Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mohegan Sun's Weekly Fireworks Displays To Begin On Wednesday, July 7

Feather News

Mohegan Sun's "Wild Wednesdays Fireworks Festivals" for the summer of 2010 are set to begin on Wednesday, July 5 and last through September 1. In addition to fireworks at nightime, other festivities are to include a farmer's market, classic car shows and music. The event is free to the public and rain dates will be held on Thursdays.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe To Sponsor New London Fireworks On Saturday, July 10

Feather News
June 30, 2010

Fireworks will be held in the New London Harbor on Saturday, July 10, sponsored for the 18th consecutive year by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation and its Foxwoods casino.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Connecticut Sun Beats Tulsa 101-89

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun beat Tulsa on Tuesday by a score of 101-89 bringing their season record to 10-5. The Sun's next game is Thursday at Chicago.

The Connecticut Sun is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

New Casino-Sponsored Ferry Service Between New London And Manhattan Begins This Weekend

Feather News

Passengers arriving this weekend to New London, Connecticut from New York City on a new ferry route can be whisked off to the Mohegan Sun by awaiting buses under a plan in which the Mohegan Sun has agreed to guarantee a certain, but undisclosed, number of paid seats.

The 400-passenger ferry, operated by Seastreak of New Jersey, will begin on Saturday and cost $69 for a round-way trip which reportedly can also be paid for by using Mohegan Sun's comp points. Ferry passengers aren't required to go to the Mohegan Sun.

In the late 1990's the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe offered a high-speed ferry service to New London from Jersey City's Liberty State Park, located about a mile across the Hudson River from the tip of Manhattan. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe also built the high-speed ferries at a plant in New London while Richard "Skip" Hayward was the Tribe's chairman of the Tribal Council.

The new high-speed ferry service will run on weekends and on Monday, July 5, leaving Highlands, N.J. and making stops at Manhattan's Wall Street Pier and the East 35th Street Pier before arriving in New London. It is expected to take about 3 hours to arrive in New London after leaving the East 35th Street Pier. The ferry will leave New London for the return trip on weekend evenings at 7:30 p.m.

It's estimated that about 16 percent of Mohegan Sun's customers are from New York.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Connecticut Sun Loses To New York 77-68

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun lost to the Foxwoods-sponsored New York Liberty team by a score of 77-68 on Sunday in the first game of a six-game road trip.

The Sun (9-5) dropped to third place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Sun's next game is on Tuesday at Tulsa.

The Connecticut Sun is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Connecticut Sun Beats Phoenix 82-79

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun basketball team beat Phoenix last night by a score of 82-79 before a crowd of 9,518 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Sun won't play again at the Mohegan Sun Arena for about a month due to six consecutive games on the road and a break for a game between the WNBA's All-Stars and the U.S. Basketball Women’s National Team which will be held on July 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Sun, with a 9-4 regular season record, trails Atlanta (10-4) in the Eastern Conference standings. The Sun's next game is at New York this Sunday.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Feather News

"It's an act of war," Seneca Nation councilor J.C. Seneca told the Buffalo News after learning of the passsing of a law this week that will tax cigarettes sold to non-Indians on the state's Indian reservations in New York beginning September 1.

Seneca said, "If anything happens, it's on their hands." And things are likely to happen as it did in the 1990's when the state attempted to tax cigarettes sold on reservations. The state folded then but this time the confrontations could well explode if both the Indians and the non-Indian government stand their ground.

Governor David Paterson seems to have enlisted the federal government this time around when he asked for their support on enforcing the collection of taxes, "The governor will pursue a policy that respects the sovereignty of Indian nations while ensuring the collection of taxes from those who rightly owe them."

That will remain to be seen.

In the 1990's an armed standoff took place on the Paugusett Indian Reservation in Colchester, Connecticut over the state's insistence that cigarettes sold on the reservation be taxed. The Paugusett's self-proclaimed war chief Moonface Bear went on to fight the case in the state court system but died before any decisions could be rendered in that case.

The state of New York claims it is losing billions of dollars in taxes due to tax-free cigarettes sold on reservations in that state.

Flash: Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Bill That Could Have Added Table Games To State's Two Slot Parlors

Feather News

Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri vetoed legislation that would have resulted in referndum on adding table games at the state's two licensed slot parlors.

