Monday, October 24, 2011


October 24, 2011

Mohegans to unveil long-awaited community center
By Brian Hallenbeck -->
Publication: The Day
Published 10/16/2011 12:00 AM
Updated 10/16/2011 12:13 AM

Tribe also celebrates flagship casino's 15th anniversary

The Mohegans are celebrating Mohegan Sun's 15-year anniversary this month. J.Lo and Regis are due at the party.

But it's another building on the casino-owning tribe's reservation that's got Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum fired up these days.

It's the Mohegan Government & Community Center, the long-planned, much-delayed, somewhat controversial edifice that's soon to house 160 tribal-government employees, the Connecticut Sun women's basketball team and the 1,920-member tribe's cultural and social activities.

It is, said Bozsum, the Mohegan Tribal Council chairman, "the final piece."
Bozsum, who moved his office into the still-unfinished building earlier this month, talked about the center and the tribe's flagship casino during an interview last week. He said he hears "all the time" from people who tell him Mohegan Sun looks brand new.

"We've put a lot of money back into it," he said. "It's very important to us."
He reflected, too, on "all the things we've restored - the Shantok burial grounds, Cochegan Rock, the Tantaquidgeon Museum, the Mohegan Church. These are things we can touch, things we can see."

The community center, he said, is much more.

"We always put everything ahead of the community center. It was last on the list," Bozsum said.

That changed when the tribe, which halted construction on the center in early 2009, secured $74 million in low-interest federal loans for the project in the spring of 2010. Critics of the federal government's largesse - and the tribe's pursuit and acceptance of it - cried foul.

"We were fortunate to have the opportunity to borrow the money," Bozsum said. "It's a loan. We're paying it back."

By moving ahead with the project, he said, the tribe provided jobs for lots of local construction workers and business for local suppliers.
Scaled-back plans

Even with the financing, the tribe had to scale back its original plans. The top two floors of the five-story building will remain unfinished until the economy improves, Bozsum said. Some 110,000 of the structure's 165,000 square feet will be occupied, including the gym where the Sun's women's basketball team will practice when WNBA play resumes in the spring. The team has practiced at Connecticut College in New London.

The finished floors will provide space for tribal-government offices; the tribal court; fitness and aerobics rooms; arts-and-crafts classes; a library and preparation and storage of archaeological artifacts. It's a far cry from the Crow Hill Road warehouse buildings that have long housed tribal offices.

Bozsum recalled meeting with senators and representatives in the warehouse digs. "Some of them must have thought they were being 'punk'd,'" he said.

Wanted: Partners

Despite the chairman's reference to the Government & Community Center as "the final piece," the tribe continues to pursue a number of other projects, including construction of another Mohegan Sun hotel that Bozsum said is essential to capturing convention business.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the casino's management arm, has been seeking a partner for such a project for more than a year.

"We're still looking for a third party to build a hotel," he said. "When a convention wants to book 600 rooms and there's a big show and we've got players to accommodate, we've got to turn the convention down," he said. "We need another 300 to 400 rooms (the existing Mohegan Sun hotel has 1,200 rooms). Then Mohegan Sun would be just about done."

Then there's Massachusetts, where legislation authorizing resort casinos cleared the state Senate last week and could be signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick by the end of the year, if not the month. The Mohegans are expected to apply for a license for a commercial casino project in the western Massachusetts town of Palmer, where they optioned a site three years ago.

Again, the tribe will need a partner.

"We don't have the cash to build it; that's a fact," Bozsum said. "But I can guarantee you a lot of operators will come up with the money knowing we're going to manage it.

"If their (Massachusetts officials') goal is to keep Massachusetts people in Massachusetts, they need something like this," he said, pointing out his office window in the direction of Mohegan Sun.

The tribe's Mohegan Gaming Advisors, an entity formed within the last year to pursue casino management deals, is partnering with New York developer Louis Cappelli on a plan to develop and operate the Concord Resort, a casino, hotel and racetrack in the Catskills. Still on the table are partnership deals with Indian tribes hoping to develop casino projects in Washington state and Wisconsin.

"We're probably talking to 10 or more casino operators around the company - some are built, some aren't built yet - interested in us managing them," Bozsum said.

These are eventful days for Bozsum and the tribe. Next weekend is the big 15th anniversary celebration for Mohegan Sun. On Sunday, a ribbon-cutting for the Government & Community Center is planned at a quarterly meeting of tribal members.

And, before all that, on Wednesday, Bozsum, tribal Councilor Mark Brown and Jeffrey Hartmann, president and chief executive officer of Mohegan Sun, plan to rappel down the side of the casino's 34-story hotel tower in a fundraising event for Connecticut Special Olympics.

It's dubbed "Over The Edge."
Those first 20 floors are going to be a little nerve-wracking," Bozsum said. "Then I'll be fine."

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Conn. casinos report mixed April revenue results
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's Mohegan Sun casino has reported a 3 percent decline in slot revenue in April while the Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods says its revenue jumped 9 percent.

The Mohegan Sun said Monday its revenue was $61.6 million, down from $63.7 million in April 2010. Its decline was steeper than in March, but improved from January and late 2010 as the weak economy cut into consumer spending.

Foxwoods reported revenue for the month of $57.1 million, up from $52.3 million from last year. The increase represented a strong turnaround from March when revenue barely rose.

Analysts say the two eastern Connecticut casinos face pressure on several fronts: high gas prices that keep motorists home, the weak economy and rising competition from casinos in Pennsylvania and New York.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Tribe mulling plans for Aqueduct racino rival
By Howard KoplowitzThursday, May 19, 2011 11:11 AM EDT

If a casino is built at Belmont Park, it could undermine the operations of the upcoming Aqueduct racino project.

The Shinnecock Nation said it has received an offer to build a casino at Belmont Race Track in Nassau, which could put a dent into profits for the Aqueduct racino in Queens that is slated to open in late summer.

Beverly Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Southampton, L.I.-based tribe, said the Shinnecocks have not made a final decision on where to build a casino.

The tribe gained federal recognition early last year, which makes it eligible to run a casino.

“We have not decided where to put a casino,” Jensen said, rejecting rumors that the Shinnecock were set on building a casino at Belmont in Elmont, L.I., on the other side of the border from Queens.

“We haven’t selected a site yet. It’s been offered to us and we’ve looked at it and we’re making a decision.”

If the Shinnecocks were to build a casino at Belmont, which is only 10 1/2 miles away from Aqueduct, it would surely take business away from Genting New York, the developer of the racino at the South Ozone Park track.

While the Shinnecocks are undecided as to where to construct a casino, the tribe has ruled out building one near its reservation in Southampton because it believes the reservation is too small for a gaming parlor.

A Genting spokesman said the company had no comment.A Belmont casino may be more attractive to southeast Queens residents since the Elmont line has a Long Island Rail Road stop that easily connects it to the Jamaica LIRR station.

The racino at Aqueduct, called Resorts World New York, is expected to be up and running with 1,600 of 4,500 video lottery terminals by late summer.In the early stages of awarding the VLT contract, the Shinnecock proposed their own plans for a casino at Aqueduct, but the project did not have the blessings of the area’s elected officials.

State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach) said the Shinnecock plan was “too ambitious” because it called for table games such as blackjack and roulette.

But the Aqueduct project can only legally have VLTs — a form of slot machines — and not table games.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: It may take up to five years for the Shinnecocks to get a casino up and running. How will that affect gaming at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut? What is the MTGA doing to keep it's share of gambling business in the area? How much will this cost the casino in business, in the future? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Mashantucket Tribe to negotiate with labor union at casinoTuesday, May 17, 2011

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut said it will negotiate with a union after casino bartenders, drink servers, and bar porters voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 371.

The employees at Foxwoods Resort Casino voted 133 to 90 to organize with the union. The elected was conducted under tribal law.

"As a result of this process, it will not be necessary for Foxwoods or the union to take any further action with respect to the disputed election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board," the tribe said in a statement, The New London Day reported. "The parties anticipate beginning negotiations under tribal law for a collective bargaining agreement in the coming weeks."

The tribe had planned to take the National Labor Relations Board to court over a prior election. The tribe says the board lacks jurisdiction on the reservation.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from Could this happen to the Mohegan Sun? What do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2011


Mashantucket casino bartenders to vote in another electionThursday, May 12, 2011

Bartenders, drink servers, and bar porters at the casino owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut will vote in a union election on Monday.

The employees voted to organize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 371 last year. But this election will occur under tribal law.

