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Former Mashantucket Pequot Chairman inducted into AGA Hall of Fame

29 September 2016

(PRESS RELEASE) -- A former Mashantucket Pequot Chairman and visionary behind Foxwoods High-Stakes Bingo and Foxwoods Resort Casino, Richard A. "Skip" Hayward, was inducted into the American Gaming Association's Hall of Fame yesterday as an Industry Pioneer—a distinction considered to be one of the gaming industry's highest honors. Hayward's vision and determination pioneered the way for today's Indian Gaming industry—with over 480 tribal gaming operations generating nearly $30 billion each year.

Hayward served as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's Chairman for 23 years (1975 – 1998), and then Vice Chairman for an additional 6 years. He led the effort to gain state recognition for the Mashantucket Pequots in 1974, followed by federal recognition in 1983, which was enacted by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan. Hayward's efforts paved the way for community development planning on the reservation.

"Skip Hayward is the type of visionary that most people never encounter, and he's incredibly deserving of this award," says Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. "With tenacious zeal, Skip led the effort to develop a thriving community through a vision focused on preserving Pequot history and culture for many generations. That vision was realized through the development of Foxwoods Resort Casino. On behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, we send Skip our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude for his leadership, dedication, and determination."

After pursuing several business options to help secure the tribe's economic stability, Hayward championed the construction of a High Stakes Bingo Hall, which opened in 1986 and far exceeded revenue projections by generating nearly $30 million per year. Following the Bingo success, Hayward secured the investment capital to construct the first full-service casino ever built on an Indian reservation, Foxwoods Resort Casino.

During the late eighties' economic recession, the Mashantucket Pequot High Stakes Bingo Hall and Foxwoods Resort Casino resulted in hundreds of construction jobs and more than ten thousand new employment positions. Throughout much of the nineties, Foxwoods remained the largest and most profitable casino in the western hemisphere. Today, it is North America's largest-reaching a 25th Anniversary milestone in February 2017.

To date, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has contributed nearly $4 billion to the State of Connecticut through a first-of-its-kind slot revenue sharing agreement, which became an example for similar agreements nationwide. The Tribe also provided millions of dollars to non-profit charities and social service organizations throughout the local area since 1992.

Richard A. "Skip" Hayward Acceptance Speech
"Tonight I wish to thank this year's Board of the American Gaming Association and all its members for the privilege of being inducted into the AGA Gaming Hall of Fame. This is an award that I never expected, and an honor I could never have imagined when I started down the path to preserve my Grandmother's home and our ancestral land and to bring Mashantucket Pequots home to build a successful and stable community -- one that is founded on our shared history, culture and unity.

"That path has led me to this evening, and the privilege of being chosen to stand with past inductees to recognize and honor our industry. While for me it has always been, and always will be, about my Tribe, Foxwoods Resort Casino has been the engine which has driven our prosperity and our economic development.

When you pioneer a vision to do something no one has done before, it is impossible to predict how things will turn out. This journey has been long and challenging -- with many extraordinary rewards and unexpected outcomes. But, as I reflect back on everything, I am deeply honored to have experienced it all, and to have experienced it with you as part of this industry. Thank you again for this honor, and may God bless you all."

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