Carieri noted that while local officials in Lincoln supported a referendum for table games at the slot parlor in that city, Twin Rivers, Newport's local officials did not support a referendum for table games at the slot parlor in that city. Also, the legislation did not specify the percentage of table game revenues that would go into the state's coffers.

Had the governor not vetoed the bill, a referendum on table games would have been held in November.

It is questionable whether there is enough support in the state Senate to overide the governor's veto.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Connecticut Sun Loses To Chicago 86-77

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun basketball team lost to Chicago on Tuesday night by a score of 86-77, the team's first regular season loss this season at the Mohegan Sun Arena and a loss that knocks the Sun (8-4) out of first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sun's next game will be on Friday night against Phoenix at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The Sun won't play at the Mohegan Sun Arena for almost a month after Friday's game due to six consecutive games on the road and a break for a game between the WNBA's All-Stars and the U.S. Basketball Women’s National Team which will be held on July 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The players for the WNBA All-Star Team will be voted in by fans however if those same players are on the Women's National Team, then they will play for the Women's National Team which is coached by UConn's Geno Auriemma.

The Feather News is referring to the WNBA team as an All-Star Team but that is not its official name because many of the stars will be playing on the national team coached by Auriemma.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

Mashpee Wampanoag Indians Threaten State Prior To Massachusetts Senate Casino Debate

By Ken Davison
Feather News

Upon hearing that one of the three casinos proposed in a Massachusetts Senate bill will not be awarded to an Indian tribe, as previously proposed, the chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe said the Tribe would sidestep any state plans by building a casino under federal Indian gaming laws and not pay the state any fees.

Mashpee chairman Cedric Cromwell said, "If the state gives a commercial license to another casino operator, we won’t pay the state a cent when we build a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts once expanded gaming is approved. We will destroy the competition because we won’t pay licensing fees or taxes and we will provide a great player experience with more wins."

The Massachusetts Senate will begin debating the casino bill tomorrow. Up until last Friday, one of the three casinos proposed in a draft of the Senate bill was to be set aside for an Indian Tribe. Massachusetts is home to two federally recognized Indian tribes - the Mashpee Wampanoag and the Aquinnah Wampanoag.

While Cromwell's rhetoric seems fiery, he is only stating the tribe's rights under federal Indian gaming laws and the effect it could have on the state and on those groups who are awarded the state's commercial casino licenses.

Under federal Indian gaming law, a tribe can operate the same type of gambling games allowed under the laws of the state where the tribe's reservation is location. Once casino gambling becomes state law in Massachusetts, which is likely, then the Mashpee Wampanoags will be allowed to operate a casino on reservation land. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe, on the other hand, may have ceded some of their sovereign rights in a land settlement deal that state officials say requires the Aquinnahs to abide by state laws and codes.

A major obstacle was thrown into the Mashpee Wampanoag's path last year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot add land to a tribe's reservation base if that tribe was recognized by the federal government after 1934. Had it not been for that landmark ruling, which revolved around land taken into trust for the Narragansett Tribe, a Mashpee casino would probably have been a slam dunk.

Aside from the Supreme Court decision, reservation shopping - where a tribe seeks out new reservation land advantageous for a casino such as near a major highway or population center - has come under intense scrutiny over the past decade. The U.S. Department of the Interior, which is the federal agency with the authority to take land into trust as reservation land on behalf of an Indian tribe, may deny an application if the land is too far from the tribe's reservation or if the application lacks local support.

The Mashpee Tribe previously asked the Interior Department to take land in Middleboro into trust but has since changed their application to Fall River. The Tribe also changed its backers from the initial team that included the South African casino management team that opened and managed the Mohegan Sun to an affiliate of the Malaysian company that financed Foxwoods casino.

Currently, the Massachusetts Senate bill calls for three casinos - one in Western Massachusetts, one in Eastern/Central Massachusetts and one in Southeastern Massachusetts. The Senate bill does not make any provision for slot machines at racetracks while the Massachusetts House bill, passed in April, calls for two casinos and 750 slot machines at the state's four racetracks.

Once the Senate approves a version of expanded gambling legislation, which could happen before the end of this month, the Senate and House would need to iron out the differences in their bills before sending it to the the governor for his signature.