“The tribe has pledged to and has stated that they will continue to challenge the jurisdiction of the NLRB,” the union said in a press release, The Norwich Bulletin reported. “A court battle over this issue would continue for several years.”

The tribe says the National Labor Relations Board can't enforce federal labor law on its reservation.

Get the Story:Foxwoods bartenders' tribal law union election slated for Monday (The Norwich Bulletin 5/12)Foxwoods bartenders face another union vote (The New London Day 5/12)

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Could this happen to the Mohegan Sun? Are employees of the Mohegan Sun Happy? What do you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


New York judge bars tobacco tax on sales to Seneca NationTuesday, May 10, 2011Filed Under: Business Law A judge in New York barred the state from imposing its tobacco tax on sales to the Seneca Nation, a day after a federal appeals court said the plan was legal.

The judge's order will stay in place until June 1, The Buffalo News reported. The injunction only affects wholesalers who do business with the Senecas.

The ruling came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state would collect the tax. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday said the state's effort doesn't infringe on tribal sovereignty.

"We will continue fighting against this overreaching action by the State to protect our treaty rights, tobacco commerce and all the jobs it supports," Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter. said in a statement.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from


Conn.'s Mohegan Sun downgraded on debt concernsAssociated Press, 05.09.11, 05:26 PM EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the ratings of the Connecticut-based Mohegan tribal casino operator on debt concerns at a time of slumping consumer spending.

The New York-based ratings agency said Monday the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority has not refinanced a $675 million line of credit set to expire in March 2012 and separate debt of $250 million coming due the following month. It also cited weak consumer demand for gambling in the Northeast and the possibility of increased competition if casino gambling is legalized in Massachusetts.

Moody's ( MCO - news - people ) downgraded the corporate family rating and probability of default rating to Caa3 from Caa2. Moody's also downgraded all long-term debt ratings to a "negative" outlook.

The authority operates the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania.

A spokeswoman for Connecticut's Mohegan Sun did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Moody's lowers debt rating of Mohegan Tribal authority
By Brian Hallenbeck
Publication: The Day
Published 05/10/2011 12:00 AM

Moody's Investors Service further lowered its ratings on the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's debt Monday, citing its concern that the authority has yet to refinance a $675 million line of credit, or "revolver," and $250 million in bonds, both of which come due next year.

The agency dropped its "corporate family" and probability-of-default ratings from "Caa2" to "Caa3," meaning it considers the authority at substantial risk of default. Moody's downgraded all of the authority's long-term debt, assigning it a "negative" outlook.

Authority executives could not be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.
During a conference call with investors last week, Mitchell Etess, the authority's chief executive officer, declined to discuss the status of the authority's attempts to refinance its debt except to say it was still working with advisers.

Moody's, in a statement issued Monday, noted the $675 million revolver - of which $493 million had been drawn as of March 31 - is due in March 2012 and that $250 million in senior subordinated notes obtained at 8 percent interest mature in April 2012. Moody's warned it would consider the debts due if the MTGA was unable to refinance them a year in advance.

"Both of these debt obligations are considered to be current," Moody's said Monday.

The MTGA has total debt of about $1.6 billion.

The "Caa3" rating also reflects MTGA's "significant leverage" - its debt is nearly seven times its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) - "continuation of weak consumer gaming demand trends in the Northeastern U.S., and the possibility of gaming in Massachusetts," the agency said.

In announcing a previous downgrade last December, Moody's raised doubts about whether the MTGA could avoid a restructuring of its near-term debt as opposed to a refinancing. A restructuring often involves creditors receiving less money than they are owed, while a refinancing involves the negotiation of better loan terms, including extended maturities.

The MTGA operates the Mohegan Tribe's Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a racetrack casino in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Last week, it announced it would partner with a developer to operate the proposed Concord Resort racetrack casino in Thompson, N.Y. The authority has also said it will seek a license to operate a casino in Palmer, Mass., should Massachusetts legalize casino gambling.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: With this much debt, how is the MTGA ever going to get the funds to do deals in Palmer or the Catskills?


Friday, May 6, 2011


Mohegan Tribe partnering on Catskills project
By Brian Hallenbeck
Publication: The Day
Published 05/06/2011 12:00 AM

$600 million venture with N.Y. developer includes casino, hotel

Growing up at Grossinger's, the family hotel in Liberty, N.Y., Mitchell Grossinger Etess, the chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, would occasionally play the Concord Hotel golf course in nearby Kiamesha Lake, some 15 miles away. He'd also frequent the movies and a hamburger joint just down the road.

The two hotels - The G and The Concord - were then the pillars of the Catskills' Borscht Belt, rivals on the order of Macy's and Gimbels. Louis Cappelli, the real estate developer who has owned the properties for more than a decade, first unveiled plans to rebuild The Concord in 2000.

On Thursday, the MTGA and Cappelli's Concord Associates announced they will partner on the development and operation of the Concord Resort on the former site of the hotel in Thompson, N.Y. Plans for the project's $600 million first phase, scheduled to open in the spring of 2013, call for a 75,000-square-foot casino featuring 2,100 video lottery terminals and room for up to 450 electronic table games, a 258-room hotel, a harness racing facility with a grandstand, a five-eighths-of-a-mile track and related paddock facilities, a simulcast facility for parimutuel wagering, 10,000 square feet of meeting rooms and ballrooms, five restaurants, retail outlets and several entertainment spaces.

"It is a little ironic," Etess said of the property's proximity to the hotel Jennie Grossinger, his grandmother, made famous. "It's an interesting twist. What's more important is that I believe in the Catskills and what the region can do. It's a beautiful place."

Under the agreement, the proposed hotel would be called the Mohegan Sun Concord, Etess said. It would be managed by Mohegan Gaming Associates, the gaming authority's casino-management arm, whose formation the authority announced late last year. At that time, Etess, then president and CEO of the authority's flagship, Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, relinquished his casino post to concentrate on other business ventures on behalf of the Mohegan Tribe. Jeffrey Hartmann took over as the casino's top executive. Gary Van Hettinga, former Mohegan Sun CFO, became president of the new unit.

With Thursday's announcement, the reorganization has borne fruit, Etess said.
"Now when we get an opportunity like this, we can do it," he said. "We have programs, policies and a methodology," as well as experience operating a harness racing track at the authority's Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Etess said Concord Associates approached the authority about partnering earlier this year. He said Cappelli was interested in reactivating his Concord project, which has been stalled since 2008. Cappelli, a director of Empire Resorts, which owns Monticello (N.Y.) Casino and Raceway, had planned to relocate the Monticello facility to the former Concord Hotel site. After razing the hotel and completing some preliminary work, construction was halted amid financial difficulties.

Marnell Architecture, a leading casino and resort design firm, has planned the full development of the site, according to the joint statement issued by Concord Associates and the MTGA.

Concord Kiamesha Holdings LLC, the joint entity formed for the project, has engaged Jefferies & Co. Inc., a global investment banking firm, as financial adviser. More than $100 million has already been spent on site preparation, foundations, curtain wall, demolition and remediation of environmental issues, the parties said.

"The project is more than shovel ready," Etess said. "Once the financing is in place, we can get a quick start, by the end of June."
Etess said the Mohegan Tribe would be "a small, minority equity partner" in the project.

The Concord Resort is expected to provide billions of dollars in economic benefits to the Catskills over a 10-year period and serve as a catalyst for the creation of more than 1,000 new construction and permanent jobs with a majority of the employment benefiting New York's Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties, the parties said.

The MTGA is also prepared to partner on a resort casino project in western Massachusetts if and when that state legalizes casinos.
"Obviously, part of the strategy of the (Mohegan) tribe is to be in their feeder markets," Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine, said. "This is the same as the Palmer (Mass.) project. They don't want to have major casinos around them taking their players. It's very forward-thinking."

Gros, however, noted that previous casino projects proposed for the Catskills have failed to materialize, most recently one that surfaced last year involving the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe of Wisconsin, whose partners included Len Wolman of Waterford, the hotelier whose Trading Cove Associates helped develop Mohegan Sun.

"It's a long way from being done," Gros said of the Concord Resort project. "Frankly, it's hard to believe it ever will be."

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Where is the MTGA going to get the funds to do this deal?

Is this expansion or diversification?

What about the hole in the ground, the Earth Hotel at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, that was never completed?

What about the Mohegan Government and Community Building, that will only be half occupied when completed in August, 2011, because of alleged lack of funds?

What about the bad deal at Pocono Downs?


