Foxwoods Eyes Online Gambling
NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ The chief executive of Foxwoods Resort Casino says rising competition is forcing the Indian-run casino in eastern Connecticut to consider online gambling and other changes.
Scott Butera, in an online discussion Thursday with The Day of New London, said supply in the casino business is clearly outpacing demand. Gambling has been legalized in Massachusetts, though casinos are not expected to open for a few years. Casinos in New York also are taking a greater share of the market.
“We clearly believe that supply growth is outpacing demand,” Butera said. “As a result, we will need to adjust our businesses accordingly.”
He said he expects additional venues and online gambling to be a part of Foxwoods’ future, though not immediately.
Butera also said Foxwoods has concluded negotiations with its creditors and is focusing on completing the transaction. He would not be more specific, citing confidentiality agreements.
The parent company of the Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania announced last month it has refinanced debt of about $1 billion.
Many casinos committed to costly expansion programs and were caught short at the start of the recession in late 2007. Credit locked up initially and over time customers stayed home to save money or spent little money when visiting casinos.
As a result, many casinos were faced with significant debt and were forced to renegotiate with creditors.
Foxwoods has posted revenue of $5.53 billion since the start of the state’s 2012 budget year, down 5 percent from the same period last year.
Payments to members of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, which owns Foxwoods, has stopped in response to the financial trouble.
Butera said Foxwoods has stabilized its financing, recruited a new management team, added more than a thousand new slot machines, introduced a new advertising campaign and developed a plan to make improvements in food, beverage and retail offerings.
Foxwoods also is building a 300,000-square foot outlet center mall. Ground-breaking is scheduled for the summer and should be finished in two years, he said. Butera said the project will create several hundred jobs.
Foxwoods completed a major expansion in 2008 with the 30-story MGM Grand hotel and casino. The resort has four hotels, more than 6,300 slot machines and 360 tables with 15 different types of games in six casinos.