Mayor Sarno Needs To Focus on Springfield

According to MassLive’s Peter Goonan, Mayor Domenic Sarno reacted to a court decision favorable MMCT’s proposal for a new tribal casino in Connecticut, by referring  to it as a “glorified slots parlor.”

Wow, did he follow that up with a “nah, nah-nah, nah nah… or sticking out his tongue?”

Sarno obviously doesn’t know the differences in casino offerings.  If he wants to see what a “slot parlor” IS, he should go east to Plainville, MA where Plainridge Park Casino, the only Massachusetts casino resides and is the only one bringing in revenue.

You see Mr. Sarno, slot joints don’t have table games.  But, Mr. Sarno, let’s compare the casino aspect of each future property:

PROPERTY                          MGM SPRINGFIELD                       MMCT EAST WINDSOR, CT CASINO

Gaming Space                          125,000-square-foot                       200,000 square foot
Slot Machines                          3,000 slot machines                        2,000 slot machines
Table Games                               75 gaming tables                            50 to 150 gaming tables
Both will have a poker room, high limit areas, hospitality services like restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

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

So where’s the difference?  Well, the CT casino has proposed more square footage and more table games.  Hmmm, doesn’t sound like a glorified slot parlor to me.

Now, we know that proposals change, right Mr. Sarno?  MGM’s Michael Mathis admitted that things change – hopefully to enhance the final product. CT’s casino may change from its original plan.  But don’t hold it against them. Remember the following MGM changes & proposal changes?

  1. Where is that hotel tower MGM initially promised?  Oh yeah, plans were changed.
  2. And jobs for the residents of Springfield? According to Chris Goudreau from ValleyAdvocate@Play.com, More than half of the unemployed population in Springfield — 2,150 people — could be automatically disqualified from getting a job at the MGM casino, slated to open in late-2018, under the current state gaming laws, according to MGM research performed to help change the Massachusetts gaming law.  I understand you are a “man of the people” and are working to help change the employment considerations set up by the state and the MGC.  That change has promise for the people of Springfield!

    An updated rendering released in September 2015 shows MGM Springfield’s scaled-back hotel plan, which no longer includes a 25-story glass tower. Pictured here is the new site of the hotel, at Main and Howard.
    MGM SPRINGFIELD / COURTESY THE SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN PHOTO DESK

     

  3. How about apartments for the area around the casino? MGM may put some of its market-rate apartments in the old Court Square Hotel on Elm Street, across from Springfield City Hall. Now its plans for the old school department building at 195 State Street are unclear.  MGM has been considering putting all its apartments at the old Court Square Hotel.  In case you don’t know, market rate housing is any apartment that has no rent restrictions. A landlord who owns market rate housing is free to attempt to rent the space at whatever price the local market may fetch, beneficial for landlords, as it is less complicated and they may be able to generate higher rent income as a result.  Definitely not affordable housing to help out Springfield’s residents.

So, changes do happen in the planning. They are to be expected – just ask MGM.  And it’s true!

So, Mr. Sarno, why are you so worried about CT’s third casino?  Do you have so little faith in MGM’s promise to raise the quality of life with this new model of “urban casino?” Concentrate on what matters most – the future of Springfield, MA.  The residents, the businesses, the unemployed – they all need your help.

MGM’s plans include lots to be excited about.  Fresh ideas entwined with MGM success and Springfield’s blue-collar fabric make for big potential.  MGM is not a casino company, it’s a “resort” company – and a very successful one at that. Look at what they are building for Springfield:

Armory Marketplace, rendering courtesy of MGM Springfield.

The “Amory Square” – Dining, Retail and Entertainment District has so much to offer the residents and visitors of Springfield:

  • 165,000 square feet of dining, retail and entertainment space
  • 15 shops and restaurants
  • Movie cinema – 50,000 sq-ft and 12 screens
  • Bowling alley – 20,000 sq-ft
  • Outdoor stage for free live music and entertainment
  • Location between Union and Howard streets
  • Multi-level parking garage with 5,000 parking spaces. (as long as it’s FREE parking?)

