For Foxwoods Resort Casino, size matters as MGM Springfield adds new competition

Staring down the 3,750-foot zipline atop Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Fox Tower, Interim CEO Rodney Butler rides the new cable down from 32 stories high with a clear view of his destination and the competition lying ahead.

And it’s not just Mohegan Sun peaking over the foothills of southeastern Connecticut. Just 73 miles away, MGM Springfield has opened a $960 million casino and entertainment complex that stands to make Connecticut’s north central residents think twice about their gaming options.

But this is nothing new for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation-operated casino, which more than five years ago began knocking down walls and adding exclusive gaming and adventure entertainment to combat expected losses from its new competitors over the border and across the Northeast.

With much planned development ahead, Foxwoods for now boasts New England’s first on-site casino brewery and zipline; exclusive regional food and retail options; the nation’s largest indoor karting track; and could be nearing groundbreaking of a proposed $300 million satellite casino with Mohegan Sun in East Windsor — the first tribal gaming partnership in the U.S.

Exclusive offerings are key to Foxwoods’ business strategy, which will come under threat with MGM Springfield’s recent opening. Foxwoods’ bottom line has already been under pressure in recent years amid heightened competition. In 2017-18, Foxwoods recorded 6 percent less gaming revenue ($477.2 million) vs. 2013-14 ($507.8 million) and 41 percent less than it reported at its peak in 2004-05.

Next on its wish list is securing the exclusive rights to offer sports betting in Connecticut alongside Mohegan Sun, but it appears that won’t happen until 2019, at the earliest. Read More

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