Future Surprises Would Emerge in their 30th Anniversary Celebration. (Updated, 7/2022)
The plan sounded like Mini-Foxwoods just before Covid hit the country hard. Years ago, the “Wonder of It All” had 6300 slots and seven different casinos incorporated into one property. Since then, Foxwoods has consistently downsized its gambling offerings while adding entertainment and rides. Due to the pandemic, the Once Largest Casino Became Smaller.
Please note that this update isn’t about one Connecticut Casino, it’s about how fleeting time can be. This post reminds us how time can play tricks on our memory – Foxwoods is just an example of over 400 commercial casinos in this country that dealt with tragic losses and staff who suffered.
Of course, here we are in 2022, watching the gambling industry making money hand over fist, but not necessarily returning to pre-pandemic practice. That greed will be a future topic here, I’m sure. (BTW, this font is called Faustina – take it for what you will.)
Closed Areas and Furloughs
Once Largest Casino Became Smaller
Before the pandemic, Foxwoods refused to admit that the lack of visitation was the problem. Instead, Jason Guyot, then Foxwoods’ interim chief executive officer, blamed “the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. He and COOs around the country were correct to accuse Covid. “Increased public concerns and continued state restrictions. which have all resulted in significantly reduced business volumes for us here at Foxwoods Resort Casino,” Guyot reported.
But this did not address the decreasing yearly revenue of up to 10%.
Foxwoods is returning to “Phase 1 reopening plan with a few small exceptions.”Jason Guyot, Foxwoods’ interim chief executive officer
Winter Changes At Foxwoods Resort Was a Must
In 2020, when Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun reopened, both moved towards winter hours and operations for some parts of the property.
The Fox Tower hotel closed. In addition, the tower’s gaming floor hours were only open from noon to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Closed venues at the time included The TopGolf Swing Suite, Juniors, Shrine, and the Food Court. In 2022, only the Food Court continues to be closed.
Fox Tower Entertainment was reduced to Centrale’s weekend music and comedy.
Great Cedars Hotel and Casino Area
The Great Cedar Hotel remained open Thursday – Sunday only beginning December 7th, 2020. In addition, the Great Cedar Casino only offered slots, VP, and stadium gaming. The Grand Pequot Casino was the only place to find live Live table games.
Closed dining in the Cedars Casino area included Day Da Bakery, Fudruckers, Sbarro, and Cake by Franck (which closed for good soon after.)
Rainmaker Experiment Didn’t Last Long.
In November 2020, the Rainmaker Casino was a Foxwood experiment – a slots room reserved for patrons 55 and older. Soon after, the Rainmaker Casino closed, beginning December 4th, along with the ATRIUM Bar & Lounge.
Also, the Bingo schedule changed to Wednesday – Sunday only.
More Furloughs in New England’s Casinos
Like the rest of the country, New England’s casinos had to deal with capacity restrictions, leading to property furloughs and layoffs. According to Guyot, the 130 furloughs mainly involved employees in the shutdown areas. About 2,800 total – and part-time employees and “casuals” remain employed. As of today, the entire workforce is yet to be hired back.
Who Can Visit Connecticut
Restrictions on Massachusetts travelers, in particular, hurt Foxwoods. According to The Day’s Brian Hallenbeck, “Connecticut’s travel advisory required travelers from listed states and territories to quarantine for 14 days or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test if visiting Connecticut for more than 24 hours. New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island are exempt from the advisory – Massachusetts, at the time, was not.
This update is to remind us how much we take for granted. So many of us went over a year without a visit. Because of Covid-19, Foxwoods became a fraction of itself in its heyday. All New England casinos are still dealing with closed parts of their properties but are finally seeing revenue pick up.
A consideration: be kind to each other and staff at the casino. Tip those who rely solely on that for their salary. And remember, another pandemic, recession, or even natural disaster could quickly alter what we have right now.