And a Hotel that offers:

  • 25-story hotel with 250 rooms
  • World-class spa
  • Pool – 10,000 square fee
  • Roof deck – 35,000 square fee
  • Outdoor garden
  • Meeting and banquet space – 40,000 square feet
  • The hotel will use the existing building facade at 73 State Street

This is what MGM does best.

Finally Mr. Sarno, I believe you should follow your own advice concerning MGM Springfield, “…..my focus should and will be on what we can direct and control – continuing to put a first class resort establishment in Springfield.”  (Your words, no one else’s!) Stay away from the name calling – it shows a lack of understanding and is beneath those officials in government we, and Springfield, put our trust in.

Enough said.

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

 

 

MGM Casino Study of Fairfield County Raises More Questions Than Answers

Welcome To Fairfield

Welcome To Fairfield

Someone over at MGM is really doing their homework.

What seemed at first to be another distraction to the CT legislature and MMCT’s (the Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun joint venture) third casino in the Hartford, may actually be something to pursue.

MGM Resorts Logo

MGM Resorts

Recently, a study commissioned by MGM has concluded that a third Connecticut casino would be better suited for the I-95 corridor in Fairfield County, not the I-91 corridor in Hartford County that’s closer to the MGM Springfield casino site. Connor Berry of the Republic reported Oxford Economics, an independent global advisory firm, stated in the report that “Locating a casino in southwest Connecticut would generate far greater economic benefits than locating one in north central Connecticut because southwest Connecticut offers a much deeper market.”

NETime Gambling notes two big reasons for validating this study:

  • The New York City Market (including the northern New Jersey proposals) is still a large market waiting to be tapped.  Even with the additions of Resorts World and Empire City, NYC shows a longing for the “Vegas Experience” with the attendance and popularity of these casinos and also area racetracks..  It could also hinder New York Gambling traffic to Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods.  Touche’!
  • General Electric Co. announced that it will be moving its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston, starting this summer, making “Beantown” the hometown of one of the world’s largest companies.
On the I-95 NY/CT border.  Should it "Fairfield County, Home of CT's Newest Casino?"

On the I-95 NY/CT border. Should it “Fairfield County, Home of CT’s Newest Casino?”

GE Headquarters in CT

GE Headquarters in CT

What will CT and towns surrounding Fairfield lose?

  1. Housing market has already seen some softening in recent months.
  2. The region will lose the millions of dollars in taxable income earned by those seasoned, experienced workers.
  3. Human resources services to small businesses in Fairfield County associated with GE will lose $14 billion a year to Connecticut suppliers.
  4. Community involvement. Last year GE gave some $10 million in charitable contributions in Connecticut, and its workers — who sit on hundreds of boards throughout the state — gave 49,000 volunteer hours.
  5. Jobs. GE employs 800 workers at its headquarters and about 5,000 elsewhere in Connecticut.

So, the MGM proposal for a casino in Fairfield might help fill that void and hurt the CT casinos concerning out-of-state patrons from New York.

Jim Murren and MGM Resorts

Jim Murren & MGM Resorts

This Study actually proposes more questions than answers:

  • Will MGM law suit again CT concerning fair trade have legs enough to open the door to independent gaming outside of the tribal casinos?
  • Will CT & MMCT look at adding a 4th casino proposal in Fairfield?
  • Is MGM interested in both Hartford area & Springfield area Casinos in CT?
  • Could CT handle two casinos, never mind one – no matter who is running them?
  • If MGM’s law suit succeeds, could we see Caesar’s, Sands, Penn National, and other industry companies vie for either Hartford or Fairfield sites? (Remember, Bridgeport was once considered for a casino by The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of CT)

The next move – like a well-thought-out chess match – is now in the hands of CT. Preparations for the MGM law suit are monumental.  If the law suit fails, Connecticut is back at square one for it’s third casino.  Otherwise, who knows what could break loose!

Binbin

MGM Springfield – Random Thoughts

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

I want MGM Springfield to succeed.

There, I said it.

I want it to bring revenue for an economically needy city, I want it to be beautiful and to enhance the rundown parts of Springfield.

thI want it to be another casino jewel in New England to solidify southern New England as a gambling/tourist destination.  MGM, Wynn, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Twin River – all large casinos with amenities to provide for vacations & stay-cations alike.

