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Connecticut Casinos Aim to Hold onto Market

23 February 2004

CONNECTICUT – As reported by the Hartford Connecticut: "But until real gaming competition arrives, these big-timers will rule New England's gaming tables and slots floors - and they are taking every step to make sure that they preserve their lock on the market.

"As more slot machines, video lottery terminals and perhaps even new Indian casinos come to states surrounding Connecticut in the future, it's hard to imagine Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun holding on to their gambling monopoly.

"But until real gaming competition arrives, these big-timers will rule New England's gaming tables and slots floors - and they are taking every step to make sure that they preserve their lock on the market.

"…This year, Foxwoods will begin taking the wraps off a nearly $300 million upgrade and expansion, adding more than 800 new slot machines, more bingo and poker, a 2,100-car parking garage, restaurants and a Hard Rock Café nightclub. Sprucing up dated interiors will follow, as will the opening of two championship golf courses in early 2005.

"…For the moment, slot machines appear to be the only real threat to Connecticut's control of gambling dollars in New England and New York. Voters in Maine last fall rejected a proposal for a Foxwoods-style Indian casino, instead agreeing to allow slot machines at two horse tracks. New York is also adding video lottery terminals at its racetracks.

"…In Connecticut, two tribes that have recently won federal recognition, the Eastern Pequots and the Schaghticokes, are intent on opening casinos.

"…At Mohegan Sun, which has more productive slot machines than Foxwoods, the focus will be on improving what it is already doing. This means continuing to target Asian gamblers from New York and Boston and to bring in a variety of popular performers, from bull riders to Simon and Garfunkel. The efforts to diversify offerings apparently are paying off: On big-event evenings, whether a Connecticut Sun basketball game or a Bette Midler concert, gaming revenues are up 7 percent…"

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