The Mohegan Sun may have been forced to lay off over 300 employees, but that hasn’t stopped them from pushing forward with their plans to build a $600 million resort casino in Palmer, Massachusetts. That much was made clear by Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitch Etess when he told the Boston Herald that “the layoffs are unrelated to the Palmer effort. They’re about making Mohegan Sun Connecticut a solid operation.”
“We’re aggressively pursuing the license to build in Palmer as much as we ever have,” he said. “We haven’t paid the $400,000 state fee yet, but we intend to pay it when we submit our application.”
The Mohegan Sun is currently one of several casino operators looking to make bid for one of the three full casino resorts and one slot machine-only venue that are all up for grabs. In addition to the Mohegan Sun, other operators that have voiced their interest in setting up shop in the state include MGM Resorts International, Suffolk Downs, Caesars Entertainment, and Ameristar Casinos.
Two weeks ago, the city of Springfield, one of the sites where one of the three casinos are expected to rise, announced that their selection of the casino would be a slow and drawn out process, allowing city officials enough time to choose among several bidders looking into building a casino in the city.
‘‘On the big issue of the incompatibility with our schedule, I think they have rethought it and are happy to agree with us to try to match our schedule, which is a really good development,’’ commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said, as quoted by Boston.com, at a panel meeting in Boston.
It’s quite obvious that Mohegan Sun will face strong competition in securing the limited casino slots and despite their recent financial struggles and the subsequent layoffs that Etess described as a “gut-wrenching decision”, the Indian tribe is still moving forward with their application in hopes of expanding their company profile with the ambitious $600 million Mohegan Sun Palmer luxury resort. Should Mohegan Sun win one of the licenses, the casino operator is expected to build the casino on 152 acres off land just off the Massachusetts Turnpike.
If for nothing else, Etess is optimistic that a Massachusetts casino would be a great opportunity to establish new roots in the state. “We get most of our business from Connecticut and New York, but there’s no doubt that gaming in Massachusetts will have an impact on our revenues in Connecticut,” he said.
“That’s why we’re pursuing Palmer and other opportunities around the country.”