But I still have doubts to accompany the excitement of a top-class resort venue and their journey to 2018.  So here are random thoughts about the MGM Springfield project and related issues:

The original plan video can be seen here. The original plans were impressive, but now take away the tower, lower the parking garage by two floors, and move 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 by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas long ago.  It has modern looks like MGM’s latest “Aria,” but much brighter.

VIDEO CLIP – MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis explains changes.

No free alcohol on the Casino Floor -Plainridge Park Slot Parlor

No free alcohol on the Casino Floor -Plainridge Park Slot Parlor

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!

MGM Atlanta

MGM Atlanta

MGM is a giant in the gambling industry and shouldn’t have any trouble separating their concerns in Macau & Las Vegas.  But their project in Atlanta, the first casino in Georgia, might be more of an interest than Springfield.  Massachusetts hasn’t been the most welcome state in the country concerning Wynn & MGM’s interests.

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

I’m encouraged about then East-West connection the rewards club, MLife, will provide.  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!

MGM dismisses everyone else in New England (except Wynn) as no competition. Eliminating the hotel tower is disappointing.  Yet, their “hotel on its side” plan idea is supposed to be the thing that distinguishes them from the Foxwoods & Mohegan Suns of the world.  Sorry MGM, we know you are big stuff in the gaming industry, but rationalizing a downgraded hotel as game changing in the casino industry is just insulting.  New Englanders just aren’t that naive and stupid.

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s, minus the Hotel Tower

Speaking of the comparison to Connecticut’s casinos, if the Nutmeg State’s casinos (including a third in the Hartford area) are not a threat to MGM Springfield, why the law suit, why the comparisons to CT instead of watching out west to New York State, and why say you want a casino in CT (Bridgeport) only to have pulled out of Foxwoods?  Hypocrisy I say.

Changes in design plans DO happen all the time, and rising costs are sighted as the reasons for these changes – whether it’s a Mall, housing project, or a casino.  I’m more concerned with what MGM is going to bring to gamblers.  So, MGM, I ask you – what advantage do I have spreading my money in Springfield compared to other New England options?

Poor VP Pay outs in many MGM properties. Jacks or better at 7/5.

Poor VP Pay outs in many MGM properties. Jacks or better at 7/5.

Will MGM have the same poor to mediocre Video Poker paytables that are in all their other properties?  The exception is Borgata in Atlantic City which they share with Boyd Gaming. You’re going to have to make your gambling options better if you seriously want to compete with CT & RI.

images (3)I wonder what plans MGM Springfield has concerning smoking.  The options provided for smokers at Plainridge Park seem almost punitive.  Massachusetts Casino Law has the entire casino as non-smoking.

I have so many other thoughts, questions and requests concerning MGM Springfield, but they will just have to wait.

My brain hurts, time for a break.

Tomorrow its a look at Thanksgiving dining promotion at New England’s casinos.

Binbin

 

 

 

Connecticut Casino Proposals Running out of Time

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,

According to the Kenneth Gosselin of the Hartford Courant, the tribes that operate the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos are seeking to jointly open and operate a gaming venue in the capital region to blunt competition from a megacasino now under construction in nearby Springfield. But to be honest, MGM continues to tweak it’s “megacasino” in a way more like downsizing the project due to the threat of Connecticut’s third casino. Click here for

Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT

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

For the past month, the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots have sought proposals from towns and cities.  The tribes said late last week that they don’t intend to announce the names of the municipalities submitting proposals when the deadline passes Friday at 4 p.m. But at least East Hartford and East Windsor appear locked in.

Bradley International Airport sign

Bradley International Airport & Casino not in the cards.

Previous considerations for Windsor Locks at Bradley International Airport and the Enfield Mall were voted down by town officials and residents.

The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans envision a casino with 2,000 slot machines and 100 to 150 tables, with an estimated development cost of $200 million to $300 million. The size of the casino and other amenities would range from 150,000 to 350,000 square feet, with the latter half the size of MGM Springfield.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

East Windsor is the new entrant into the Satellite Sweepstakes. Denise Menard, East Windsor’s first selectman, said the town will propose a casino at another shuttered Showcase Cinema visible from I-91, about 8 miles from the East Hartford theater and a 12-minute drive away, and an adjoining property where there was once a Wal-Mart.

