By STEPHEN SINGER, AP Business Writer
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The new chief executive of Foxwoods Resort Casino’s parent company said Thursday he will renegotiate debt and work with new partners as the eastern Connecticut hotel and casino looks to boost revenue and profit.
Scott Butera, whose appointment as head of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises was announced Thursday, said in an interview he will look to establish relationships with partners to be more competitive. He did not identify possible partners.
“We can work with other partners to bring new life to the property and morph into something more competitive,” he said.
The Mashantucket Pequot Indians, who run the casino, announced in August a deal with music company Live Nation that gives Foxwoods the naming rights to the former Hilton Theater –now Foxwoods Theater– on 42nd Street in New York. The Foxwoods brand will be used on all exterior and interior signs.
That’s the kind of deal Foxwoods will consider to extend its brand, Butera said. In addition, arrangements with other related businesses can be “quite profitable,” he said.
Revenue for fiscal 2009-10 fell 8 percent from the previous year, to $652.2 million from $708.6 million. Foxwoods and neighboring Mohegan Sun are seeking ways to draw customers despite the weak recovery from the recession.
The two casinos face the prospect of greater competition from New York and Massachusetts. State lawmakers in Massachusetts failed to agree on legislation this year that would permit casinos, but the issue will be back on the agenda in 2011.
And the Shinnecocks, a small Indian tribe on New York’s Long Island, won a decades-long fight this year for federal recognition, bringing it one step closer to opening a casino.
“You have to face the fact you’re always going to have increased supply, increased competition,” Butera said. “You’ve got to assume it’s going to happen next year or the year after. You’ve got to diversify.”
Butera, 43, has been president and chief executive of Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment Inc. He succeeds interim President William Sherlock.
Restructuring debt is an “important element” of his work, he said.
“The objective is to come up with a restructuring that makes sense and is manageable from a cost size,” he said. “I’m at the beginning stages of this.”
He would not say how much is at stake, but said creditors have not imposed a deadline.
Butera also said he expects to have a good relationship with unions that have organized dealers, bartenders, beverage servers and other workers. The Mashantucket Pequots have said they believe tribal law, not federal labor law, should apply.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)