Thursday, May 5, 2011


Mohegans to mark 15-year relationship with the state
Associated Press
Published 05/05/2011 12:00 AM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Leaders of the Mohegan Tribal Government are celebrating their 15-year relationship with the state of Connecticut.

Tribal Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum and the Mohegan Tribal Council are hosting a reception at the state Capitol on Thursday to mark the southeastern Connecticut tribe's lengthy partnership with the state. Legislators from the region and members of the 1996 Tribal Council that oversaw construction and opening of the Mohegan Sun casino are also expected to attend.
Connecticut currently receives a portion of the slot machine revenues at the tribe's Mohegan Sun casino.

In return, the Mohegans and the neighboring Mashantucket Pequots have exclusive rights to offer slot machines at their tribal casinos. Since the Mohegan Sun opened 15 years ago, the tribe says it has contributed more than $2.5 billion.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Cappelli enlists casino giant to revive Concord
Mohegan Sun will join casino-hotel, sources say
By Victor Whitman
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 04/28/11

KIAMESHA LAKE — Concord owner Louis Cappelli has been negotiating with the casino company Mohegan Sun to revive his defunct luxury hotel and racino plan on the site of the one-time jewel of Catskill resorts.

Cappelli, whose plans for a $1 billion resort blew apart three years ago, is close to a deal, according to sources.

"I have a major partner, to be announced this week," Cappelli said on Wednesday.
He said he could not yet reveal his partner as he is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

The Mohegan Sun Tribal Authority owns two full-service casinos, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut — the second-largest casino in the United States — and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania.

The chief executive officer is Mitchell Grossinger Etess, a Sullivan County native and grandson of Jennie Grossinger, who helped turn a small hotel in Liberty into an internationally known resort. Ironically, if this deal does come to pass, Etess could play a role in reviving the Concord, once the chief rival hotel of his family's business during the county's resort heyday.

Calls to Mohegan Sun weren't immediately returned.

Cappelli razed the old hotel and did initial foundation work before abruptly stopping in late 2008 after he couldn't get financing. He lost most of the Concord lands in a court settlement with his former partner, Entertainment Properties Trust.

The former hotel site, which he still does own, is mired in debt.
More than two dozen contractors have liens claiming unpaid bills totaling around $25 million. One of these contractors, the engineering firm, Edwards & Zuck, filed a foreclosure action in state Supreme Court on April 6, claiming its been stiffed $1.6 million.

Cappelli contesting suits

Cappelli said he's confident this will be worked out.

"The lawsuit with E and Z will take years to resolve since we are contesting the basis of the suit," Cappelli said. "We will be amicably resolved with them long before that time. In fact we expect to be resolved with all lien holders within 60 days prior to recommencing construction. The financing markets are more favorable at this time to close project financing."

Edwards & Zuck's managing partner, Matthew Donolli, said Cappelli did call to say he was starting up again.

"We are extremely upset that Cappelli has gone forward with the project and left his professional service partners without payment," Donolli said. "We don't know how real the new project is. Enough is enough for us and we are foreclosing."

Friday, April 22, 2011


With deep sadness, Brokenwing editorials reports the following story. Please forgive me if I didn't spell some of the names correctly.

Andrew Bartha, 78, of Fort Hill Drive, Uncasville, Connecticut, 06382 passed away on April 21, 2011, after a year long battle with cancer at the William W. Backus Hospital, Norwich, Connecticut.

Andrew Bartha was born on September 18, 1932, the son of the late Louis and Mary Bartha.

He was preceded by his loving wife of 51 years the late Mary Augusta Baker Bartha.

Andrew Bartha is survived by seven children. They are Andrew Bartha and his wife Lisa of Griswold, Timothy Bartha and his wife of Preston, David Bartha of Norwich, Robert Bartha and his wife Helen of Canterbury, Michael Bartha of Norwich, Paul Bartha of Seattle, Washington and Lori Bartha of Norwich.

He had fourteen grandchildren, Eric Bartha, Justin Bartha, Cory Bartha, Matthew Bartha, Kayle Bartha, Karissa Bartha, Kaila Bartha, Jake Bartha, Tanner Bartha, Gabriel Bartha, Juliana Bartha, Darnell Bartha and Jacalyn Bartha.

He had two great grandchildren, Gianna Bartha and Lily Bartha.

Andrew Bartha was a Korean War Veteran, which he proudly displayed on his Connecticut License plate, VFW 369 on his different cars for over forty years.

He was a retired member of thirty years of pleasurable service to the Local 777 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union.

He was a member of the Tuckerbung Association, where he spent many good times with his fellow members and friends.

In lieu of sending flowers, the family is asking that a contribution be made in Andrew Bartha's name to the American Cancer Society.

Family and friends can attend a visitation on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. at the Cummings Gayne Funeral Home, 82 Cliff Street, Norwich, Connecticut. The Funeral Service will follow at 12:00 PM. Internment with full Military Honors will follow at Maplewood Cemetery in Norwich.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Our hearts go out to the Bartha family. We will miss you Andy, our Condolences to his many friends and family.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Rhode Island governor opposes fix to land-into-trust decisionMonday, April 11, 2011Filed Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) opposes S.676, a bill to fix the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The bill ensures that all tribes, regardless of the date of federal recognition, can follow the land-into-trust process. That includes the would allow the Narragansett Tribe, whose leaders are trying to place land in trust for housing. "They don't want us to have sovereignty over that land," Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas told the Associated Press. The Narragansett Tribe gained federal recognition in 1983. The Supreme Court said the tribe wasn't under federal jurisdiction in 1934, when the Indian Reorganization Act became law. S.676 amends the IRA to address the date issue. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved the bill last Thursday.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Editorial: Time to collect tobacco taxes from tribes in New YorkMonday, April 4, 2011 "Gov. Cuomo's budget anticipates income of some $130 million from the taxation of cigarette sales on Indian reservations. But he's the fifth straight governor to harbor such plans -- and nary a nickel's been collected so far. When his father, Mario Cuomo, tried to collect cig taxes from the Senecas in 1992, tribesmen lit fires on the Thruway. In 1997, they repeated the trick for Gov. Pataki -- and attacked state troopers who had surrounded the reservation. Flash forward to last year: The state was supposed to start collecting the taxes on Sept. 1. But that didn't happen, thanks to injunctions from the courts. And there will be more holdups still: Just two weeks ago, a district court judge extended his restraining order barring the tax collection . . . indefinitely."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Gambler said to be willing to pay $1.2 M debt to Mohegan Sun By Brian Hallenbeck Publication: The Day Published 03/24/2011 12:00 AM Jerome Powers, the cable TV executive who allegedly owes Mohegan Sun $1.2 million in gambling debts, reportedly plans to pay up. The New York Post, quoting an unnamed spokesman for Plum TV, the New York-based cable network Powers co-chairs, reported Wednesday that Powers "is currently in settlement discussions with Mohegan Sun to drop his appeal and pay his gambling obligations in full." Attempts to confirm the report with Plum TV and attorneys involved in a lawsuit Mohegan Sun brought against Powers in New London Superior Court were unsuccessful. A call to the network's corporate offices was referred to network President Rob Gregory, who was out of town and did not answer a message. Thor Holth, the New London attorney representing Powers, was unavailable to comment, and Andrew Houlding of Rome McGuigan, the casino's attorney, indicated that he could not comment. Powers, 64, of Miami Beach, Fla., has appealed a Superior Court ruling that gave Mohegan Sun permission to attach $1.2 million worth of Powers' assets pending the outcome of the case. Holth filed the appeal with the state Appellate Court last week. Mohegan Sun filed suit against Powers in December 2009, alleging he made out six checks to the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority on May 23, 2009, all of which a bank returned unpaid when the casino deposited them. According to court records, payment was stopped on one of the checks, for $465,000, while the other five, ranging from $60,500 to $300,000, were returned because the accounts on which they were written had been closed. In a separate count, the suit alleges Powers "over-drafted" his Mohegan Sun Player's Card account by more than $55,000, of which he repaid $25,000. The suit says Powers signed a Casino Credit Agreement that authorized the authority to collect debts in the Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court "and courts of the state of Connecticut." Powers is identified on the credit agreement as the owner of Ocean Drive magazine, a publication he reportedly sold for more than $33 million in late 2007. Powers later became co-chairman and chief executive officer of Plum TV, a lifestyle network "that targets the most active, influential, and educated audience in the world," according to its website. The network is available on cable systems in Miami Beach; The Hamptons on Long Island; Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts; Aspen, Telluride and Vail, Colo.; and Sun Valley, Idaho. Plum also publishes a glossy Miami, Fla., magazine. EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Who allowed the casino to take these checks? Doesn't anyone know how a check cashing service works? Who did this? Do you know? What do you think?