Both East Hartford and East Windsor have access to main interstate I-91, with East Hartford also having I-84 crossing in front of it.

The deadline passes after Friday, 4:00pm.

A few other posts along the MGM lines included:

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

Can Jim Murren; MGM Resorts Be Trusted in Springfield?

Binbin

CT Casino At Bradley Airport is Absurd

Bradley International Airport sign
Bradley International Airport & Casino?

The Associated Press reported that the head of the Connecticut Airport Authority wants to bring a casino to Bradley International Airport.

“The airport represents a very viable location because of its significant levels of passenger traffic, and the CAA believes a casino can be incorporated into improvements that are being advanced for the terminal campus area,” said Kevin Dillon, the airport authority’s executive director.

southern New England

Location, Location, Location

However, Bradley Airport the 55th busiest airport in the country and only have 6 carriers in and out of it’s terminals at this time. ( I am counting American & American Eagle, for example as one company.)  The fact that fares are relatively higher on these carriers compared to New York or Boston. and are similar in status to Greene in Warwick, Rhode Island, have slowed any growth that was hoped for.  It is in the process of tearing down the old Terminal B.

Bradley Airports Terminal B, slated for demolition.

Bradley Airports Terminal B, slated for demolition.

For the latest update on the proposed renovation project at Bradley Airport from the Hartford Courant, click here.

I believe the Connecticut Airport Authority sees easy dollar signs prancing across the airport terminals without realizing what the State of CT is looking for to slot revenue. I also believe they don’t understand the clientele.

As the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans working together to pursue a third property to compete to hold expected job and revenue losses going to the MGM casino planned across the state line, in Springfield, Massachusetts, state officials are looking to stave off one thing – loss of slot revenue to Massachusetts. For an earlier post to review, check out “Connecticut Casino Plans Continue to Take Shape.”

The airport is not the best place for the state’s financial needs – but maybe for the Bradley’s financial needs, which is why the CAA is pushing it for the third casino’s home. Why is it a bad idea for CT’s third casino?  Read on…..

  1. Gamblers want to visit casinos with little hassle and plenty of time to eat, drink and play in a comfortable environment. Fighting airport traffic, parking, noise and the general controlled chaos at any airport discourages gamblers that would spend the money that CT is looking for.  
  2. The transient crowd of passengers from the airport will not provide the revenue CT is looking for.
  3. Let’s face it, having a choice between a snazzy, new casino off the highway, or a snazzy new casino sharing space with an Airport away from the highway, (and they are 15 minutes away from each other) most gamblers will decide on the former, not the latter.

downloadWindsor Locks, the town where the airport is located, has been asked to consider working with the airport authority on the proposal.  A month ago, the community of South Windsor voted not to entertain any casino proposal in their town.  Community backing is a must. Will Windsor Locks vote differently?

AP reports “Windsor Locks First Selectman Steven Wawruck Jr. said the potential drawbacks to hosting a casino would have to be discussed but he is interested in exploring the prospects. ‘With shrinking state revenues and jobs on the decline, it’s important to explore all opportunities and keep dollars and jobs in Connecticut,’ he said.”

Explore all opportunities and keep dollars and jobs in Connecticut. That’s the point. If Connecticut wants to keep jobs & revenue, then traffic access, availability to build, community support, and a quick turnaround for operation are the main criteria for the third casino.

An airport and a mall in Enfield just won’t do.  East Hartford is the best offer so far.

But, what do you think? I challenge you to comment on two questions:

Is a third casino good for CT? Why or Why not?

and

Where should it be built – Enfield Mall, East Hartford Showcase Theater, or Bradley International Airport?

Send me a comment on your thoughts.

Binbin

 

 

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

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Casino Industry Worried?

After chatting with friends and colleagues recently in Las Vegas concerning their thoughts on Massachusetts’ Gaming Expansion, it seemed to be unanimous – Massachusetts is doing it their way, but not necessarily the best way.  They are running a little scared lately, but are too stubborn to show it. It includes badgering Steve Wynn, making Rush Gaming Developers wait for a Region C decision, and letting MGM

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s cut down proposal.

change this and that without approval. It seems the Bay State’s opinion of Mohegan Sun Resorts follows the same narrow-minded spin.

