MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

I’ve always thought it was lazy to just promote someone else’s post in place of mine, but today is the exception.

While reading the morning paper, I came upon David Collins’s article in The Day.

Bravo!

(standing up, clapping, and getting a strange look from my wife)

David Collins is Genius. Bravo! Bravo!

What was I excited about?  His OpEd on the recent MGM bomb dropped on Connecticut concerning a casino in Bridgeport.  After yesterday’s NETG post MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles, explaining the many considerations and connections involved with a Bridgeport Casino in CT, I was wondering if I was objective enough, or maybe too objective.

David Collins, New London Day Columnist

Then David Collins comes along today and says so articulately what many of us think in MGM’s meddling in CT’s affairs.

THIS IS A MUST READ.

So, without further ado, click on this post by David Collins.

MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did at NETG.  You can contact David Collins at email  d.collins@theday.com & Twitter  DavidCollinsct

Bin

NETimeGambling.com – Highlights of Last Two Weeks

August has arrived, is it the end of summer?  

Well, let’s take you back a few weeks to the best received posts from the past two weeks, with a gambling riddles intertwined…… courtesy of from http://www.jokes4us.com/dirtyjokes/gamblingjokes.html

SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED!

July 20th – MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

A comparison post, MGM Springfield two years ago and the present.

What did the dealer say to the deck of cards? ……..”I can’t deal with you anymore.” 

July 24th – Comped Drink Systems Is a Good Change  

Video Poker Bar

While all the other changes by corporate bean counters has me pulling out the little hair I have left, paying for drinks through play is not so bad in this blogger’s opinion.

What does a BlackJack player eat for dinner…..Whatever his comp card allows him to! 

July 25th – Wynn Boston Harbor Drinking Hours Extended With Opposition

My, My………we have seen the influence of MGM on the Massachusetts legislature and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, now the other casino giant has gotten it’s way through the back door.

Whats the difference between online poker and live poker?…….You can cry after a bad beat online and no one will laugh at you. 

 

 

Aug 1st – Gambling Losing Streaks

7 SUGGESTIONS FOR DEALING WITH LOSING STREAKS

 

 

Finally, a quote from Paul Newman  “If you’re playing a poker game and look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you”

Have a great week!

Binbin

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 Springfield Winning the Casino War?

How successful will MGM Springfield be?  It’s supposed to be different from all the other MGM properties, and almost all of the American brick-and-mortar casinos open at this moment.

Main St. in Springfield, Mass., 1910.

There is a lot of excitement in Springfield these days.  There is a lot of hope as well.  Much of it depends on what MGM Springfield will bring to a city looking for a break, looking for a chance to crawl out of financial and cultural hole it has been stuck in for decades. Overall decline of industry throughout the northeastern U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s seemed to be the catalyst for the city’s decline, and Springfield developed a national reputation for crime, political corruption and cronyism, which stands in stark contrast to the reputation it enjoyed throughout much of U.S. history.

Now,  the third-largest city in Massachusetts is getting help from MGM International, helping it rise from the ashes with financial backing, jobs for it’s area residents and promise for tourism, the arts, and it’s city’s reputation.

G. Michael Dobbs, of the Reminder News, reported on an article by analyst Howard Jay Klein. Mr. Dobbs said he wanted “….to see what other people think about the MGM Springfield project.”  Mr. Klein had some keen insights.

As Dobbs mentioned in his article, “Klein was looking at the management tactics on the company and compared the MGM approach to plate spinning. ….. you might remember those acts on “The Ed Sullivan Show” where a guy would first balance plates on tall rods and then set them spinning. His skill was keeping the plates spinning and not falling.” Klein questioned whether or not MGM management has too many plates spinning.

The plates, of course, are the many casino/resorts MGM has across the country, with one of those plates representing MGM Springfield.

