July 1, 2013

Mohegan Sun unveils plan for Mass. casino

The Connecticut-based company seems to up its amenities in an effort to win a state license.

The Associated Press

PALMER, Mass. – Mohegan Sun on Monday unveiled renderings of its new, more elaborate plans for a casino in Palmer to residents of the rural Western Massachusetts town.

click image to enlarge

Jane Ferencz of East Lyme, CT works a slot machine at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. Mohegan Sun on Monday unveiled renderings of its new, more elaborate plans for a casino in the rural Western Massachusetts town of Palmer.

2003 Staff File Photo

Renderings of the $1 billion proposal were released during a town council meeting by executives of the Connecticut-based company.

The new plans showed details of the recently added indoor and outdoor water park, which is connected to its own 250-room hotel.

They also showed the layout of a retail space and cinema area, which is linked to the casino on one side and a different hotel on another.

The renderings were done by the same architects that designed the Connecticut casino. Mohegan Son Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Etess said its glassy angles and open design aim to fit into the rural surroundings, just like the original casino.

"We want it to be reflective of the Mohegan Sun brand, but its own destination," Etess said.

Mohegan Sun's project would be located on 152 acres just off the Massachusetts Turnpike. Its original proposal came in at about $600 million.

But the company announced hundreds of millions of dollars in new amenities earlier this month, as it competes for the state's lone casino license in western Massachusetts.

MGM Resorts International wants to build a project in downtown Springfield, and Hard Rock International has proposed a project in West Springfield.

Etess said the expanded proposal isn't as much a response to the competition as it is an attempt to create "a true destination resort that would be capable of driving business ... from out of state."

He said that fits the aims of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which will select the winning project.

Last week, the Mohegan Sun announced a $50 million project for more entertainment and retail space at its existing Connecticut casino, where it faces falling slot revenue and increasing competition.

Mohegan Sun's billion dollar proposal in Massachusetts aims to head off more competition, Etess said.

"There is going to be a casino in Western Massachusetts," he said. "We have no control over that, that bill was passed. Our goal is to get that, get that business."


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