months, with intense lobbying by MGM. (With a new governor in CT and the rotating door policy in the Trump administration, hope is still alive for the joint casino at the CT/MA border in East Windsor, but there are still a lot of hoops left for sure.) 

Mohegan Sun pushed forward, adding another hotel and a huge convention space addition – the largest expo space along the New York-Boston I-95 corridor. The Mohegan Sun Arena, voted Arena of the year numerous times, continues to be the entertainment jewel of New England’s casinos. 

Foxwoods tried a different route to make itself a destination to stay for gamblers and families alike. Numerous “thrill rides” have been added and family entertainment continues, while it’s Dance Clubs try to entice younger guests to the premises. With the most hotel rooms onsite of any New England Casino/Resort, Foxwoods is able to tease gamblers with free rooms to go along with it’s fabulous dining options. (This immense property continues to be hampered by it’s location “in the woods” in recent years, since casinos are rising up everywhere.)

Tiverton Casino/ Hotel.

Rhode Island’s dependence on gaming revenue continues. With the addition of table games, Twin River Management Group, owners of Twin River Casino & Hotel  and Tiverton Casino & Hotel in Rhode Island, as well as and The Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi,  stepped up the battle for casino patrons with Massachusetts by opening the new Tiverton Casino & Hotel . The Newport Grand Casino, was bought and moved to Tiverton – right on the Mass-RI border. Both Twin River and Tiverton boast hotels attached to their casinos and are now the only casinos in New England to offer Sports Betting. Twin River Casino still offers one of the top 10 largest casino floors in the country.

Massachusetts continues to add drama to casino expansion in New England. Penn National opened Plainridge Park Casino in 2015, the slots-only casino and first casino to open in Massachusetts, and has continued to build its own loyal customers. But the big news was the opening of Massachusetts’ first full fledged Las Vegas style casino – MGM Springfield. The opening was a splashing success, initiating a resurgence in Springfield’s financial future and quality of life. The style of “Industrial Chic” permeates the property as one of the recent American casinos designed for the middle of a urban area.

Inside MGM casino

Oh, by the way, did you know another casino hall is going into Eastern Massachusetts? The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) was cleared to build a class II gaming facility, or bingo hall, by the U.S. Supreme Court last January. Since then, few details have emerged about the plans, although in September the tribe’s gaming faction announced a partnership with an Oklahoma Native American gaming operation owned by the Chickasaw Nation. According to reports from tribal members, Global Gaming Solutions has agreed to invest $12 million to build a 10,000-square-foot bingo facility

The Mashpee Wampanoag’s casino in Taunton, MA, has been stalled by political red tape and completion looks bleak. The U.S. federal government, through the Department of Interior (DoI), had issued a decision stating that the the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe would not be granted the disputed land in trust for developing the First Light Resort & Casino in Taunton, South of Boston. Genting Malaysia had issued about $274 million, but construction of the resort was hampered by local residents who said the 2015 awarding of the 300 acres for putting up a casino was a misinterpretation of the Indian Reorganization Act.

New Hampshire will never approve a Las Vegas style casino for itself, but it seems the Charitable Gambling Law is alive and well in the Granite State. Poker rooms, including other table games, are increasing in popularity.

Maine’s two casinos continue to hold their own while chaos continues in southern New England. Oxford Casino expanded with added meeting space and an attached hotel. A third casino in Maine was introduced again for the York County area in a referendum for only one suitor, but, once again crashed and burned.

2018 Turmoil

Much of this past year’s expectations was marred by a downturn in reality.

All casinos saw an eventual decline in revenue – except Oxford Casino & Hotel. That dirty “S” word raised it’s ugly head again – Saturation.

Steve Wynn with his rendition of Wynn Boston Harbor

The casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned as chairman and chief executive of his company, Wynn Resorts, in response to sexual misconduct allegations spanning decades. This spawned numerous rumors of ownership and an eventual change in name for the Boston Licensed casino to Encore Boston Harbor. Construction continues to proceed on time, but The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is determining if a penalty or potential license revocation is warranted for Wynn Resorts’ $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino. The agency is investigating if the company purposely withheld knowledge of its founder’s alleged sexual misconduct during its 2013 bidding for the coveted Boston-area gaming permit. (This has caused many controversial rumors and questions. Will Caesars Entertainment, Mohegan Sun, or another industry giant step in to claim the license?  Will MGM sell it’s new MGM Springfield to be able to get the Encore Boston Harbor license? Etc….. Speculation abounds)

Finally, Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway may be getting worried about it’s instate rival in Boston.  Concerns are now being raised to change the license and add tabled games – a move that could save it and place more pressure on Rhode Island casinos.

CHRISTMAS FUTURE……What will 2020 Look Like?

Let me get out my crystal ball – or my magic eight ball – and look into New England’s Gambling Future…….

There will be nine casinos in four states. One class II, and one Slot’s-only. Online gambling in MA, RI, sports betting in MA, RI, NH,  & CT.

Springfield, Massachusetts will continue to experience a renaissance, and MGM will continue to feel stuck owning MGM Springfield while under producing the revenue and profit expected.

Encore Boston Harbor rendition, courtesy of Boston Harbor pressroom

Encore Boston Harbor, having been fined, continues to be owned by the same company minus Steve Wynn, hosting guests from all over the U.S. with exquisite hotel accommodations, high profile dining and crappy gambling.

