Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mohegans Pass On New Slots In Maryland

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The next state in the Eastern United States to get slot machines will be Maryland, however, the Mohegan Tribe said they are not in a position to bid on a gambling license there.

Maryland voters approved in November a law that will allow 15,000 slot machines to be spread out over five separate facilities.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's chief operating officer, Jeff Martmann, told a crowd at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, "We probably won’t participate in Maryland because of the political process and our balance sheet. Where we are now will prohibit us from participating in Maryland."

The Mohegan Tribe was rebuffed by Kansas and New York in their latest initiatives to open new gaming facilities. Kansas officials said they were concerned about the Tribe's ability to finance a casino. MTGA officials denied that a financing problem existed but three days after Kansas turned down Mohegan's bid for a casino, the Tribe announced it was halting the construction on their high-rise hotel.

An official from Penn National Gaming told the audience that state officials, including Maryland, will need to apply different criterion in its selection process of gaming companies. "They must favor the guy who can actually demonstrate he’s got the cash or he’s got committed financing."

The Mohegans have signed on to become casino managers and developers with two Indian tribes - the Cowlitz Tribe in Washington and the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin. The Menominees recently requested federal officials to stop reviewing their casino application for fear of the application being denied. At least $30 million has been spent by the Mohegan Tribe on these two Indian casino endeavors, not including the approximately $10-15 million per year that MTGA's corporate diversification department has been costing the Tribe.

The Tribe also recently leased land for "millions" in Western Massachusetts as a way to position itself should commercial gambling be approved in that state.