Consider the following, some pros, some cons – some both:

  1. MGM Springfield is a downtown site – a new gamble MGM calls an “urban casino.”
  2. It’s due to open in mid 2018 – slightly ahead of its original due date.
  3. Its competition will include – Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway, run by Penn National Gaming that’s already open as Massachusetts’s first casino
  4. a mega property from Wynn to be opened in 2019 at Everett near Boston

    Steve Wynn with his rendition of Wynn Boston Harbor

  5. The two Connecticut tribal properties as well as the consideration of one or even two added casinos in Connecticut.  To be fair, the reality of additional casinos in CT is looking bleak at this date.
  6. The new casino in New York State, Rivers Casino, in Schenectady is located just over 100 miles from downtown Springfield and has already drawn thousands of visitors from upstate New York, as well as Western Massachusetts. Rivers Vice President of Marketing Danny Brockdorf said, “Our customers are more likely be out here, make a day trip — we do have the resort to really cater to folks who are already coming into town…..I don’t see much of an impact from MGM Springfield.”

    Rivers Casino, Schenectady, NY

According to Klein, “This one’s [MGM Springfield] is facing very rocky soil in our consensus view and at best be a marginal contributor…..”

NETimeGambling doesn’t agree with Mr. Klein’s assessment. We think MGM Springfield will be a viable competitor for these reasons:

  • Connecticut has lost the many battles that MGM has thrown at its third casino project.
  • The city of Springfield is “drooling” over the possible future and will do anything to make their better future come true.
  • MGM Springfield will bringing sports and cultural events to bring tourists to Springfield’s historical city district.  MGM Springfield is planning a strategic partnership between the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and MGM Resorts International in order to help bring world-class entertainment to the MassMutual Center. Additional entertainment amenities that will complement the resort, including retail space, food/beverage venues, a state of the art movie theater with six screens, a luxury bowling facility and an outdoor plaza that will feature large dynamic video displays and outdoor areas for events including expeditions, art shows and similar functions.
  • MGM has pledged to create about 3,000 permanent jobs to benefit the local community job market.

    Mass Mutual Civic Center, Springfield, MA

  • MGM has loyal fans across the country.  The closest are MGM National Harbor in Washington D.C. and Borgata in Atlantic City, both highly successful.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis has expressed optimism about his casino’s prospects in spite all the eminent competition saying, “Of course we’re aware of all competition — the Schenectady facility has been on our radar ever since the license was issued. … Generally we feel regardless of the type of competition in the market that MGM facilities have the ability to grow the market in our unique destinations, and that’s proven out with our early success in National Harbor right outside of D.C.”

MGM National Harbor

The eventual success or disappointment in MGM Springfield’s expectations will have plenty of time to be evaluated.  But, right now, my crystal ball is very cloudy from Connecticut’s mess and legislative delay. MGM International should be able to open by 2018 with little, if any competition at all.

MGM has won many battles – the clincher may be winning the war.

Binbin

 

 

NETime Gambling – Weekly Posts You Missed 4/9/17

Week three of our new Sunday series

“Weekly Posts You Missed”.  

As you open the paper, check your email, and relax with your cup of “joe,” let your Sunday morning ritual include checking our past week’s posts.  We at NETime Gambling will include recent posts, spiced up with pics, humor or thoughts for the day – oh, my!

SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK!

Monday – MGM, Massachusetts, Provide Answers to Connecticut’s Casino Mess

Monday – MGM Springfield Sets Topping-Off Ceremony Today

David Collins, staff writer for the New London Day, wrote an OP-ED piece called “Can the tribes outmaneuver MGM?” Why did it get my blood boiling? – because he spewed a lot of correct view points, leading me down a different path of thinking.


Tuesday – New England Casino Entertainment in April

 Easter Dining at New England Casinos


Wednesday – Gambling Books – Must Read Recommendations From “Due For A Win” Podcast Facebook Group

……Their Facebook group, which I also recommend, is a wealth of knowledge for the AC newbie and the AC regular.  The following recommended list is from a member of the “Due For A Win” Facebook Community.  With his permission (he only wants to be known as @Scan720 , here they are.