Friday, March 25, 2011


Shinnecock Nation looks to better relationship with local police
Thursday, March 24, 2011Filed

Leaders of the newly recognized Shinnecock Nation are hoping to improve their relationship with local police, calling a recent pursuit onto the reservation disrespectful to the tribe.

The Shinnecock Warrior Society was holding a gathering on Friday, March 4, when a police car from Southampton Village showed up. An officer had been pursuing a man who fled onto the reservation and the situation caused a disturbance.

"We are damn upset about it," trustee Lance Gumbs, who was called to the scene, told The Southampton Press.

Four tribal members, including Gumbs' son, were later arrested in connection with the incident. "If anything, the Village Police obstructed a tribal meeting that was going on up here," Gumbs told the paper.

A few days later, village police abandoned a pursuit of a different man on the reservation. "Going forward, there definitely has to be more dialogue between the Nation and various entities so we can get on the same page," Gordell Wright, another trustee, told the paper.

The tribe gained federal recognition last year but its reservation is not held in trust. The state recognizes the reservation but exercises criminal and civil jurisdiction on it.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Connecticut's highway system budget, isn't finishing the end of Route 11 into the New London and Waterford area. It would be a good short cut from Route 2 and save people time, going from New London to Hartford.

The State of Connecticut did put on the budget, the expanding of lanes going across the Route 2 A bridge (Mohegan Pequot Bridge). How will the construction affect gambling at the Mohegan Sun? Will the buses that travel up I-395 to Foxwoods, over the bridge, go another way? Will this effect business at the Mohegan Sun Casino? What will management at the Mohegan Sun do to combat this possible loss of business? What do you think?

Monday, March 21, 2011


Cowlitz casino lawsuit is first test of Supreme Court decision
Monday, March 21, 2011 Filed

Indian Country is paying close attention to a new lawsuit aimed at stopping the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington from building a casino.

The tribe gained federal recognition in 2000. But in a record of decision, the Bureau of Indian Affairs said the tribe was "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934.

The finding is significant because it's first time the BIA addressed issues raised by the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The Cowlitz are now a "poster child" for the case, Chairman William Iyall said.

“There are a lot of other tribes in the United States that will be relying on this issue,” Iyall told The Columbian.

The case is expected to take at least two years to resolve. Opponents of the casino hope it ends up before the Supreme Court.

“This case has all the ingredients of a case that the Supreme Court would take, and that’s about all any lawyer could say,” Guy Martin, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, told the paper.


Thursday, March 17, 2011


Loss of Seneca Nation casino revenue felt in local communities
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Filed

Local communities are laying off employees and cutting budgets due to an ongoing gaming dispute between the Seneca Nation and the state of New York.

The tribe has withheld $228 million from the state, citing an expansion of non-Indian gaming. A big chunk of that money -- about $57.2 million -- would have gone to local governments.

"The New York State-Seneca relationship is killing us," Salamanca Mayor Jeffery Pond told The Buffalo news. The city has laid off 49 workers and reduced the police force in half because it hasn't received its share of gaming funds.

Since December 2002, the tribe has shared $471.4 million to the state. Of that amount, about $118 million went to the three communities that host casinos.

STORY TAKEN FROM Could this happen in Connecticut? What do you think?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Connecticut tribes report even month for slot machine revenues
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes reported little change in their slot machine revenues for February 2010.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation reported a win of $51.1 million. That was only nine-tenths of a percent lower than the win from February 2009.

The Mohegan Tribe reported a win of $58 million. That was up less than one tenth of a percent from a year earlier.

February was a better month for the tribes than January, when slot win fell 12 percent for the Mohegans and nearly 6 percent for the Pequots.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Tax man eyes Indian tobacco sales
By Tom Precious
Published:March 8, 2011, 3:39 PM
ALBANY -- The state's top tax collector said the state is ready to quickly end tax-free cigarette sales by Indian retailers to non-Indian customers.

New York State is awaiting a ruling from a federal appeals court on the long-simmering tobacco tax issue, said Thomas Mattox, who was confirmed Tuesday by the State Senate to the tax commissioner's post.

"We're prepared to enforce immediately," Mattox said after being unanimously backed by the Senate Finance Committee for the tax post.

Mattox said the agency is prepared to issue tax-free coupons to members of Indian tribes and collect the tax on non-Indian customers "as soon as we are [allowed] to do so by the courts."
Is he concerned about possible confrontations as occurred the last time the state tried to collect the tax in 1997?

"I don't have the expertise on that. I think that's really a question for law enforcement," he said. "Our focus has been on the tax laws and our requirements under them, and we are prepared to enforce them."

Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter issued a statement following Mattox's comments.
"There's nothing new here," Porter said. "The Nation prefers dialogue to confrontation. When the state wants to discuss this issue, we'll be open to those discussions. As always, we will defend our treaty rights vigorously."

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is counting on $130 million in revenue by ending the tax-free Indian tobacco sales. The state wants to collect the tax "upstream" at the tobacco wholesale level so that the taxes already would have been paid to Albany by the time cigarettes reach Indian retailers.
The state wants to collect its $4.35-per-pack excise tax, which is not being charged to smokers who buy from Indian retailers.

The Senate Nation, whose private tobacco retailers are considered the biggest Native American cigarette suppliers, is fighting the Cuomo effort in court and before the Legislature. They argue that the tax-free sales are protected by treaty rights and that they will not be party to a tax collection effort by Albany.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: How many times will the rights of tribal governments be challenged by state governments? Could these kind of things happen here in Connecticut? What do you think?

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Scaled-back casino plan prepared by Mohegan Sun
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Business writer

SPRINGFIELD - The issue of expanded gaming is expected to come before the state Legislature soon, and when it does, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority will push for a scaled-down version of their earlier proposed resort-style casino in Palmer.

Plans for that $600 million casino have shrunken in four years since it was first proposed from 3,000 slot machines to 2,500 slot machines in the plans today and from a theater with seating for up to 5,000 to a multi-use ballroom of 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, said Paul I. Brody vice president of Mohegan Gaming Advisors, during an editorial board meeting with The Republican Wednesday.

"This isn't a build-it-and-they-will-come business model anymore," Brody said.

"It is a very tightly-margined business and you have to watch how much you spend."
A law allowing casino gambling in Massachusetts failed in the waning days of the last legislative session. That bill included a resort-style casino - one with table games, a hotel and other amenities in addition to slot machines - for Western Massachusetts.

But Gov. Deval L. Patrick rejected last year's bill because it would not provide for competitive bidding for slot machines at race tracks. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, D-Winthrop, has such tracks in his district and has pushed hard to establish slots-only gambling at those tracks.

In Western Massachusetts, another entity has proposed a casino for the Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke.

The recession has changed the gambling industry, said Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Grossinger Etess.

"Gaming is discretionary income," he said during the meeting.

The authority will look for investors if it gets permission to site a casino in Palmer.
"It is a different financial climate than 2004 and 2005," Brody said. "I don't think a lot of companies are financing projects off their balance sheet. I don't think that is a bad thing."
Etess said the Mohegans are being courted by potential investors in the Palmer project.

They said the organization is financially sound with its flagship casino in Uncasville, Conn., a facility in northeastern Pennsylvania and a deal in the works with an American Indian tribe in Washington state.

The company reported a 2.3 percent increase in earnings from $59.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $60.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. But much of that improvement came from cost cutting, according to a Mohegan news release. Gaming revenues fell from $309 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $307 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The company laid off 475 workers in Uncasville last year.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Those are the facts, look how much the casino has dropped in business over the years? Who is responsible? Could it be the present Mohegan Tribal Council? What do you think?

Monday, February 28, 2011


Beverly Jensen: Shinnecock Nation exercises free speech right
Monday, February 28, 2011

"We wrote an article for a tribal publication that wound up putting us on that collision course. The first thing we did was to voice a protest. The article was crisp. It brimmed with facts and figures. It was descriptive to the nines. The People had a right to know. (Yes, we went there.)

