Friday, August 31, 2007

Mohegan Tribe's Massachusetts Plan

An AP article reported this morning that the Mohegan Tribe's casino plans in the town of Palmer in Massachusetts include 4,000 slot machines and a 600-room hotel that will cost $1 billion. The state's governor and legislature will need to approve casinos first. Even if gaming is approved in that state, it may be limited to the extent that the Mohegan Tribe would not be included in those plans.

Mohegan Telecommunications Company Dissolved

8/30/2007 - 4481 LEGAL NOTICE On August 23, 2007, Mohegan Information Technology Group, LLC, with its principal offices at 5 Crow Hill Road, Uncasville, Connecticut, was dissolved by the filing of its Articles of Dissolution with the Connecticut Secretary of the State. Pursuant to Connecticut law, any person with a claim against Mohegan Information Technology Group, LLC must submit such claim in writing to: David Rome, Esq., 5 Crow Hill Road, Uncasville, CT 06382. The written claim should include the name, address and phone number of the claimant and details on the nature and amount of the claim, along with any supporting documentation. Please be advised that, pursuant to Section 34-213 of the Connecticut General Statutes, any claim against Mohegan Information Technology Group, LLC will be barred unless a proceeding to enforce the claim is commenced within three years of the publication of this notice.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chief Sturges Strong and Determined

Tribal Chief Ralph Sturges is out of the hospital and resting at home. He looks great and hopes to be back on the reservation within two weeks.

National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernest L.Stevens, Jr. and other invited guests honored the Chief and his commitment to Indian Country at his home on Wednesday. Stevens, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, presented the Chief with a headdress and a ceremonial shirt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mashpee Chairman Ousted by Council

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council voted 9-1 last night demanding the immediate resignation of its chairman, Glenn Marshall. The Tribe's vice-chairman Shawn Hendricks Sr. will become the new chairman.

Massachussets, New York to Postpone Casino-Racino Decisions

The states of New York and Massachussets were expected to make key decisions on casinos by Labor Day but those decisions are likely to come later than Labor Day.

Massachussets Governor Patrick's office denied rumors that he has already decided to allow casino gambling in the state. "There's no truth to this," Patrick's press secretary said yesterday. "The governor has made no decision for or against gaming, and the governor will continue his deliberations until he makes a decision in the coming weeks. It's going to be soon."

Meanwhile, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said in a news conference on Saturday that a decision on which company will be awarded the franchise to run the Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont racetracks may be made after Labor Day. “We're going to try very hard to stick to the Sept. 4 deadline, but I think the thing to keep in mind is that a legislative enactment is required,” Spitzer said. “Sept. 4 will not be a moment when I simply say, ‘This is the answer.’”

Casinos in Massachussets will impact the tribal casinos in Connecticut. The Mashantuckets report that 35% of its casino patrons come from Massachussets while the Sun casino say their Massachussets customers are about half that of those visiting Foxwoods.

The Tribe was asked by Capital Play to be part of a proposal involved in running the New York racetracks.

Related article on New York racetrack bids can be found at: http://feathernews.blogspot.com/2007/07/tribe-to-bid-on-new-york-racetracks.html)

Sun Basketball Team Eliminated From Playoffs

The Connecticut Sun basketball team was eliminated from the playoffs on Monday night after losing to the Indiana Fever by a score of 93-88 in overtime.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Losses at Pocono Downs

The Tribe issued its second three-month quarterly earnings report that included a Pocono Downs facility with operational slot machines. Over the past three months, the Pocono Downs has generated a higher average slot win ($431 per machine) for each of its approximately 1,200 slot machines than those generated per slot machine at its Connecticut casino ($413 per machine).

The Tribe does not report on the profit or loss from the Pocono Downs as a unit. However, the Tribe’s financial report shows “income from operations” for Pocono Downs of $6.5 million, a figure that does not take into account interest expense on the debt it took out to purchase and improve the facility. Also not deducted are its share of some operating expenses, such as the corporate department expenses (three-month total cost of $3.2 million) and administration and advertising expenses. Once these expenses are taken into account, then the Pocono Downs is certainly generating losses.

