Prospects and pitfalls in Connecticut; Roulette makes a comeback

Could the East Windsor satellite casino be a Machiavellian plot to extract the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegan Tribe from their obligations to the State of Connecticut? Probably not but state Attorney General George Jepsen has already opined that the existing compact could be broken in court by an expansion, even one by the Pequots and Mohegans. If an expansion bill passes out of the General Assembly — a fading prospect this session — a lawsuit by MGM Resorts International appears inevitable. For the time being, the two tribes are guaranteeing the continuation of the compact that grants the state 25% of slot revenue.

The latest development in this saga is the introduction of a third bill, one that would up taxes on the satellite casino to 35% and require a $500 million investment, far above the $200 million-$300 million the tribes are willing to commit. But the new bill dangles a carrot in the form of a $50 million license, well below the $250 million currently on the table. Little is certain at this point except that MGM Springfield is buying precious time to beat the satellite casino to the starting line. And, once they’ve seen Springfield, how are you going to keep casino patrons down in East Windsor?

Mohegan Sun, by the way, saw slot revenue bounce 4% last month (Foxwoods Resort Casino hasn’t reported yet), so the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority can derive some consolation from that while their satellite casino is stuck in the mud.

Up the road a piece, in Massachusetts, there was good news for Penn National Gaming, which has been slowly bleeding revenue at Plainridge Park. Revenue was up 5% last month, on 1% less coin-in. Win/slot/day was $366, the second-highest in Plainridge Park’s history. Of course, any commentary on the racino’s fortunes has to be placed in the context that it is one of Penn’s two star performers, even in a bad month.

* Forget skill-based slots for a moment. The game that’s “in” with Millennials is … roulette, a pastime that’s so old it’s new again.

* Some things are just so old they’re old. Include in this the Las Vegas Review-Journal‘s ghastly redesign, much harder to navigate than the previous iteration. I suppose this clusterfuck is appropriate for a newspaper owned by that Luddite fossil Sheldon Adelson, whose views on technology stopped evolving somewhere back in the Calvin Coolidge administration. Speaking of Sheldon, I wonder if he and that meddlesome wife of his will try to thwart this new needle-vending program.

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