Bruce Mohl, from Commonwealth Magazine, recently reported in his article “Casino Border Wars” that Mohegan Sun as an underachiever not good enough for Massachusetts.  With the history Mass casinos so far, they would have been so lucky to have Mohegan Sun part of that gambling Plan.

His reasons for such a poor opinion of the Mohegan Tribe’s casinos?  Well, let’s take a look:

  1. A key reason for the casino’s success was the large number of customers pouring over the border from Massachusetts. That’s True. But let’s include Maine, NH, Vermont, Rhode Island, NY, and NJ (which took a bite out of Atlantic City).  It’s because both Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun are “Destinations,” unlike Plainridge Park Casino (a box of slots – MGM’s own description) and the proposal in Brockton which represents a mid-level locals casino in Nevada.
  2. Not welcome in Palmer.
    Mohegan Palmer Casino

    Mohegan Sun’s rendition of Mohegan Palmer Casino

    Palmer Mohegan Sun applied for the Region A (Western) license of 150 acres of land purchased in Palmer – land that was waste-free (Everett) and didn’t entail bulldozing blocks of historical buildings (MGM in Springfield) and was closer to the newest threat to western Massachusetts. The bid was rejected by 94 votes out of over 5200. Why? It would “destroy the rural character of a town.” So, instead, they mirror the state’s poverty level of 11% and added a Motor Speedway.  Go figure.

  3. Not Welcome in Revere. Mohegan Sun joined forces with Suffolk Downs in Revere in a bid to win the eastern Massachusetts casino license, however, Wynn Resorts was chosen to build a casino in Everett. Wynn was great in winning over the Gaming Commission, by criticizing the Revere proposal as Mohegan Sun’s pursuit was “to protect its flagship casino in Connecticut.”
    mohegan-sun-revere-casino-rendering-7414f532fa69586d

    Rendition of Mohegan Sun at Suffolk Downs in Revere

    The MGC believed it, even though the Mohegan Tribe has made Resorts Casino in AC a winner and it’s Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania continues to be a success.

  4. Protecting It’s Own Casino Interests. Mr. Mohl and the rest of Massachusetts thinks it’s awful that Mohegan would expand to other areas to protect its assets. But, he just doesn’t get it.  MGM & Wynn expanded outside of Las Vegas, and they did it to expand their brand. MGM is looking at Georgia for an additional site, and both are in China. Expanding their brand.  Penn National expanded to Plainville after already owning Hollywood Hotel Casino in Bangor, Maine.  They now own two New England casinos, yet nothing was said about Plainridge Park protecting it’s Hollywood Casino.  The Mohegan Tribe, much like Penn, MGM, Wynn, Caesars’, etc have the right to expand.  If you’re successful in the casino industry, that’s what you do.

Mohl’s bottom line, and I quote, “What all this maneuvering tells you is that Mohegan Sun — and the state of Connecticut — are very worried about the impact of Massachusetts casinos on the casino businesses in Connecticut and willing to do just about anything to blunt their impact.”

If something doesn’t scare you, or threaten you, ignore it? But if it is a concern, pay a lot of attention to it – and that’s just what Massachusetts is doing.  CT knows that more casinos in New England will impact their two large destination casinos, so they are doing something about it.  But Massachusetts continues to look south to CT and south-east to Rhode Island as both states make plans to battle or New England’s gamblers.

Rendition Wampanoag Casino in Taunton

Rendition Wampanoag Casino in Taunton

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the state most worried about it’s share of the pie.  MGM wouldn’t be trying to stall CT’s third casino and the MGC wouldn’t be considering no Region C license due to the Wampanoag’s casino proposal gaining momentum if they weren’t. Plainridge Park has seen two straight months of decline – a sudden concern – and Twin River & the CT casinos have seen positive revenue in recent months.  MGM says it’s not worried, but continues to cut back its approved proposal in Springfield, and both MGM & Wynn won’t be making money for the Bay State until late 2018.

So who’s doing the most maneuvering and who is the most worried?

I say Massachusetts.

That’s all for now.

 

Binbin

 

Can Jim Murren & MGM Resorts Be Trusted in Springfield?

Jim Murren, MGM Resorts

Jim Murren & MGM – Can they be believed?