Connecticut casinos will have to continue to diversify.  Foxwoods becomes an amusement destination as well as a casino resort. Mohegan Sun will continue construction on it’s huge project across the river of retail, housing, and wellness, including a water park.

The Norwich hospital site in Preston, to be developed by Sun. In the far top, Mohegan Sun sits

Convenience casinos such as Oxford, Hollywood, Plainridge, Tiverton, continue a status quo existence fighting for locals in Tiverton, RI., Plainville, MA., and Maine.

The Mohegan / Mashantucket tribes joint casino in East Windsor, CT will not be built. Open bidding for another casino in the southwest of CT will jeopardize the pact between the state of CT and the The Mohegan / Mashantucket tribes.  Sports betting will be available at the casinos and the availability at OTB and Keno stations will definitely nullify the pact for sole rights to gambling if the open bidding process is defeated.

Conclusion

Will there ever be a vision of prosperity for casinos, with good gambling rules, free parking, more casino hotels, and patrons that are welcomed with smiling aces, appreciated and rewarded sincerely? For the sake of New England’s recreational gamblers and New England Tourism, we once again ask, “CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!!”

Binbin

Casinos in New England – By The Numbers

NewEnglandFINALHotel, 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

Rhode Island Casino Facts

Massachusetts Casino Facts

Maine Casino Facts

Full  Casino Comparison

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.

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville, CT

Foxwoods Resort Casino

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino, Plainville, MA

Twin River Casino, Lincoln, RI

Quiet morning at Newport Grand, Newport, RI

Oxford Casino at Night

Oxford Casino, Oxford, ME

Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor, Maine

 

Poker Rooms in New England Casinos

Dogs Playing Poker

Dogs Playing Poker – My Fave!  Check out the dog, far right looking at the boxer’s cards – and the boxer hiding an ace in his paw – priceless.

While all the hub-bub continues about Massachusetts Casinos this, and New England Casino Saturation that, one thing continues to be in the gaming world – Poker.  In New England, we have three, soon to be four, casinos with poker.  Here’s what’s going on in N.E.Time Gambling’s Poker World.

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

HOLLYWOOD CASINO, HOTEL & RACEWAY – BANGOR, MAINE

Hollywood Casino is pleased to offer Maine’s only Live Poker room. Here are some of it’s Games & Promotions

PROGRESSIVE HIGH HANDS – Tuesday & Thursday, 8:00pm till Closing.

Get any of the posted High Hands and win $100.

BAD BEAT JACKPOT – “Bad Beat” means a high ranking poker hand that is beat by a higher-ranking hand (ex: Four Ten’s losing to a Straight Flush). Both qualifying hands will be listed based upon amount in the Bad Beat. Rules may be found here.

POKER PROGRESSIVES – In Texas Hold’em and 7 Card Stud, win Jackpots with four-of-a-kinds and same suit straight flushes.

Mohegan Sun Poker Room

The Mohegan Sun Poker Room in the Casino of the Wind.

MOHEGAN SUN RESORT CASINO – UNCASVILLE, CONNECTICUT

HIGH HAND JACKPOT – EVERY 3 HOURS THE POKER PLAYER WITH THE HIGHEST HAND WILL WIN! Get your shot to win HUGE High Hand payouts every 3 hours, 7 days a week.

PROGRESSIVE BAD BEAT JACKPOT

MONTHLY TOP PLAYER PROMOTION – Play in any Mohegan Sun live cash game or poker tournament to be eligible to qualify for a daily $10 food coupon. Cash players who log a minimum of 72 hours of play during the month and tournament players who accumulate a minimum of 35 tournament points during the month, will receive a daily $10 food coupon the month following their qualification.

DAILY TOURNAMENTS

For more information on Poker at Mohegan Sun, click here.

Last in this Blog, but certainly not the least in New England – and the country:

Foxwoods Poker Room

Largest Poker Room in New England at Foxwoods

FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO – MASHENTUCKET, CONNECTICUT

TWO BAD BEAT POKER GAMES – The Foxwoods Hold’em Bad Beat Jackpot will award a portion of the Jackpot to the player who has a hand of Quad 8s or better and loses to a higher ranking hand. The Stud Bad Beat Jackpot will award a portion of the Jackpot to the player who has a hand of Quad 2s or better and loses to a higher ranking hand. Both Bad Beat Jackpots are fully player-funded and are progressive.

FOXWOODS WORLD POKER FINALS – OCTOBER 3 – 19, 2015.  Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the World Poker Finals continues to be one of the premiere tournament events on the world poker scene. The tournament is open to the public giving anyone the opportunity to mix it up with top pros and amateurs alike.

WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY NIGHT – $160 NO LIMIT HOLD’EM with $10,000 guaranteed! Starts at 6:00 PM

SATURDAY – $300- NO LIMIT HOLD’EM with $25,000 guaranteed! Starts at 6:00 PM

For Special Poker Events at Foxwoods and all information about its POKER ROOM, click here

 

DON’T FORGET, TWIN RIVER CASINO – LINCOLN, RHODE ISLAND – WILL BE ADDING 16 POKER TABLES THIS FALL

 

That’s the poker wrap-up.  Enjoy!

Binbin