That defensive maneuver hardly mattered. We wound up squashing our perfect epistle ourselves, satisfied that at least we’d taken a stand on behalf of the most traditional law in all of the Shinnecock culture — the right of free speech. We know this because we invented it long before an amendment was a glint in a constitution’s eye. We are born into it, nurtured on it, thrive on it and exercise our right to free discourse at the drop of a hat. We can orate, argue, discuss and orally disseminate like no others. Any outsider who has ever had the experience of attending one of our tribe meetings can attest to that.

But this is about the article that we squashed, not a tribe meeting. We tossed the article ourselves because the greater truth is, we are a member of the Tribe. As such, we were taught to heed voiced concerns. Our survival depends upon each and every one of us expressing ourselves, each and everyone of us lending an ear, or two. We are weaned on the wisdom that the fight for survival is not about one individual, or one slightly dented ego, or one article with which a few somebodies took issue.

We are The People of a long march through time, one foot in front of the other, at least until the horse and buggy came along and we were able to hitch rides. These days we’re driving, and who knows how the next seven generations will move towards another millennium. Fly, maybe, as in a gaggle of geese, in formation, flapping onward to the next century."


Thursday, February 24, 2011


Seneca Nation Leaders Meet With Gov. Cuomo's Staff
By WKBW Programming

Seneca Nation Leaders Meet With Gov. Cuomo's Staff
February 22, 2011 Updated Feb 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM EST

ALBANY, NY, Feb. 22, 2011 – (release) Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter and other Seneca leaders today met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff in Albany in the first face-to-face meeting on issues dividing their governments.

Porter, along with other Seneca leaders and the governor’s staff, met for 95 minutes at the Capitol.

“We had an interesting first meeting. We committed to meeting again. We discussed the multitude of issues that confront the Nation and invited further dialogue. We explained to the governor through his key staff that our treaties and sovereignty will not be compromised,” Porter said.

“Our message to the governor was: What’s good for the Seneca Nation is good for Western New York and, ultimately, the state as a whole.”

Also attending the meeting was Council Chairman Richard Nephew and Nation Chief Counsel Chris Karns. Prior to meeting with the executive branch, the Seneca leaders also met with staff of the Senate Republican majority. Secretary to the Governor Steve Cohen attended part of the meeting, which was with Counsel to the Governor Mylan Denerstein.

“The Seneca Nation is fully committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue with the governor on these very important issues, which extend beyond the longstanding tobacco tax dispute,” said Nephew. “This is also yet another opportunity for the Seneca to educate and inform the leaders in New York State on the significant treaty relationship we have with the United States, to remind them what those obligations entail and to revisit the more contemporary agreements that have been made with the Seneca. It goes without saying that those agreements – the treaties and compacts – must be honored and fulfilled.”

Porter today also released contents of a letter he delivered to Gov. Cuomo’s staff when the two met briefly in Jamestown after the governor’s speech there Jan. 13. The letter basically outlined the agenda and subjects for discussions at today’s meeting.

In the letter, the president called for working together for the future growth and success of Western New York.

Porter, elected the same day as Cuomo last November, wrote:
“The lesson of the Nation’s success is simple – when the state accepts and recognizes the Nation’s sovereignty and treaty rights, good things happen for both Senecas and non-Indians alike. Conversely, when the state pursues short-sighted policies that disrespect the Nation’s unique status, both our governments suffer,” Porter wrote in his 3½-page January letter.
In the January letter, Porter listed “The Challenges,” and “The Opportunities.”

The challenges include: Violation of treaty-protected rights; taxation of commerce with non-Indians; violation of “exclusivity provision” under Nation/State Casino Compact; illegal use of Nation lands by New York State Thruway; Southern Tier Expressway “Unkept Promises;” New York State Police and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Regulatory Overcharges; West Valley Nuclear Contamination; New York State Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction; Ganondagan State Historic Site, near Rochester.

For opportunities, he listed the potential benefits on the regional and upstate economies of long-term agreements. Porter concluded:

“By definition, the Seneca people are permanent residents of what is now called Western New York. Since we anticipate that New Yorkers will also remain resident in our area for quite some time, we therefore have a long-term interest in the future growth and success of this region – an interest that I know you and I have in common.”

Specifically on the challenges, Porter wrote:
· Violation of treaty rights: “In 2010, Gov. Paterson and the State Legislature initiated a new effort to assess state excise taxes on the tobacco commerce occurring on Nation lands. The Nation views this effort as an affront to our sovereignty and a violation of our treaty-protected right to the ‘free use and enjoyment of our lands.’ In addition, the state’s effort violates the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 that expressly recognizes our immunity from the application of state taxes in our territory.”

· Casino compact: The Nation requests that the state withdraw its recently filed arbitration request to allow for a discussion of this dispute between the two sides.

· New York State Thruway: In 2007, the Nation cancelled the state’s 1954 easement to a three-mile stretch of the Thruway on Cattaraugus Territory land in Irving due to state non-compliance, and instituted toll charges. Those now total $75 million, which the state Thruway Authority has ignored. The Nation requests discussions begin about the balance owed and fulfillment of state commitments.

· Southern Tier Expressway: The state failed to meet obligations to the Nation set out in 1976. Discussions should begin to settle these failed promises.

· State gambling regulation charges: The state overbilled the Nation since the start of the compact, now overcharging the Nation $48 million. On Dec. 22, the two sides reached a conceptual agreement on a settlement. This should be finalized.

· West Valley. The state and the Nation should work together to move the U.S. Government to ensure a healthy environment for everyone living in the area potentially affected by radioactive contamination.

· Criminal and civil jurisdictions. The Nation would like to begin a dialogue with the state about criminal jurisdiction and civil lawsuits in state courts involving Indians. This frustrates Nation self-government and costs the state extra money.

· Ganondagan. The state operates a historic site near Victor, NY that is the historic birthplace of the Seneca Nation. The Nation, state and private parties contributed funds -- $2 million in the Nation’s case – to build an interpretive center on the site. The Nation would like state commitment for operating support and a role for the Nation in perpetuity.

In his first letter to the governor, Porter said:
“As you take office, I wanted to offer you the opportunity to establish a peaceful, long-term relationship between the Seneca Nation and the state. While our treaty relationship is with the United States government, not the state, I believe that the reality of our daily interaction is such that it is important for the Seneca Nation to have a direct and productive relationship with state officials as well as federal officials. I hope you agree.”

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Are these problems, that many tribes have? Could or do these situations affect the Mohegan Tribe? What do you think?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Casinos' slots revenue down in January
By Brian Hallenbeck


Published 02/15/2011 12:00

Sizable declines were expected, given the month’s severe weather, some of which affected weekend traffic.

“Despite the record-setting snowfall, we were still able to achieve consistently high visitation and (hotel) occupancy, as well as sell out a number of our shows throughout the month,” Scott Butera, Foxwoods’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are pleased with our results …”

Foxwoods Resort Casino, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, “won,” or kept, $48.5 million wagered on its machines, while Mohegan Sun kept $54.5 million wagered on its machines. Foxwoods, the Mashantucket Pequot-owned compex marking its 19th anniversary today, sent $12.7 million of its win to the state. Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, anted up $14.3 million.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: The other day, a Mohegan Tribal Member, told me that the financial problems, that the Mohegans find themselves in, was caused by past Mohegan Tribal Councils.

I couldn't believe that this well educated person, actually believed what he was saying. It couldn't be further from the facts. I reminded him the M.B. was had voted for most of the things that got us in this situation.

Who voted for the expansion, Phase Two (Sky Casino and Mohegan Sun Hotel), that went over budget? Was it M.B.?

Who voted to purchase Pocono Downs? Was it M.B. and B.B.?

Who voted for the permanent facility at Pocono Downs? Could it have been B.B., L.M., J.G., A.J., M.B., W.Q., and C.H.?

Who voted to spend money in Wisconsin and Washington State?

Who voted to build the Mohegan Government Community Center with the financing allegedly not in place? Was it M.B., B.B., L.M., J.G., A.J., T.H., W.Q. and C.H.?

Who voted to build a hotel, that is presently a hole in the ground? Was it L.M., B.B., M.B., J.G., A.J., T.H., W.Q. and C.H.?

Who was responsible for not taking the put on the Pocono Downs deal?

Who is responsible for taking the loan from the Federal Government, for the Mohegan Tribal Government Community Center? Do the majority of the Mohegan Tribe want this building? Is it going to cause cut backs in Mohegan Tribal member benefits? How is this going to be paid back? What do you think?

Who is causing the alleged cut backs, that the Mohegan Tribe is enduring?

Is it past Mohegan Tribal Councils, who caused the situation the tribe finds itself in? Is it because of the actions of the present Tribal Council? What do you think?