It has not been a good year to be a shareholder in a major casino company. Yet MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren is smiling at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this week: “We’re doing better”

And despite all the drama MGM has caused in Springfield, Massachusetts, in Connecticut, and for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the head of MGM Resorts International insists the company remains committed to building a casino in downtown Springfield despite a recent redesign that eliminated a 25-story hotel and associated apartments.

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield

The project will still include a 250-room, six-story hotel and 30 to 35 market-rate apartments that will be built in a former school department building that’s been vacant since 2010, MGM President William Hornbuckle said after meeting with Mayor Dominic Sarno. Hornbuckle said that he was disappointed the hotel tower, but obviously the talking heads of MGM would spin it that way. He promised that the casino would still open in September 2018 and provide 3,000 jobs, which I do believe will happen. Will it be the blueprint that was originally expected?…that remains to be seen.

East Hartford Casino

Mr. Murren, this is one of the other two possible CT third casino sites. Did you forget to mention there were three? No mall here!

He also dismissed possible competition from a casino proposed for northern Connecticut, not far from Springfield.  But still contends that they ought to be able to build in CT.  “Does Connecticut come into play?” he said. “The answer is unequivocally no.”  Every time MGM dismisses CT’s “box of slots” approach to battle MGM Springfield with their imposed air of passive, over-confident arrogance, (acting as if MGM has nothing to worry about) they turn around looking for more litigation against the Nutmeg State. At G2E in Las Vegas this past week, Jim Murren mocked the proposed satellite operation — “It’s a shopping center, that’s sexy” — while still insisting it could threaten his company’s massive investment.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady reacts to beating the Cowboys. Where’s Greg Hardy

Must be nice to think he knows everything, and to pass that opinion on to the Las Vegas big wigs at G2E.  It makes no sense that something that will not “come into play” takes so much of their time outside the actual casino project.  He sounded like Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys before getting embarrassed by the Patriots 30-7 – far from the truth but full of arrogant bravado.

Shouldn’t Springfield legislators and the Mass Gaming Commission be concerned with the project being built by a company that:
  • changes plans without consent of the MGC or City of Springfield
  • continues to struggle with their casino project in Macau, China
  • saw a decrease in it’s Las Vegas revenue
  • is building a 20,000 seat arena in Las Vegas, but refuses to build parking, even though the cities residents have asked for parking

MGM SpringfieldThe Springfield City Council, meanwhile, has called for a nonbinding citywide referendum in November on the proposed design changes. Some councilors are questioning whether the project will still deliver on promises of 2,000 construction jobs and other economic benefits. But remember, MGM announced the design changes two weeks ago, citing in large part rising construction costs. Some members of the state’s Gaming Commission expressed concerns.

The new design will be subject to a vote in the city council and approval by Mayor Domenic Sarno, who has voiced preliminary approval of the changes as the city conducts a full review. The changes include the change in hotel layout, eliminating the original hotel tower, the elimination of 250 to 300 parking spaces by removing one floor from the planned parking garage and the relocation of planned market-rate housing off-site.

The real question is, “Can the MGM really be believed & trusted to follow ALL that the MGC and the Springfield intended?
Time will tell.
Binbin

 

MGM’s Real Intentions in Suing Connecticut

imagesMGM continues to pursue it’s litigation with the State of Connecticut concerning a third casino, saying it “… is the result of an illegal and unfair gaming act…” according to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Essentially, the 14th amendment addresses “Equal justice under law” and mostly refers to states rights against discrimination. According to MGM, this includes the discrimination of commercial competition.  When Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun were allowed to agree to a casino outside their tribal lands, should they have opened it up to the industry?

massachusetts-to-pilot-new-tool-to-limit-gambling-lossesYES, I say!  Take a page out of Massachusetts playbook, as follows:

  • Step 1 – Charge anyone interested the $400,000 application fee.
  • Step 2 – Quickly set up voting for community endorsements.
  • Step 3 – Whittle away those that Connecticut thinks are not in it’s best interest.
  • Step 4 – Pick the casino that they had in mind all along – like Massachusetts did with MGM Springfield & Wynn Everett.

Then everybody’s happy, right?  The process is done – the result is the same.

