Impact of Conn. casino competition on WMass

Gaming Commission has now received a total of $195M in licensing fees

Photo: Thinkstock

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Monday, MGM Springfield paid its $85 million licensing fee to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The same day, a new report found gamblers spending less and less at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in neighboring Connecticut.

The report blames the declining revenues on increasing competition and decreasing demand. Recently, Mohegan CEO Mitchell Etess suggested teaming up with Foxwoods to build a third casino near the Massachusetts state line.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis could not be available Monday night for an interview, but MGM Spokeswoman Carole Brennan sent 22News a statement:

“We fully anticipated that our competitors would react to our entrance into the market. MGM Springfield is uniquely poised to dominate New England’s multi-billion dollar gaming market, while creating thousands of new jobs, and recapturing hundreds of millions of dollars currently being spent out of state.  We are confident that our innovative design, tested marketing plan and strong brand will make MGM Springfield a premiere destination resort casino in New England.”

The Gaming Commission Spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll echoed the same message:

Driscoll said “Our analysis fully considered competition from neighboring jurisdictions. The MGM facility is one-of-a-kind in terms of its variety of attractions and the global reach of its operator. We are confident that it can fully withstand any regional competitive pressure.  The commission has selected the strongest possible gaming companies and required extraordinary non-gaming amenities that will ensure that Massachusetts casinos are the most attractive, highly-competitive and true destination-resort facilities.”

22News took the 20-minute drive down to Enfield, CT Monday night to talk to residents there. We asked Enfield resident Ben Patterson, “Would you ever go to the casino in Springfield?” He replied, “I think it would really depend on different types of attractions it would bring. I think depending on the key headliners, and I think it could a unique draw.”

Although Mohegan said it is open to partnering with Foxwoods, there has not been an official announcement confirming any cooperation.

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