The Last Lakotah Code Talker Dies

Feather News

"I don't want no rank, I don't want no money. I just want to do what I can to protect our way of life." Clarence Wolf Guts

The last Lakota code talker, Clarence Wolf Guts, died last Wednesday at age of 86. Clarence became one of the famous Indian "code talkers" during World War II, sending messages in his native language which the enemy could not understand.

Sioux Indians, using their native languages of Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota, are credited with saving countless lives and being "instrumental to the success of the the United States in many battles during World War II" in the Pacific and European battle theatres.

Clarence will be buried with full military honors at the Black Hills National Cemetery.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Connecticut Sun Beats Phoenix 96-94

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun beat Phoenix on Sunday by a score of 96-94.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

The Sun (8-3) is once again leading in the Eastern Conference standings. The Sun's next game is Tuesday against Chicago at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Massachusetts Senate Bill Drafted And Omits Set Aside Casino For Indian Tribe

Feather News

A Massachusetts Senate committee released on Friday the expanded gambling bill that will be the on the agenda in this week's Senate business.

As expected, the Senate Ways and Means Committee bill calls for three casinos - one in Western Massachusetts, one in Eastern/Central Massachusetts and one in Southeastern Massachusetts. The bill does not include slot machines at racetracks.

So far only one group, which includes the Mohegan Tribe, has publicly announced its intent to open a casino in Western Massachusetts.

One major difference to the Senate bill versus what was expected is that the bill does not guarantee one of the three casinos to an Indian tribe. Instead, the bill gives the governor one year to negotiate a contract with an Indian tribe for one of the casinos.

The bill could change after amendments are discussed this week.

The Massachusetts House passed a bill in April that calls for two casinos and 750 slot machines at the state's four racetracks.

Once the Senate approves a version of expanded gambling legislation, which could happen before the end of this month, the Senate and House would need to iron out the differences in their bills before sending it to the the governor for his signature.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Federal Hearing Rescheduled For Union Hoping To Organize Bartenders At Foxwoods

Feather News

A hearing that will determine whether a union can organize bartenders at Foxwoods casino using federal labor laws instead of tribal laws was rescheduled for next Friday in Hartford.

Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which lost a vote to organize some 400 bartenders at Foxwoods last year that was held in accordance with tribal labor laws, has asked the National Labor Relations Board to schedule an election using federal labor laws.

Last year, the union lost an election when 207 voted against affiliating with the union while 133 voted for the union. Under tribal law those who didn't participate in the election, about 60 employees, are counted as "no" votes.

Table games dealers are the only unionized segment at Foxwoods after the dealers voted to affiliate with the United Auto Workers union in 2007.

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in the Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building in Hartford.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shinnecock Indian Nation Gets Federal Recognition

By Ken Davison
Feather News

After hearing the groundbreaking news yesterday that the Shinnecock Indian Nation was to become a federally recognized tribe, three days before they expected any decision, one tribal official said, “It’s three days early and 360 years late.”

The Shinnecock Tribe has an 800-acre reservation base in Southampton, N.Y., and its 1,300 members will become eligible for federal benefits such as housing and healthcare once a 30-day public comment period expires.

Tribal official Lance Gumbs said, “This is a reaffirmation of who we are as a people. They weren’t telling us we’re Indian. They’re reaffirming what we’ve always known.”

The Tribe filed a petition for federal recognition in 1979 in accordance with a new petitioning process set up by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. The three-decade long delay since the petition was filed was finally snapped by a federal court order that required a preliminary decision be made by December 2009 by the B.I.A.’s Office of Federal Acknowledgement.

Yesterday’s news affirms that preliminary December decision which acknowledged the Tribe’s federal recognition.

Federal recognition of Indian tribes cannot be mentioned these days without also speaking of a tribe’s prospects for a gambling den, the most profitable type of economic development available to every federally recognized tribe in the nation in some fashion except for the Narragansett Tribe in Rhode Island which was specifically excluded from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Tribal officials were silent yesterday on any casino plans even though they are working with a Michigan-based gaming company, Gateway Casino Resorts, and have been courted by developers for various casino sites on Long Island. The Shinnecock Tribe can now build a casino on their reservation in Southampton but will likely be receptive to other sites on Long Island. Politicians in the state will be receptive to an alternative location because they will not want the traffic problems that a casino would bring to Southampton, a town that is also home to some of the wealthiest people in America.