Basically, MGM is saying this pact denies other industry interests to build a casino in the Nutmeg state.  In 2006, MGM was looking to increase its brand recognition on the East Coast, and partnered in a relationship with Foxwoods. The MGM tower in 2008 at a cost of $700 million.

Fox Tower at Foxwoods

Fox Tower at Foxwoods – Originally the MGM Casino & Tower.

In 2008, MGM pulled out of its partnership.  According to then MGM spokeman Clark Dumont, MGM wanted to “avoid confusing consumers as it pursues a bid to build its own casino Springfield, Mass.  So, what is so different now?  If MGM is truly concerned for the state’s residents and rights of further casino industry commerce, wouldn’t a MGM casino built in CT now “confuse consumers?”

Of course. This legal strategy IS not only to confuse consumers, but DRAG out the beginning of Connecticut casino threat to MGM Springfield, and GAIN time for it’s already late opening in 2018.

Hypocrites – hiding their real intentions behind a smoke screen of the constitution for their own selfishness.  Their presence in CT with the Foxwoods partnership wasn’t good enough in 2008 – why do they want a chance now?

They really don’t!  They are scared that the CT satellite casino on the border will spoil their party – because the mighty MGM wants the ONLY party.  Hey MGM, have you noticed what’s happening west in New York State?

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Connecticut Officials Given Extended Time to MGM Legal Suit

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy

Gov. Dannel Malloy, Secretary of State Denise Merrill and Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Jonathan Harris will have until Oct. 1 to prepare for the legal suit by MGM Resorts International over the state’s plan to build a new tribal gaming facility.  MGM’s filed a lawsuit on August 11  that accused the state of unconstitutionally favoring Connecticut Indian tribes in its newly-passed gaming bill. The original deadline was Sept. 1.

imagesConnecticut Federal District Court Judge Alvin Thompson explained that “…due to the nature of Plaintiff’s claims and the press of other business in both the state and federal courts, the undersigned requires additional time to prepare an appropriate response.”  MGM did not oppose the extension, the motion said, and the Connecticut officials were granted the extension.  I actually they would have hoped for a further deadline to bide more time since their property is now scheduled for late 2018!

The amendment to the Connecticut law allows the Mohegan & Pequot tribes currently operating their own casinos under federal Indian gaming law to issue a request for proposals for a new casino. Any municipality in the state could respond and negotiate a development deal with the tribes. MGM calls this unconstitutional, saying “…by authorizing the new casino on state rather than tribal land, the restriction is illegal race-based discrimination and unfairly prevents out-of-state companies from seeking the new license.”

One possible property available now is the closed Showcase Cinemas in East Hartford off of I-84

One possible property available now is the closed Showcase Cinemas in East Hartford off of I-84

The law is specific in who is eligible to build the new casino: a business entity “owned exclusively by both the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut.”  It’s intentions is to keep jobs and gambling revenue in the state.

MGM’s intentions could be many:

  1. To get a chance for a casino in Connecticut, even though they pulled out the partnership with Foxwoods a few years ago.
  2. To waste Connecticut’s time in litigation so that the Satellite casino run by both tribes can’t get a running start at controlling the I-91 corridor minutes from Springfield.
  3. To slow a reaction by CT to the impending threat of Massachusetts gaming which through naivete or arrogance, MGM disregarded as a consideration.

October 1st – more fireworks to come!

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Wynn & MGM – Industry Giants: Arrogant Bullies or Just Acting Badly in New England

“Two guys walk into a New England bar….you’d think the second would have seen it.”  Old joke, I know.  But it fits as you will see at the end of this post.

New England

New England

There’s an old saying in New England about those of us who have lived her and grown up here all our lives. “We don’t accept friendship easily, but when we do, it’s everlasting.”

It’s true that a stereotype of New Englanders is that we can be disagreeable, tending to be suspicious & cautious until we get to know ya.  Trust seems to take more time here in the northeast than other places, but if trust is gained, it’s everlasting. Maybe it’s the tough winters, the three days of spring, the long humid summers, followed by a never-ending falling of leaves, leaves and more leaves.

Fishing in Rhode Island

Fishing in Rhode Island

Whatever is the cause – the weather, the blue-collar history of hard work in textile and fishing industries – when people move here to do business, they need to do their homework to earn our trust.

