Mohegan Sun Continues History of Expansion With New CEO

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville, CT

Mohegan Sun has been planning for the future. Expanding its portfolio to include non-gambling amenities has been in progress for years, knowing that competition will soon increase in New England. Where else but at its flagship property in Uncasville, CT to introduce the latest expansion.

Mohegan Sun is expanding its convention space by building an $80 million exposition and convention center. According to Kenneth Gosselin of the Hartford Courant, “the 240,000-square-foot venue will open in the summer of 2018 and will help the tribe compete for larger tech industry shows, golf shows, home shows, motor sports and hunting and fishing shows. The convention and expo center also will allow Mohegan to expand shows already hosted by the casino such as Terrificon, the comic convention.”  The expo and convention center also will include a ballroom, 18 meeting rooms, a boardroom with an outdoor terrace and kitchen.

The new convention center is going to be HUGE!

“This new conference center will help us solidify Mohegan Sun as not just the premier conventions destination, but the premier resort in the Northeast region,” Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown reported.

 

Expansion is nothing new to the Mohegan Tribe. Here is a history of its portfolio diversification:

Mohegan Sun Pocono, Pennsylvania

Mohegan Sun Pocono, Pennsylvania

  • On January 25, 2005, Mohegan Sun acquired its first gaming venture outside of Connecticut with its $280 million purchase of the Pocono Downs Racetrack Pennsylvania. Mohegan Sun renamed the property “Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs” and began a major expansion, operating the first slots casino in the state of Pennsylvania in November 2006.
  • Project Horizon included the addition of a third casino before the project was terminated due to the recession in 2008
  • In August 2012, the tribe announced an agreement to take over management of the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    Resorts in Atlantic City accepts Momentum Dollars for all amenities

    Resorts in Atlantic City accepts Momentum Dollars for all amenities

  • In 2014, the tribe entered into franchise agreements with Smashburger, Arooga’s Grille & Sports Bar, Jersey Mike’s Subs and purchased a wood pellet production plant in Peebles, Ohio, from the Pennington Seed Company. Also in 2014, the Mohegan Tribe, under the subsidiary Mohegan Holding Company, founded KÔTA, a premium provider of digital technology solutions for copying; scanning; sending and managing and producing print, document workflow and visual communications–all from the industry’s most reputable manufacturers and vendors.
  • The Earth Hotel was opened in November of 2016, adding over 300 rooms.
  • Finally, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), headquartered in Uncasville, Connecticut announced late last week that the company plans to break ground on the Inspire Integrated Resort adjacent to the Incheon International Airport in South Korea before the end of the year. (2017)

    Casino Resort near Airport. Project is licensed in Korea.

New CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment Mario Kontomerkos said the company’s expansion from two properties to seven (including the joint casino venture with Foxwoods in East Windsor, CT) over the last half decade has been key to its emergence from a financial predicament following the Great Recession.

“Continued expansion of non-gaming facilities are definitely in our future,” Kontomerkos said.

Not to be forgotten us the agreement the Mohegan Tribe reached with the town of Preston for an ambitious plan to buy and redevelop the property on the Thames River for office, retail, entertainment, recreation and possibly housing. Construction would start within three years and be finished in five years. It is expected to set the offerings of the Mohegan Tribe apart from the rest of New England’s Casino/Resorts, as well as resurrect the town of Preston financially.

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

The future still looks bright for Mohegan Sun.

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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?

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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.

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Connecticut Casino Expansion, Part Two – Decline, Proposals & Collaboration

images

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

or more like

The slot bucks are declining, the slot bucks are declining!

Well, the “repeal hysteria from Masssachusetts” has been replaced by the “protect our slot revenue hysteria” in Connecticut.

THE PROPOSAL

Keith Phaneuf, from the CT. Mirror, reported that Rep. Peggy Sayers, D-Windsor Locks, prompted speculation at the Capitol last Friday that the Bradley Teletheater could be a target for a new gaming operation.  Sayers said the General Assembly can work with the tribes to identify sites throughout the state for safe, regulated gaming venues that would provide Connecticut jobs, and keep revenues here.  “Connecticut’s native American Tribes have developed two world-class gaming resorts that have brought thousands of jobs and millions in economic development to this state for nearly two decades,” Sayers said in statement. “We are living in new and different times, with increased competition in every surrounding state, and we need to support and protect the jobs in our state.”

image(21)Connecticut has sanctioned gambling at two Indian casinos in its southeastern corner for two decades. In exchange, the state receives a portion of the profits from those facilities’ video slot machines, their most popular games. And in return, the state guarantees the Mashantucket Pequots – who operate the Foxwoods Resorts Casino – and the Mohegans, that no other entity may offer casino games in Connecticut.

THE DECLINE of REVENUE

But, both tribal casinos have struggled with declining gambling patronage since the last recession. The state’s share of video slot revenues, which peaked at $430 million in 2007, has declined steadily since.  The revenue peaked at $430.5 million in 2006-07. Since, they has consistently declined.  Projections released jointly by Governor Malloy’s budget staff and by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis propose a drop more rapidly in the near future.

In millions, the combined payments Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are projected to make to the state in coming fiscal years(Source: Office of Policy and Management, Office of Fiscal Analysis):

FY 2014: $279.9 (actual)
FY 2015: $267.5
FY 2016: $260.7
FY 2017: $254.3
FY 2018: $190.8

THE COLLABORATION

MoSun SignBrian Hallenbeck of the Day reported that the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes might collaborate on a casino project in northern Connecticut – even thought the Pequots are yet to comment on that.  But it would have to collaborative because the pact with both tribes and the state must include BOTH tribes for future expansion.

The idea’s not “too” crazy, at least to Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.  And if it’s to happen, it could happen fast — before casinos proposed in Massachusetts materialize in 2017 or 2018.  “We have the exclusive right,” Etess said Tuesday, referring to the tribes’ gaming compacts with the state, which would have to be amended to accommodate expanded gambling. “It’s very easy to foresee some type of legislative solution that would be owned by the tribes — that would maintain revenue for the state of Connecticut.”

MORE TALK ON SAVING CT’s GAMING INDUSTRY

Luther Turmelle of CT Magazine reported that Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said Friday that he is grateful that state Rep. Peggy Sayers wants Connecticut to “take bold and immediate action to protect and expand our state’s gaming industry.”

Rep. Stephen Dargan, D-West Haven, the leader of the state legislative panel that oversees gaming issues said Monday that he wants to hold an informational hearing later this month on ways to preserve the casino industry Connecticut has developed. But Dargan also said that anyone following the casino industry in the Northeast should have seen this discussion coming. The West Haven lawmaker said he fears that in the next five years, Connecticut’s gaming facilities could lose 30 percent of their patronage, or more, if nothing is done.

WHAT’S IT ALL MEAN?

My personal assessment of the facts, the myths, and the future……………will be Thursday’s post.

Check in later, until then, that’s all for now.

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