A key negotiating point in the Tribe’s favor is that its Southampton land claims could be worth as much as $1 billion and to get the Tribe to drop those claims may mean the state would have to give them table games and an off-reservation site of the Tribe’s choosing. And, yeah, land would be nice too.

Getting federal approval for an off-reservation casino may prove to be a stickier matter if the proposed site is deemed to far from the reservation or if the federal settlement legislation doesn't overcome the issues in a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision forbidding the Interior Department from taking land into trust for tribes federally recognized after 1934.

Since the Tribe can offer games that are legal elsewhere in the state that means the Tribe can have video lottery terminal-type slot machines but not table games unless state officials expressly allow table games in their gaming compact with the Tribe.

The possibility of a Shinnecock casino will undoubtedly affect the bidders for a V.L.T. slot parlor at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y. The New York City borough of Queens is located on the far eastern end of Long Island and a Shinnecock casino on Long Island would draw customers that would otherwise visit a slot parlor at the Aqueduct Racetrack.

A Shinnecock casino, especially if it has table games, would also draw some customers that now visit the two Indian casinos in Connecticut.


Feather News

The Shinnecock Tribe in Long Island, N.Y., officially became a federally recognized tribe today after receiving a preliminary recognition decision in December 2009.

Congratulations to our brothers and sisters across the Long Island Sound!


Don't allow your petitioning rights to be eroded

Mohegan Sun Slot Revenue Falls 7% For Month Of May, Foxwoods Falls 9.4%

Feather News

The Mohegan Sun reported a 7 percent decline in its slot machine revenue for May compared to the same month last year while Foxwoods reported a 9.4 percent decline in May slot revenue.

Mohegan Sun reported slot revenue of about $65 million in May and Foxwoods reported slot revenue of $56.4 million. Both Indian casinos give the state of Connecticut 25 percent of these amounts in exchange for their casino monopoly in the state.

Indian Veterans Invited To Indian Government Employee Conference At Mohegan Sun On June 17; Mohegan Don Chapman To Speak At Conference

Feather News

The following is an earlier post from May 5, 2010:

Indian veterans are invited to attend a special day at the annual conference for The Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE), a not-for-profit organization that promotes the hiring and advancement of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the government workforce, which will be held at the Mohegan Sun from June 14 through June 18.

All Indian veterans are invited to attend for free the events held on the day of June 17, which will include presentations on career options for veterans. The schedule for veterans on June 17 is as follows:

9:45 Welcome by Danny Garceau, SAIGE Chairman
9:50 Welcome by Pedro Molina-Deputy Secretary of Veteran Affairs, CA DVS
10:00 Indian Health Service Veterans Initiative
11:00 Wounded Warrior Initiative
12:00 Library of Congress National Veterans’ History Project Director Robert Patrick
1:30 Department of Homeland Security “Operation Warfighter and Wounded Warrior Initiative” Tanya Cantrell and Paul Plasencia, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
2:30 - 2:45 Break
2:45 James Floyd, Veterans Administration, and
Closing Remarks by Danny Garceau, SAIGE Chairman

We would like to thank veteran Bill Donehey (Mohegan) for passing on the above information for veterans.

Other interesting aspects of the conference:

The conference is designed as a training opportunity and is open to all federal, state, tribal and local government employees. For registration cost, please check the organization's website:

Mohegan Tribal Member Donald Chapman, who is also the senior advisor for Native American affairs to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, is scheduled to speak at the conference on June 14 from 3:30 to 5:00 and will be part of the opening ceremony on June 15, speaking at 8:45 to 9:00.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Massachusetts Senate To Debate Gambling Bill Next Week

Feather News

The Massachusetts Senate heard input from citizens of the state at public hearings held last week on expanded gambling and Senate lawmakers are set to begin debating the proposed legislation themselves next week.

Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said the final bill that will be debated will be posted on the Senate's website before the debate begins.

The Senate bill is expected to call for three commercial casinos in three distinct geographic zones. One of the three casinos is targeted to go to an Indian tribe. There are two federally recognized tribes in Massachusetts - the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe.