How many decisions, does the MTGA make, based on the Mohegan Sun management's recommendations? What do you think?

What cut backs are the Mohegan Tribal Council and the Council of Elders doing to themselves? Do you know of any? Should they take cut backs before asking cut backs of the Mohegan People? What do you think?

How many bad business decisions are the fault of Mohegan Sun management and the MTGA (Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority)? Was it past MTGA's? IS IT THE PRESENT MTGA? What do you think?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Illegal Chinese Immigrant Pleads Guilty In Casino 'Bust-Out' Scheme
Foxwoods Resort Casino By EDMUND H. MAHONY,

The Hartford Courant

7:43 p.m. EST, February 14, 2011

HARTFORD — An illegal Chinese immigrant pleaded guilty on Monday to running a "bust-out" scheme that enabled gamblers to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars by cashing out phony bank transfers at the state's two casinos.

Federal prosecutors said Zhao Guang Ming, a 34-year-old resident of Queens known as Mr. Zhang, admitted in court in Hartford that he defrauded an unspecified number of banks of more than $200,000 in the scheme, in which criminals repeatedly obtained fraudulent cash advances at casinos in Ledyard and Montville.

A federal law enforcement affidavit said that the powerful, overhead video surveillance system at the Foxwoods Resort Casino collected a key piece of evidence against Zhao. The system has such high resolution that authorities were able to read the screen on Zhao's mobile telephone device as he used the Internet to enter the information necessary to initiate a fraudulent bank transfer.

"The surveillance video was zoomed in to a sufficient level to allow the viewer to read" the information on the screen of Zhao's mobile device, according to an affidavit prepared by an agent of the Department of Homeland Security, which conducted the investigation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Bad Weather Blamed for Drop in Slots
Feb. 11, 2011 6:48 a.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- January slot machine revenue from Pennsylvania casinos saw a slight drop -- 3.73% -- from the previous year, a decrease attributed to harsh winter weather that affected travel.

"In my recent visits to casinos, primarily those in the eastern portion of the commonwealth, operators explained that the crippling weather in January held down attendance at their facilities and affected revenue," said Kevin O'Toole, executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. "We expect slot revenue numbers to rebound if the weather improves."

This is the first time, he noted, that an overall monthly revenue figure from slot machine gaming has fallen from the same month in the previous year.

Not all casinos experienced a drop, however, including Presque Isle Downs in Erie and Rivers in Pittsburgh. Presque Isle Downs reported revenue of $11,476,856 for January -- up a slight 0.01% from January 2010 -- and revenue at Rivers Casino reached $20,173,211, up 12.54% from a year earlier.

The play of slot machines at the 10 casinos operating last month produced $177,317,920 in gross revenue compared to $184,214,974 a year ago. Tax collections by the commonwealth on that amount last month totaled $97,056,310, a per-day average of $3.13 million in tax revenue, O'Toole reported.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; If $184 Million was bet on slots and the State took $97 Million, how could any casino, including the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Possibly pay their bills, loans, interest, etc., from the remaining $87 Million? I don't see how that could ever be possible... Is Pocono Downs a looser? Will it always be like this? Can the MTGA do anything to change this? Was this a bad deal from the start? Should the MTGA get out of this bad deal? Do you know? What do you think?


Friday, February 11, 2011


.....Fall River continues casino talks with Mashpee Wampanoags.Is this article accurate?
By Will Richmond
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Feb 10, 2011 @ 10:52 AM

FALL RIVER — As the future of casino gambling in the commonwealth remains uncertain, city officials are closely watching similar discussions in Rhode Island.

During a meeting of the Fall River Office of Economic Development’s Board of Directors Thursday morning, FROED Executive Vice President Kenneth Fiola said the city remains in regular contact with the Mashpee Wampanoags about the development of a casino in the city. Fiola said he talked with tribal officials as recently as Monday.

Fiola informed the board that the tribe is looking at other locations in the city for a potential resort casino. He did not provide any specific locations.

He said using land within the recently agreed upon biopark is not an option, noting the location is protected against casino development through the legislation that led to the city acquiring the land and the current zoning of the land.

While the search for a new location continues, Fiola said the prospect of a casino in Fall River or any other SouthCoast locale could depend on the future of expanded gambling in the Ocean State.
“The biggest impact is what Rhode Island is going to do,” Fiola said.

The Associated Press Tuesday reported that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has indicated a willingness to turn the Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln, R.I., into a full-scale casino.

Twin River owner UTGR Inc. released an economic impact study that day, claiming such a switch would create as many as 650 jobs and up to $60 million in revenue for the state and town.

Fiola told the board he has also read reports that Chafee and the Rhode Island legislature have reached an informal agreement to expand gaming at both Twin River and Newport Grand, which is located about 20 miles south of Fall River.

Fiola cautioned that such an expansion could cause developers to look for a less congested market.

“If that happens it will have a severe impact on the siting of a casino in Massachusetts,” Fiola said. “What it doesn’t impact, in my mind, is a casino being sited in Boston.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Rhode Island governor wants Narragansett Tribe in gaming talks
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) says the Narragansett Tribe should be included in discussions about an expansion of gaming in the state.

Federal law bars the tribe from engaging in gaming on its reservation and the tribe cannot acquire land outside of its reservation under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The tribe has sought voter approval for a casino under state law but has been rejected more than once.

Meanwhile, non-Indian gaming has grown in the state. The Twin River Casino started off as a racetrack and was expanded with slot machines and now there is talk of adding table games.

The tribe gets a small share of revenues from slots at the facility -- this year's payment is expected to be $721,854. Chafee said the tribe should "have a seat at the table" if Twin River is going to add more games.

When Chafee served in the Senate, he opposed legislation that would allow the tribe to engage in gaming on its land.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Mohegan Tribe reaffirms commitment to casino in Massachusetts
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut is still committed to a casino in Massachusetts, a top gaming executive said.

The tribe wants to build the Mohegan Sun Palmer in the western part of the state. The facility would be located about 60 miles from the reservation in Connecticut.

“Our goal is to be there,” Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell G. Etes told The Waterbury Republican. “When Massachusetts is ready, we’ll be ready.”

Lawmakers are gearing up for another debate on gaming. Past proposals have called for facilities in different parts of the state.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Mr. Etess where is the money coming from to finance this project? Where is the money coming for the loans due in 2012? Is it true that it is about $850 Million? Where is the money coming from? Hello? What do you think?

Monday, January 31, 2011


Litigation expected to delay Cowlitz casino by at least 18 months
Friday, January 28, 2011

Litigation will delay a casino for the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington by at least 18 months, the tribe's partner said.

Officials in Clark County are going to sue the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approving the tribe's land-into-trust application. The deadline to file is February 4.

The tribe's partner is the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. The Mohegans have reportedly spent $40 million on the project so far.

Get the Story:
Mohegan Tribe, partners in Cowlitz casino, says legal challenges could take more than a year (The Oregonian 1/28)
Mohegans say Cowlitz casino will be “exciting destination” (The Columbian 1/28)


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Land-into-trust issues cloud gaming plans for at least two tribes
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, will open its first casino on February 11 but land-into-trust issues could affect future gaming plans.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs placed a 147-acre site in trust for the tribe in January 2009. A few weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The decision restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. The Gun Lake Tribe didn't gain federal recognition until 1998, an issue that will be revived now that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against the BIA.

The Cowlitz Tribe of Washington is the target of a similar lawsuit. The BIA agreed to place 152 acres in trust for the tribe but local officials are going to sue over the 1934 issue.

The tribe gained federal recognition in 2000. The BIA addressed the 1934 issue in its record of decision on the land-into-trust application.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from't the Cowlitz, the tribe that Mohegans were going in business with to open a casino in Washington? Is that deal dead? Where are the Mohegans going to get the money for this project? What are you going to do about this Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum? What do you think?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Union seeks jobs with new casino
Friday, January 21, 2011

PALMER - Construction union leaders urged their members Wednesday to contact legislators to push for passage of a law allowing casinos in the state and one specifically in Western Massachusetts.

"This is our time. This is the last shot we are going to have. Call your elected officials," said Daniel D'Alma, the business manager of Local 7 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

D'Alma said 120 of the 450 members of his electrical workers local are out of work and they need a major project like the proposal to build a resort hotel and casino in Palmer across Route 32 from the Massachusetts Turnpike toll plaza.

"This should happen this time around," D'Alma said during a rally that attracted more than 60 members of local construction trade unions to the Steaming Tender restaurant Wednesday night.

