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...

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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