|By Janice Podsada, The Hartford Courant,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 06, 2011--Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the owner of Mohegan Sun, said Thursday it has entered into a joint venture with Concord Resort Hotel, the owner of the famous Concord Hotel in the heart of the Catskills, to develop a $600 million resort in upstate New York.
The resort, expected to open in the spring of 2013, will be built on the site of the former Concord Hotel in Thompson, N.Y. The hotel has been closed since 2008.
"The old hotel has been demolished. This new resort will be built on that site," said Mitchell G. Etess, chief executive of Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville.
The planned Concord Resort will include a 258-room hotel, 75,000-square-foot casino with 2,100 video lottery terminals, five restaurants, a harness racing facility and grandstand, and a simulcast facility for pari-mutuel wagering, according to a statement
"We're going to be the operator, the manager of the property, and a small equity partner," Etess said. Etess would not disclose Mohegan's investment amount.
Mohegan's continued expansion -- it operates Pocono Downs in Plains Township, Pa., and now the Catskills -- is expected to cut into Mohegan Sun's revenues.
Etess said Mohegan has determined that the new Catskills resort will have a "small impact on us," decreasing its Connecticut casino revenues by 1 percent to 2 percent.
Mohegan Sun also has been working toward opening a casino in Palmer, Mass. But Mohegan cannot open a casino there until lawmakers approve expanded gambling. Massachusetts has come close several times to legalizing expanded gambling, but pulled back at the last moment.
Lawmakers "are starting to talk about it again, but there's nothing yet," Etess said.
An affiliate of the tribal gaming authority will join Concord, owned by Louis R. Cappelli and his family, to develop the 116-acre site. The joint venture entity, Concord Kiamesha Holdings LLC, has global investment banking firm Jeffries & Company as its financial adviser.
"This is a logical move for us," Etess said.
Connecticut's two Indian gaming casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, experienced their fourth consecutive year-to-year decline in gross gaming revenues, according to a recent study by the Center of Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
New England's casinos are facing increasing competition from other states in the Northeast. Late last year, Maine's voters narrowly approved a small resort casino in Oxford. Pennsylvania has "10 casinos with slot machines and table games, with some such as the Sands Bethlehem, planning to add hotels. ... New York now has 11,500 video lottery terminals at eight racinos," or combined race tracks and casinos, the report said.
"New York is set to substantially expand gaming operations that will compete directly with Connecticut and New Jersey," the report said.
More than $100 million has already been spent on the Concord Resort's site preparation foundations and environmental issues.
The project is expected to create 1,000 new construction and permanent jobs over a 10-year period, with most of the employment benefiting New York's Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties.
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Copyright (c) 2011, The Hartford Courant, Conn.
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