For the School Break & Easter…….

Friday – Foxwoods Kids Week & 15 of the Best Family Attractions In & Around New England’s Casinos


Saturday – 15 Ways to Improve Your Slot Machine Etiquette

As with most behavior in public spaces, behaving properly usually helps provide a better experience for you and for those around you.  No where in the casino could that be true than the winding rows of slot machines…….


RANDOM THOUGHTS

Are”Dave & Busters” the unknowing conduit for children & millennials to casino gambling?  Maybe arcades should offer free drinks and charge for parking, too.

GAMBLING HUMOR

May the Fours, with a kicker, be with you! – Binbin

 

MGM, Massachusetts, Provide Answers to Connecticut’s Casino Mess

Concerning more casino gaming………I think I had it all wrong – and Connecticut has it all wrong, too.

It seems MGM International has won the battle, and will seemingly win the war of casino competition.  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)
  • 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

    Jim Murren and MGM Resorts

    Jim Murren & MGM Resorts

Meanwhile, Connecticut, the Mohegans & the Mashantucket Pequots slowly try to get their ducks in a row, all the while getting further and further behind in the process.

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,

But, as I said, I’ve been looking at it all wrong.  Maybe MGM has the right idea.  MGM International has always said that the process should be transparent and fair. Maybe they’re correct in the ability for a casino in Bridgport to succeed so close to NYC. Maybe, the state of CT should take MGM’s suggestions and run with them.

Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has already laid out the perfect plan during their casino expansion. Before we take a look at the MGC casino application process, I would like to introduce to you the columnist that got my blood boiling one morning as I read the paper – David Collins.

David Collins, staff writer for the New London Day, wrote an OP-ED piece called “Can the tribes outmaneuver MGM?” Why did it get my blood boiling? – because he spewed a lot of correct view points, leading me down a different path of thinking.

Here are excerpts from his column:

  • “Two bills to expand casino gambling in Connecticut came out of a skeptical Public Safety and Security Committee earlier this session of the General Assembly looking pretty much dead on arrival……one to allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indians to build an off-reservation casino in East Windsor, the other to open bidding for a commercial casino license elsewhere”
  • “Both [bills] have the potential to endanger the current payments to the state by the tribes for the slot machines on their reservation, part of an exclusivity deal…… that guarantees the state 25 percent of reservation slot revenues.”

    Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

    Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

  • “The attorney general has wrung his hands a lot over the MGM lawsuit threat and isn’t promising the state could win…….Clever maneuvering by MGM lobbyists and lawyers seems to have smartly put the tribes at this dead end”
  • “The tribes’ slot machine payments would stop with the first new law granting a license, as early as next year, and that would probably leave too much lost revenue to make up, from the time a new casino were legalized and when it actually opens its doors.”

Mr. Collins, you have nailed it.  So, I suggest taking his analysis further.  Let’s follow the Massachusetts model for casino expansion.

  1. Accept both bills. Set up a process for  accepting license applications similar to Massachusetts.
  2. Begin the bidding process for both the Bridgeport casino & East Windsor Casino. This will stop the 25% guarantee on slots to the state, but later on, this will not be a problem.
  3. Allow MMCT to bid for East Windsor, as well as anyone else.  Mr. Collins made another good point – “MGM couldn’t bid even if it wanted to, 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.)

    Mohegan Sun Slots

    Mohegan Sun Slots

  4. 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)
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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, even now, 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.

    Brockton Casino Driveway

    Brockton Casino, no longer an option.

  8. In the end of the MA process, MGM Springfield ended up paying an $85 million licensing fee to the state to accept the license and build their casino.
  9. Both East Windsor & Bridgeport would cover the tribal pacts with the state of CT.  Jobs would be secured, and the Sun & Foxwoods would have less revenue payouts to consider while improving their empires, keeping jobs, and expanding it’s diversity portfolios.

