In Connecticut and the casino-operating Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation have reportedly announced that they will be scaling back their plan for the coming Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor.
According to a Friday report from the Hartford Courant newspaper, the federally-recognized tribes initially pledged to spend $300 million to build the envisioned Class III casino complete with a 100,000 sq ft gaming floor to house a selection of approximately 1,800 slots alongside around 60 gaming tables.
However, Rodney Butler (pictured), Chairman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, reportedly told the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Safety and Security Committee that this investment has now been cut to a range of $200 million to $300 million. He was purportedly speaking as legislators are considering multiple measures that would expand gaming in ‘The Constitution State’ via the legalization of online casinos and sportsbetting as well as iKeno and a land-based casino for the city of Bridgeport.
Butler reportedly stated…
“We’ve refined it a little bit based on the data that we have. We now know more about the market. There’s been a lot of concern expressed over the past few years regarding saturation of the market.”
The Hartford Courant reported that the two tribes first proposed the idea of building the Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor five years ago in order to place a buffer between their existing casinos and the new MGM Springfield property from MGM Resorts International. The Mohegan Tribe is responsible via its Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment vehicle for the giant Mohegan Sun in southeastern Connecticut while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation runs the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino.
However, it would now seem that fears this new $960 million Massachusetts development would pull business away from the tribes’ existing facilities in Connecticut may have been largely unfounded with James Murren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for MGM Resorts International, reportedly telling shareholders last week that the Springfield venue has ‘admittedly performed below our expectations.’
The newspaper reported that MGM Springfield opened in August of 2018 and has so far managed to amass revenues of $354.1 million, which is far short of MGM Resorts International’s initial $412 million projection. To make matters worse, the Massachusetts venue chalked up its worst ever month in December as slot and table games takings reached only $19 million.
Mike Mathis, President of MGM Springfield until last month, reportedly told the Hartford Courant in August that tough competition from the pair of Connecticut tribal casinos was hurting business at his facility, which has managed to approach its peak monthly slot and tables games performance of $26 million only once since opening.
Butler reportedly detailed that both tribes added new features and attractions such as restaurants and hotel space to better compete with MGM Springfield while Bryan Hayes, Analytics and Slot Operations Vice-President for Foxwoods Resort Casino, pronounced that his venue had ‘made some modifications to the floor’ such as reducing its number of gambling games from 4,000 down to 3,500.
But, even with these changes, the Hartford Courant reported that Foxwoods Resort Casino recorded slot handle for the six months to the end of December of $2.7 billion, which represented a decline of 5.7% year-on-year, while the Mohegan Sun’s tally dropped more than 8% to $3.3 billion.