While the proposed Senate bill has not been finalized there are dramatic differences between it and the version that came out of the Massachusetts House in April. The House bill calls for two casinos and 750 slot machines at the state's four racetracks. The Senate bill is not expected to include slot machines at racetracks.

Assuming that the Senate approves expanded gambling legislation, the Senate and the House would then need to reconcile the differences in their bills and send a bill to the governor for his signature.

Both of the federally recognized tribes said they want a casino in Fall River. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe said that if they don't get a commercial casino license they will build a casino on their reservation on Martha's Vineyard.

State officials claim that the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe gave up their rights to build a casino under federal Indian law because they agreed to abide by state and local laws on reservation land acquired pursuant to their federal recognition in 1987.

Revenues at Connecticut's two Indian casinos are likely to suffer from casinos in neighboring Massachusetts. About a quarter of Mohegan Sun's customers are from Massachusetts while about a third of Foxwoods' customers are Massachusetts residents.

Most everyone agrees that Massachusetts will end up with casinos. Rhode Island lawmakers are so confident of this that they will ask for a referendum this fall to bring table games to the two slot parlors in that state.

The two Indian casinos in Connecticut will soon realize that their best days are quickly coming to an end as their regional monopoly on casino gambling is fading piece by piece.

Connecticut Sun Lose To Indiana 77-67

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun basketball team lost to Indiana on Sunday by a score of 77-67.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

The Sun (6-3) is now in second place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sun's next game is Friday at Los Angeles, followed by another road game on Sunday against Phoenix before coming home to play Chicago on Tuesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Flash: Referendum Set For November For Table Games At Rhode Island Slot Parlors

Connecticut Sun Beats Indiana 86-77

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun beat Indiana last night by a score of 86-77 before an audience of 7,603 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

The Sun, now in first place in the Eastern Conference after yesterday's win, begins a three-game road trip with the first of those three games to be played at Indiana on Sunday. The Sun's next home game is Tuesday, June 22 against Phoenix.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mohegans Announce $74 Million Federal Loan Package To Be Used To Complete Government Building In One Year

Feather News

The Mohegan Tribal Council has accepted a $74 million federal loan package awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture toward completing its stalled government building-community center building.

It was announced that the building should be completed within one year after construction begins. The $74 million building will be a scaled-back version of what was begun some two years ago when the Feather News reported that the building was to cost $100 million based on credible sources and cost over-run track records. Official statements claim that the original building was to cost $89 million.

The $74 million in loans, with a reported effective interest rate of 2.8 percent, consists of $54 million in loans funded by federal stimulus money, $18 million in guaranteed loans and another $2 million in nonguaranteed loans.

It was reported that $28 million had already been spent on the building.

Mohegan Tribal Council Chairwoman Lynn Malerba told The Day newspaper, "It's not about a bailout. It's about a low-interest loan. We're going to pay every bit of it back - with interest."

The Tribe has long since outgrown having no community center, some say.

According to The Day article, "(The building) will still have four floors and a lower level, but only the two lower floors and the lower level will be completed at this time. Savings have also been realized on furnishings and landscaping.

"The building will house a library and offices for the tribal and elders councils and such tribal-government departments as Health and Human Services, Education, Cultural and Community Programs, Legal, Finance, Court, Administration and Publications. A lower level will include a gym with two basketball courts, locker rooms and a fitness center. The exterior will reflect the style of the tribe's longhouses, with arched roofs and elongated wings."

There have been no reports that Mohegan tribal members were asked by their government as to whether the new debt should be taken on at this time.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum Powwow To Be Held July 7-8

Feather News

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe will hold a powwow at the Mashantucket Museum on Wednesday, July 7 and Thursday, July 8 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Grand entry will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both days.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Flash: Foxwoods Casino President Resigns, Former Prez Speller Returns

Feather News

The president of Foxwoods casinos, Michael Speller, resigned and will be replaced on an interim basis by former Foxwoods president and CEO William Sherlock according to an announcement made by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.