Problem solved.

I know, it’s too simple.  Or is it?

Maybe we should thank MGM for looking at other options.  After all, when all is said and done, CT may have two more casinos paying the same or more money to the Nutmeg state, while MGM focuses on an “urban resort” (remember, MGM is interested in the resort business, not the gambling business – or so they say.)

Thank you Mr. Collins.  Thank you MGM.  Thank you Massachusetts and the MGC.  Behind all this gambling mess in CT could be a silver lining, and all provided by you.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecticut’s Third Casino – Better in Windsor Locks

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, joining together in MMCT.

The quest for a third casino to compete with MGM Springfield has been slow – very slow.  But remember the old tale about the tortoise and the hare.

Slow seems to be working.  MMCT, the joint venture by the Mashentucket Pequots of Foxwoods & the Mohegan tribe of Mohegan Sun fame, are narrowing down the possible locations.  Frankly, I haven’t been too pleased with the suggestions and the locations denied.  I have always been a proponent of something close to highway access, like East Hartford.  And now, I see another possibility that fits that criteria and is closer to the MA/CT border – Windsor Locks.

hc-windsor-locks-casino-sites-20170119

Thrall Tobacco Farm, just off I-91, minutes from Bradley International Airport

I have always thought the only location MMCT was looking at was Bradley International Airport.  Recently, Brian Hallenbeck, Day staff-writer, detailed a new front runner. “A Windsor Locks tobacco field could be the leading contender for the site of the third Connecticut casino the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are pursuing.”  The 76-acre tobacco field, known as the Thrall Tobacco Farm, is located on Old County Road,  two minutes from the airport and one minute from I-91. It’s closer proximity to the Massachusetts line makes it a better to compete with “the impact of MGM Springfield, the $950 million resort being built in western Massachusetts just a few miles from the Connecticut border.”

A former Showcase Cinemas building on Interstate 91 in East Windsor also is a potential casino site, with good highway access as well. But this land is closer to Hartford than the MA border.

This former 59,424 square foot Showcase Cinema is ideally located just off I-91 and adjacent to a big box retail center.

This former 59,424 square foot Showcase Cinema is ideally located just off I-91 and adjacent to a big box retail center.  (North to Massachusetts ->)

According to Kenneth R. Gosselin of the Hartford Courant, “State Sen. Timothy Larson, D-East Hartford and a supporter of the expansion, said the timeline for selecting a site is to be expected.”  After reading Mr. Gosselin’s report, I can see why it seems to take so long. “Larson added: ‘They [MMCT] are just being very particular. MGM has hired every lobbyist in America to find out what is going on, getting into those towns and upsetting the apple cart.’ ”

A bird's eye view of the site, courtesy of wwlp.com

A bird’s eye view of the site, courtesy of wwlp.com

Now would MGM do that?  You betcha.  MGM Springfield has been rumored by some analysts to be considered one of MGM Resort International’s riskier new properties. Connecticut’s third casino would be that much more competition with  a loyal base of customers to compete with one of the casino industry’s biggest companies, also with a larger customer base ranging from Las Vegas to their new National Harbor Resort in Maryland.

mgm-nation-harbor

MGM National Harbor – opened last month.

MGM Springfield’s progress has been dynamic.  MMCT needs to be careful in picking the project location, but MGM is wasting no time north of the border. If the Nutmeg State started soon, I still don’t know if they could overcome MGM’s zeal to get Springfield up and going.

Instead of a race to the finish, it could be just a race to the beginning of a battle for many years to come.

Binbin

MGM Plans for Springfield Casino: Part 2 in “The Tale of Two New England Casinos”

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s Hotel – no tower.

Yesterday, I pointed out Twin River Management’s approach to New England’s casino expansion. I mentioned it was making itself a little bigger fish in the small pond of New England’s gaming.  Now let’s take a look at MGM – a big fish in the same pond that just wants all the other fish to go away because, well they’re MGM – they are the entitled fish.