Palmer Town Councilor Paul Burns, a strong advocate of the Mohegan Sun proposal for a casino in Palmer, spoke openly during the rally of his frustration over the collapse of legislative efforts in Massachusetts last year to legalize casino gambling.

But Burns said that in the first weeks of this year's legislative session the leaders of the Senate, House of Representatives and Gov. Deval L. Patrick are already talking compromise.

Legislation was approved by both houses in July authorizing three casinos and stipulating that at least one be located in the four westernmost counties of the state, but ultimately that bill died because Patrick objected to permitting slot machines at race tracks without bidding, a measure pushed by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.

Burns said the potential for a compromise that would lead to a law authorizing a casino in Western Massachusetts is good news for Palmer, a town that for years has seen majorities favor having a casino.

"The people in Palmer understand this issue and they are ready to move forward," Burns said. "If the casino moves east, the jobs will move east with it. Instead of having a seat at the table, we will be eating crumbs off the floor again."

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Will Native Americans get priority on contracts if the casino is Built? Where will the Mohegans get the money to do such a project? Will the Mohegans purchase the land or will they lease it? Will this ever happen or is another pipe dream of the MTGA (Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority)? What do you think?'


(NECN) - City leaders in Fall River, Massachusetts have reportedly decided not to roll the dice on a casino there.

The Cape Cod Times reports city officials told the Mashpee Wampanoags their $21 million offer for land in fall river is off the table.

Instead, they'll consider bringing in a biotechnology park.

The Wampanoags have been pushing for a casino for nearly four years.

Last year, the tribe scrapped a deal it had with Middleboro because it was facing so much opposition.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's casino project delayed by litigation
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last year, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe agreed to pay a total of $21 million to buy land for a casino in Fall River, Massachusetts.

But litigation has delayed the tribe from acquiring the land. The first deadline passed in November and it looks like a second deadline will pass next month as the lawsuit continues in state court.

A group of 10 residents, including the leader of a state-recognized tribe, say the land deal is illegal. They say state law hasn't authorized casino-style gaming and that the city should have started a bidding process for the land.

A judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the sale of the land. The next hearing in the case will be held in late March or April, The Fall River Herald News reported.

The tribe has already included the site in its land-into-trust application at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Monday, January 10, 2011


BIA puts hold on all two-part off-reservation casino applications
Monday, January 10, 2011

The Obama administration has put a hold on all two-part determination applications for off-reservation casinos.

There are currently nine pending applications, some dating back nearly a decade. But the Bureau of Indian Affairs won't make a decision until Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk develops his own policy on the matter, a spokesperson for the Interior Department said.

“Last year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar instructed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk to undertake a comprehensive review of Department of the Interior policy on the two-part determination exemption under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for taking land into trust for gaming purposes. As part of the review, Echo Hawk held six consultation meetings with Indian leaders around the country which finished on Dec. 18, 2010,” spokesperson Kendra Barkoff told The Hood River News. “Mr. Echo Hawk’s office is currently reviewing the comments received as part of that consultation and determining the next steps on the process for considering two-part determination applications for tribes."

The nine applications include one from the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. The BIA has approved a Class III gaming compact for a proposed off-reservation casino but the casino itself remains in limbo.

"This is a major hurdle for our project to clear and is long-awaited good news for the tribal families who hope that our casino and resort project at Cascade Locks will bring a measure of economic relief from our impoverished conditions," Tribal Secretary Jody Calica said in a press release.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the two-part determination process requires approval of an off-reservation casino by the BIA and the state governor. Since 1988, only three tribes have successfully cleared both hurdles.


Friday, January 7, 2011


For Native Americans Recession Hits a Lot Harder
Published 6 Jan 2011, 10:51 am

The US Mint on January 12th will celebrate the release of this year’s $1 coin in its Native American series. The coin features the images of a Native American and white man passing a peace pipe. This represents a 1621 treaty signed between a tribe in Massachusetts and the area’s English settlers.

However, as the Federal government honors the history and contributions of Native Americans with a new coin, Indigenous people are among the least likely to have one in their pocket.

An issue brief released by the Economic Policy Institute in November shows that Native Americans are experiencing significantly higher rates of unemployment than whites. Titled, “Different Race, Different Recession: American Indian Unemployment in 2010,” the brief examines regional unemployment rates among American Indians.

From the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2010, whites in Alaska and the Northern Plains were not hit as hard by the recession as their counterparts in other areas.

However for Native Americans, unemployment rose the most in these two regions in the same period. To calculate the unemployment rate among this diverse and widespread group, the Economic Policy Institute looked at employment-to-population ratios, instead of the more common method that excludes unemployed people who have stopped actively looking for work.

The employment-to-population ratio counts all working age adults who are not employed, and is considered by some to be a more accurate assessment of unemployment.

GUEST: Algernon Austin, author of the Brief and Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute

Find out more at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Seneca Nation pushes rejection of Catskills off-reservation casino
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Seneca Nation of New York is urging the Obama administration to reject an off-reservation casino for the Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican Indians of Wisconsin.

The Senecas say the Mohicans aren't entitled to a casino in the Catskills region of New York. The Senecas say the site is too far from the Mohicans' current headquarters.

"The ability of the [Stockbridge Munsee Band] to exercise jurisdiction over these lands is hampered by the sheer distance between Bowler, WI and Monticello, NY - in excess of 1,000 driving miles and several states away," Seneca Nation Robert Odawi Porter wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The Stockbridge Munsee Band reached a land claim settlement and a gaming compact with former New York governor David Paterson late last year. New Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) says the deal is legal.


Monday, December 20, 2010


'Sex It Up' suggestion played down at Mohegan Sun casino
By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published 12/16/2010 12:00

Mohegan - Mohegan Sun isn't likely to rival Las Vegas' claim to the Sin City moniker anytime soon - its internal communiqu├ęs notwithstanding.

A document containing the suggestion that the Sun ought to "Sex It Up" is merely a compilation of ideas tossed out during brainstorming sessions among managers, the casino's chief executive officer said Wednesday.

"It's not a policy; it's nothing more than a bunch of ideas," Mitchell Etess said of the 10-page document titled "Preserve the Core, Stimulate Progress."

The document, which contains the phrase "excitement and entertainment needs to be increased on casino floor (Sex It Up)," was passed out at a recent meeting of about 200 casino managers and was not intended for wider distribution, Etess said.

But, apparently, it found its way into the hands "of someone who didn't understand what it was," he said, leading to a television news report on its existence.

Etess sought to explain what he called "those seven letters" in Sex It Up.

"That's not referring to go-go dancers or sexy outfits," he said. "It's referring to excitement, energy, contemporariness."

Sexing it up, Etess allowed, is not in the cards for Mohegan Sun.

"We don't have the kind of edge like The Palms in Las Vegas or even The Borgata (in Atlantic City)," he said. "Our image has evolved over time, and it has a lot to do with the history and culture of the (Mohegan) tribe. … That (edge) didn't end up getting any traction."

The 10-page document, which also contains such suggestions as paging celebrities on the premises, announcing jackpot winners and adjusting airflows, grew out of regular committee meetings, Etess said.

"In a brainstorming session, no idea is stupid," he said. "You write down everything that anybody says."

Etess said the "Sex It Up" suggestion has generated no official complaints from employees. He said the casino's human resources department has received no feedback about it.

"Within our culture, we would not adopt any idea that would create discomfort for any of our employees," he said.


News.Lawmaker praises gaming board decision on Phila. casino license
Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010

By ERIC S. SMITH, Staff Writer

State Rep. Curt Schroder commended the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's decision to revoke the casino license of Foxwoods for its proposed Delaware River waterfront casino in Philadelphia.

Schroder, who serves as chairman of the Gaming Oversight Committee, said he will also introduce legislation to put the license out to bid statewide when the new session of the General Assembly begins in January.

The gaming board made a 6-1 decision Thursday to revoke the license after the plan has struggled for four years to get the proper financial backing to begin construction.

"Foxwoods had more than ample time to get its financing in order," said Schroder, R-155th of East Brandywine. "I commend the state Gaming Control Board for its decisive action in this case. After four years of delays and restructuring, it was apparent that Foxwoods did not have financing in place to establish a casino and generate revenue for the Commonwealth."

Schroder said the license that was revoked currently has to stay in Philadelphia and will be sold at a cost of $50 million. But he said he wants to open up the process to a bid and allow the license to be moved outside of Philadelphia.

