MGM is worried. Big time. They’re planning to build a giant casino complex in Massachusetts. They see the dollar signs. They stand to make a killing. But across the border in Connecticut, there’s big competition brewing.
Last month, Connecticut Governor Daniel Mallow put pen to paper and signed a bill to permit a third casino in the state. The new casino will be run by the Mohegan Tribe and by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Mohegan runs Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. And the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation runs the popular Foxwoods Casino.
MGM doesn’t want to see this casino come to fruition. And in an interview with major news publication Bloomberg, MGM Resorts International President William Hornbuckle said his company would attempt to block the joint casino venture.
Hornbuckle is worried that the new casino will not only beat MGM to the punch, but that it will siphon money out of Massachusetts. Many experts (we’re guessing MGM’s experts included) probably counted on an overflow of gamblers crossing the border to try something different from the usual Foxwoods and Mohegan, but now that the “something different” is right at home in Connecticut, MGM might not get the traffic they anticipate.
It’s not quite clear how MGM could stop the casino from being constructed, but his comments have irked the two tribes, to say the least.
“Simply, this is about siphoning revenues from Connecticut to benefit a Las Vegas company while at the same time moving thousands of existing jobs from Connecticut to Massachusetts,” commented Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler in a joint statement. “That’s why the tribes, the legislature, and the governor have committed to developing a solution that protects Connecticut.”
The Connecticut casino is slated to open in 2017 and MGM isn’t slated to open until 2018 at the earliest. With a one-year head start, MGM could fall by the wayside and fail to attract the big money they anticipate.
MGM’s strong words could backfire. By claiming they aren’t going to go peacefully, it sounds like MGM thinks they’re entitled to a casino monopoly. If this conversation was about MGM being awarded a license in Massachusetts and then a tribe being offered a license afterward, unbeknownst to MGM, then that would be a different story. But this story is about two completely different states that have different casino laws and that oversee their own jurisdictions and nothing else. Casino players might end up angry and refuse to play at MGM, even if the property turns out to be great.
At Palace of Chance, we welcome competition. We know there are a lot of great casinos out there and the competition just causes us to step back and ask ourselves how we can better serve the player so that they choose us over another site. MGM might want to consider this approach instead of the bully tactic (with a small side of tantrum) they seem to be exhibiting in this case.