MGM SpringfieldMGM is taking a different approach, but why?  They have already “dissed” their competition. They consider CT’s third casino proposal nothing to worry about, yet are suing because they would have liked to have a chance for a CT casino.  Note to MGM – you had one at Foxwoods and pulled out. They say they are not afraid of competition in or out of Massachusetts. Then why are they cutting back on their resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts?

It all started with the 25-story tower – here today, gone tomorrow. The claim of “skyrocketing” costs is a strange reason for such a giant in the industry – controlling the south strip in Las Vegas, high stakes with its presence in Macau, and pursuing another market in Atlanta, Georgia. You’d think they understood the risk and reward of the gaming business.

New Entrance renderings for MGM Springfield

New Entrance renderings for MGM Springfield

And it is the second surprise from MGM in four months, following its June decision to push the $800 million casino’s debut back one year to September 2018 to avoid coinciding with I-91 repairs. At first I thought trust would become an issue, in my post “Can Jim Murren & MGM Resorts Be Trusted in Springfield?”   But I am told that changes in projects such as these occur more often than not, and that’s true.  But so much downsizing without approval from Springfield or the Massachusetts Gaming Commission?

According to Shira Schoenberg in her article from MassLive, Joseph Weinert, executive vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey-based independent casino research and consulting firm confirms that “A lot of conditions can change….These companies have a fiduciary responsibly to their stakeholders to get their best possible return… that means having to change the plans. In some cases, they’re expanded. In some cases, they’re contracted.”

And contracted, or smaller it will be.  To see the casino’s newest plans for Springfield, click here.

Here are the changes in a nutshell:

  • MGM Springfield is reducing the size of its casino development by 14 percent,  including a significant cut in retail space – the casino block and the retail block, will decrease by a total of 122,534 square feet
  • the retail block will be reduced by 38.1 percent overall
  • a smaller bowling alley
  • less space for its movie theaters
  • No 25-story hotel – The hotel will still have 250 rooms, although the report details the hotel shrinking an additional 25,490 square feet
  • The height of the parking garage will be reduced by one level, a loss of 387 parking spaces.
  • space needed for elevators, storage, exit stairs, elevator shafts and lobbies is now reduced to the hotel change

Let’s look at a larger picture – MGM Resorts International.

Las Vegas South Strip.

Las Vegas South Strip. MGM owns Mirage, Bellagio, Aria, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, MGM Grand, Excalibur, Luxor & Mandalay Bay.

MGM is a giant in the industry.  MGM has been an innovator in helping Las Vegas in rising out of the 2007 recession.  But, looking at its latest news, I have to wonder if their perspective on their part of the gambling industry isn’t changing due to its global business woes and policies.

MGM Macau

MGM Macau

MGM Macau continue to nose-dive, as other casinos there, due to pressure from the Chinese Govt.  MGM has built a new arena on the strip, but refuses to add a parking garage for  those attending events, to Clark County’s dismay.  Speaking of parking, MGM is considering having patrons pay for parking at all its casinos in Las Vegas – something that would change the Vegas experience for Vegas visitors for years to come. Numerous Vegas pod-casters and bloggers (links featured to the right) criticize this, saying they are getting away from the gambling business, considering themselves more of an “entertainment” business.

The bottom line begins to be seen in revenue and visitors to the casino.  In Shannon Young’s article for MassLive “MGM Springfield: Smaller casino project means fewer daily visitors” she mentions that estimates of visitors due to the project changes would decrease.  MGM, however considers them minor.

The proposed changes still need approval by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the City of Springfield.

The question is not “does MGM know what it’s doing?  MGM understand the casino businnes as well as anyone.  the real question is “Does the town of Springfield, the MGC, and the residents of Massachusetts know what MGM is doing?

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

 

 

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