"Many of us have thought that you should put these licenses out to bid," Schroder said. "It's a bargain-basement price at $50 million."

Schroder said the bidding would start at $50 million and could go up from there. The existing bidding process for licenses does not involve a price war.

Schroder said the revenues from a slot-machine license would go into the property tax relief fund and could help Pennsylvania homeowners "to some extent" while the table-game revenues would go into the state's general fund. Schroder said it would help the state's economy, but he said he is unsure exactly what impact it would have.

Schroder said moving the casino out of Philadelphia, and perhaps the surrounding area, would not likely impact the local economy very much.

And he said the economy of his district, which is entirely in Chester County, would not be greatly affected if the casino moved across the state. Continued...

12See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (0) » Comment on this story »
The Philadelphia area may be "saturated" with casinos already, Schroder said, and may not need a second casino in the city.

SugarHouse Casino recently opened in the city, and nearby casinos in Bethlehem, Bensalem and Chester are also up and running.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: If the Mohegans were trying to get a license at this point in time, would they be able to? I doubt it. Is Pocono Downs making money? I don't think so. Was it a good deal? Have the MTGA ever made any money there? I don't think so.

Who voted to purchase Pocono Downs? Was it M.B. and B.B.?

How much was the license fee? $50 Million.

Who voted on the current MTGA to build the permanent facility?

Maybe Foxwoods not getting a license is a blessing in disguise? What do you think?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Tribes in Connecticut report another decline in slot machine win
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes reported declines in their slot machine "win" for the month of November.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation reported a 7.8 percent decline from November 2009. The Mohegan Tribe saw a 6.5 percent drop.

Both tribes have been hit hard during the recession.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: So what are you going to do about this situation, Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum and company? How much is the Mohegan Tribe going to suffer from your alleged non-action? Why are the Mohegan Tribe building a government building? What do you think?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Narragansett Tribe still optimistic on fix to land-into-trust ruling
Friday, December 10, 2010

The Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island remains hopeful that Congress will pass a fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The tribe lost the ability to follow the land-into-trust process as a result of the decision. A fix would restore the tribe's rights and benefit dozens of other tribes that weren't federally recognized in 1934.

"We’re pleased," Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas told The Providence Journal. "But we’ve got a long way to go."

The fix enjoys bipartisan support but most politicians in Rhode Island oppose it. They fear it could lead to gaming even though the tribe never planned on doing so.

“All along, they’re the ones who’ve been saying that. We never said that,” Thomas told the paper. "[W]e’re going to build our housing," he said.

The House passed the fix as part of the 2011 continuing resolution. The Senate has yet to take up the measure.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


New York county welcomes Shinnecock Nation federal recognition
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Suffolk County, New York, Legislature issued a proclamation to celebrate the federal recognition of the Shinnecock Nation.

The tribe filed its federal recognition petition with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1978. After years of delays, the tribe's status became final in October.

"It has been a long struggle. We give thanks for those [tribal members] not here today," Randy King, the chairman of the tribe's board of trustees, said at the county ceremony, Newsday reported.

The tribe's flag will fly in the county legislature.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Why wouldn't Suffolk County not want the Shinnecock Tribe to get recognition? How many workers will the future casino create for workers in the county? It is a win win situation for the county. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Editorial: New leader brings some big ideas to the Seneca Nation
Monday, December 6, 2010

"Do you think it is time for Native Americans to move off their lands and join the rest of us full-fledged Americans in getting on with life in the 21st century?

If so, we believe from what he has written that the newly elected president of the Seneca Nation of Indians sees you as proof of how thoroughly U.S. government policies of assimilation have undermined the notion of the sovereignty of Indian nations.

And while he understands the historic roots of this view, Robert Odawi Porter - Harvard graduate, Syracuse University law professor and the new president of the Senecas - rejects it from the inner core of his being.

Porter was, in fact, elected last month on the pledge to fight aggressively all threats to the Seneca's sovereignty. That's no surprise nor does the vow represent any new direction for the Seneca governing body.

However, if his two-year term is not too short a time to leave a deep imprint, Porter's election holds the possibility that during his presidency, issues that long have been like dead weights sapping the Senecas' attention and emotional energy may finally be moved to resolution - perhaps in a direction no one has yet imagined."


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Indian canoe dating back 800 years uncovered at lake in Florida
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A family on a weekend outing in Florida came upon a unique find -- an Indian canoe in near perfect condition.

The 23-foot-long dugout canoe dates back 500 to 800 years. It was found in Lake Munson near Tallahassee.

"The technology that they had at the time to be able to build a canoe this nice, it's pretty amazing to me, when you look at it, how crisply and cleanly it's made and the tools that they had available, shells, sharks teeth, flint," expert James Levy told WCTV.

The canoe is believed to have been built by members of the Apalachee Tribe who use to live in the area.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Mohegan Sun credit ratings lowered over financial woes
By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published 12/01/2010

Moody's Investors Service downgraded its bond ratings Tuesday on the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and raised doubt about whether the authority can avoid a financial restructuring.

The agency lowered its corporate and probability-of-default ratings on the authority from "B3" to "Caa2," a designation reserved for high-risk debt.

The Moody's downgrade followed similar action last week by Standard & Poor's, another credit-rating agency, which lowered its rating on the authority from "B" to "CCC."

The gaming authority operates the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Leo Chupaska, the authority's chief financial officer, said the downgrades were not unexpected.

"We thought it would happen," he said. "Since we announced we're working with Blackstone (a major corporate advisory firm), there's been a lot of speculation about how we're going to deal with our (debt) maturities. Right now, we're in a refinancing mode. We haven't talked about restructuring. We really haven't said anything. We're still talking about refinancing."

In a refinancing, a debtor typically negotiates better loan terms, including extending maturity dates, while a restructuring often involves a creditor receiving less money than it is owed.

In a Nov. 12 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the authority announced that Blackstone Advisory Partners LP was providing help with "strategic planning and analysis in connection with its business and financial goals, including operational improvements, contemplated hotel projects and … bank and bond maturities."

Authority executives declined to elaborate on Blackstone's involvement during a Nov. 23 conference call with investors and gaming industry analysts.

During the call, Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the authority and of Mohegan Sun, announced that as of Jan. 1 he will turn over responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the casino to Jeffrey Hartmann, executive vice president and chief operating officer, who will succeed him as CEO of the casino. Etess said he will concentrate on developing new business opportunities as CEO of the authority.

MTGA executives also discussed the authority's financial results for the quarter and fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, reporting a net loss of $26.3 million for the quarter and a profit of $9.7 million for the fiscal year.

Standard & Poor's, which announced its ratings downgrade the day after the call, noted that the gaming authority also reported a 6.5 percent decline in adjusted EBITDA - earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization - for the fiscal year.

"We had previously cited our expectation that EBITDA would be relatively flat in fiscal 2010," Standard & Poor's said. The agency also placed the gaming authority on "CreditWatch" with negative implications.

"The ratings downgrade and CreditWatch listing reflect weaker-than-expected operating performance in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2010, in addition to substantial refinancing needs beginning in 2012, when MTGA's $675 million bank credit facility and $250 million senior subordinated notes mature," Melissa Long, a Standard & Poor's credit analyst, said in a statement.

Moody's lowered its rating on each of six layers of the authority's outstanding bonds. In announcing the downgrades late Tuesday afternoon, it said the authority could have trouble refinancing upcoming maturities "without some impairment to bondholders given its high leverage … limited near-term growth prospects for Mohegan Sun Casino, the likely continuation of weak consumer gaming demand trends in the Northeastern U.S., and the strong possibility of gaming in Massachusetts."

Moody's said its "negative ratings outlook" for the authority reflects the short time frame in which MTGA has to address "a significant capital structure issue." If the authority is unable to refinance by March 2011, its $675 million revolving bank loan will become due, Moody's said. The same holds true for the authority's $250 million senior subordinated notes if they are not refinanced by April 2011.

Moody's had placed the authority on review for a possible downgrade in September, after layoffs of hundreds of Mohegan Sun employees. Both rating agencies warned that they could lower their ratings further if the authority proceeds with a restructuring plan that results in bondholders being offered less than they are owed.

Mohegan Sun's neighboring competitor, Foxwoods Resort Casino, has been seeking to restructure more than $2 billion in debt for more than a year. It has defaulted on a $700 million revolving bank loan and a series of bond interest payments.

Casinos across the country have faced financial difficulties brought on by the recession, which has curtailed gamblers' spending and, consequently, casino revenues