Even as the Pocono Downs’ losses accumulate, the tribal government reports to its membership that the Pocono Downs is “very successful.” Based on public statements made last year in an effort to clarify tax obligations to Plains Township, the Tribe inferred that its forecasted revenues were nearly half of the revenues it has actually experienced since the facility opened. In that sense, the facility is exceeding expectations. But it is still losing money.

A second casino in the Pocono Mountains is expected to open this fall and may draw customers away from the Pocono Downs, further increasing losses. Mount Airy Casino is about 20 miles southeast of the Pocono Downs, in the resort location of Mount Pocono. The Mount Airy Casino is scheduled to open on October 15th and will initially include 2,500 slot machines (twice that of Pocono Downs) and a 188-room hotel in addition to restaurants, bars and a golf course. The website for the Mt. Airy casino is www.mountairycasino.com.

It is not known what effect this new casino will have on the Pocono Downs, however it may result in yet higher losses.

Last summer, Penn National – the company that sold Pocono Downs to the Tribe, agreed to pay the Tribe $30 million over five years which, in part, released Penn National from obligations related to environmental issues. It now appears that the Tribe may have to spend $30 million more than anticipated for remediating the environmental problems at the Pocono Downs site, which would “cancel out” Penn National’s payments to the Tribe.

The $180 million expansion at Pocono Downs is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008. The expansion will add 2,500 slot machines, restaurants, bars and retail stores.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Day newspaper issues correction to article

The Day newspaper issued the following correction today to their article on the Tribe's earnings report:

"Record third-quarter gaming revenues for the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's totaled $371 million. The figure was incorrectly described as profits in a story on page B7 in Wednesday's edition."

Profits for the quarter were $45.7 million.

Interior Department comments on off-reservation casinos

After meeting this week with U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Kempthorn, a U.S. senator reported on Kempthorn's reluctance to approve off-reservation gaming. Kempthorn was reported as telling the senator that he now has 32 off-reservation casino appplications and if he approves one of them, he would have to do them all.

The senator met with the Interior Secretary on behalf of a tribe's application to take land into trust in the Catskills in New York. After the meeting, the senator suggested that if it's going to be a bad decision, it might be better to wait rather than to get a ‘no’ and have to start everything all over.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tribe issues quarterly earnings report

The Tribe issed its third quarter earnings report yesterday, reflecting a small increase in profits. The Tribe reported a quarterly profit of $45.7 million versus $42.9 million for the same quarter last year.

Two of Connecticut's newspapers have written articles yesterday on the Tribe's earnings report. The Hartford Courant's article "Profits decline at Mohegan Sun" and The Day newspaper's article "Mohegan's quarterly earnings up 16%" are clearly at odds.

The Day newspaper overstates the Tribe's earnings (profits) by about a factor of nine. The Day reports that earnings (profits) for the quarter increased 16% to $371 million. As stated earlier, the actual profits were actually $45.7 million.

In its earnings release, the Tribe made public the income statement of its gaming arm, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA). A more complete financial picture for the quarter will be known later in the month when MTGA files its balance sheet and statement of cash flows with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Tribe does not break out the profit for the Pocono Downs in its financial reporting, however the Tribe reports the "income from operations" for that facility, which doesn't take into account interest expense and certain other expenses. The income from operations for Pocono Downs for the quarter was reported at $6.5 million but when interest expense on the monies borrowed to purchase and build improvements are taken into account and the Pocono Downs' share of "corporate department" expenses ($3.2 million) and other expenses that are buried in the corporate financial statements expense line items (administrative and advertising, for instance), it's clear that the Pocono Downs is losing money.

In other recent financial news, tribal councilor Mark Brown reports to the membership that Pocono Downs is "very successful."