So in walks two big-wigs from the west.  They are convinced that a) no one knows the gaming industry better than them, and b) they are the kings of manipulation, unstoppable, having their own way, no matter what us peasants in New England want. It is an arrogance that has romanticized the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to the point that Steven  Crosby and his cronies are willing to give Murren & Wynn carte blanche! Continue reading

MGM Grand Suit vs CT – NETG Has a Answer

David Collins, who posts editorials for the New London Day, is not someone I particularly agree with most of the time.  Usually he finds reasons to badger the two casinos in CT on monthly rants about their evils and harm to the Nutmeg State.  But today, I was stunned to find myself agreeing with his editorial.

Mr. Collins starts out by saying, “If there was any doubt that MGM Resorts, developer of a new casino in Springfield, Mass., is worried about plans for a proposed tribal border casino in Connecticut, the big gambling company proved it this week with a federal lawsuit aimed at stopping the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots.”

th (82)YOU BETCHA!  Not only that, but I would go one step further….MGM knows that this is a shot in the dark, much like the NFL attorneys are starting to feel the error in their litigation with Tom Brady.  Both are similar. How? – THEY BIDE TIME, but for different reasons. As David Collins puts it, “…Still, the lawsuit puts an immediate cloud on Connecticut’s plans — if nothing else, a prospect of endless legal delays.”  That’s it. This huge smoke screen is just an attempt to stop Connecticut’s attempt to get into the border game before them.  This giant of the gaming industry – who owns over 1/3 of the Las Vegas Strip – is worried they won’t be able to pillage CT as they were so sure they would.

One last quote from Mr. Collins’s article before I make my simply naive solution:

The Wampanoags proposal is outside their reservation in Massachussetts.

The Wampanoags proposal is outside their reservation in Massachussetts.

“…..MGM’s lawsuit is based in part on a warning that Jepsen issued before Connecticut lawmakers gave the tribes a yellow light for a new casino, an argument that giving the tribes exclusive rights for an off-reservation casino could be unconstitutional, in violation of the equal protection clause. Curiously, the Massachusetts law that allowed MGM to pursue a casino license also gives Massachusetts American Indians certain preferences in pursuing a southeastern Massachusetts license.”

So, let’s take a page out of Massachusetts own playbook.  We’ll call it “Deflate-MGM-gate.”

Step 1. Form a temporary commission headed by Attorney General Jepsen to decide on the license to be sure that it is fair judgement (like the MGC did with Steve Crosby, and his cronies for the final choice of Wynn & MGM.)

th (84)

Proposed look of casino in closed Showcase Cinemas building in East Hartford

Step 2.  Allow MGM and any other industry giant who thinks they want a piece of the casino pie in Connecticut for ONE CASINO LICENSE to put up $400,000 for an application fee, but make it sooner, like within two weeks. Oh wait, add inflation, so make $500,000 per license.  (Remember

Mohegan Palmer casino rendering

Mohegan Palmer casino rendering

that Mohegan Sun put up $800,000 for two licenses in Palmer and Revere only to be not “good enough” for the MGC.).  The license is complete with the understanding that all taxes to the state is the same as the pact now in play with the Mohegans & the Pequots.

Step 3. Take their money. Give a shorter amount of time than Massachusetts (I mean, doesn’t everyone want to get started right away to get CT’s money & jobs?) for finalizing their artist renditions, plans and start community searches for a prospective place in CT for their additional casino.

Step 4. One month to get community approval.

Meanwhile, the two tribes may continue to work on their proposal off the reservation the same way Massachusetts has allowed the Mashpee Wampanoags to try to get their act together independently of the four area licenses in that state!

Step 5. Decide what’s best for CT, which is the first plan. The two tribes build a satellite casino, later than expected, but still before MGM & WYNN can get up & running.

Simple, right?

  • Takes less time off the clock to get started in Connecticut to please big arrogant meanie Jim Murren of MGM.
  • CT gets the players it really wanted all along for its casino to battle MGM on the border – much like MA did with MGM & WYNN.
  • CT makes money on the process  – much like Massachuetts did dismissing the “also-rans” in their “fair” process.

Told you it was simple.  David Collins editorial can be found on following link: “Let MGM bid on a new casino”  It’s a great read.

That’s all for now.

Binbin