Connecticut Sun Beats San Antonio 81-68

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun beat San Antonio on Sunday by a score of 81-68 before an audience of 6,292 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

The Sun is now 5-2 on the season and their next game is on Friday night against Indiana (5-3) at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Local Media Coverage Of "Mohegan Vs. Foxwoods" Basketball Game

Feather News

The following articles in The Day and The Hartford Courant on last night's WNBA game between the Connecticut Sun and the New York Liberty detail some thoughts and the costs of the Foxwoods sponsorship of the New York team. Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess seems to show some envy, or is it peevishness (I can't tell), at Foxwoods' sponsorship deal that gives Foxwoods casino significant exposure on the team's jerseys and at Madison Square Garden at a much cheaper cost than the cost of the Connecticut Sun to the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

Foxwoods Challenges Mohegan With WNBA Gambit
By Unidentified
Hartford Courant
June 4, 2010

UNCASVILLE — — So here they were behind enemy baccarat tables Friday night and, oh, they looked fine in their all- new, all-blue road uniforms.

"They're nice, aren't they?" Kalana Greene said at the arena slot machines built. Greene, Cappie Pondexter, Sidney Spencer, Nicole Powell … UConn girls, Rutgers girls, Tennessee girls, Stanford girls, we've seen them so many times before, but now look at them.

All wearing poker faces. All with "Foxwoods" emblazoned across their chests.

Yes, we have seen the wonder of it all. And it's that hairdo of former Sun All-Star Taj McWilliams.

In case you missed it, the New York Liberty earlier this week struck a partnership deal with Foxwoods Resort Casino, this one worth more than $1 million, to put the name of Mohegan Sun's rival across the jersey of another WNBA team.

Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle already have done this with LifeLock, Farmers Insurance and But, bada bing, these are dueling casinos.

The WNBA may be the fruit of Title IX movement.

But this rivalry … oh, this is the fruit of Title 21. Blackjack!

"We were wondering who our least favorite team was going to be now that Detroit is gone," said Mitchell Etess, CEO of both the Mohegan Sun and Connecticut Sun. "I think we know who that is now.

"Obviously, it could be something people have fun with. It's kind of Mohegan Sun vs. Foxwoods. That part is something we live with all the time. It's a unique situation."

And, hey, it could always be worse, right?

"Yeah, if Bill Laimbeer came in as coach tonight instead of Anne Donovan," Etess said.

The casinos are adversaries at the gaming tables, in the concert halls, exactly where it's most cutthroat. Business isn't all hugs and kisses.

"As CEO of the Mohegan Sun, is it annoying in some ways that the logo of our biggest rivals is going to be prancing around here tonight and a few times a year?" Etess said. "Yeah, of course it is. As a governor of the WNBA, I think it is good for the league. Is it going to be a big rivalry, any more than it was because Foxwoods is going to be on their jerseys? Probably just for the executive teams. I'm not sure the public is going to get behind it."

Rob Victoria, chief marketing officer of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises, trumpeted the on-court rivalry a little more intensely the other day. In an interview with the New York Post, he said, "It'll almost be like a Red Sox-Yankee rivalry." And for The Courant, he said, "We'll unveil our shirts, play a great basketball game and my prediction is the Liberty will win by 12 points."

He was only off by 20 - the Sun won by eight.

Connecticut, of course, is home to the Munson-Nixon Line. Somewhere around Middletown there's a line of demarcation between Red Sox and Yankee Nations. Well, we went out in search of the Jekabsone-Zogota-McWilliams-One-Armed Bandit Line and best we come up with it's the Poquetanuck Fire House on Route 2A. And, hey, if matters between the casinos flame up too much, there's somebody to hose it down.

Of course, it's not really a rivalry until they start despising each other during a playoff series. So until Asjha Jones stares down Janel McCarville and calls her "Snake Eyes" in the postseason, we'll hold off calling it on par with the Red Sox-Yankees. On the other hand, although none of the Sun staff wanted to talk about it, there is some disappointment running through Mohegan halls the WNBA didn't tell them about Foxwoods until the last minute.

The Sun, a cornerstone of the WNBA, one of the reasons the league is still going, deserved better. That doesn't mean the Sun thinks the deal is bad for the WNBA. They don't.

"I think it says an awful lot for the league," Etess said. "[Foxwoods has] well-documented financial problems [Rivalry jab alert!] Their dollars must be fairly precious. Foxwoods decided this is a vehicle in which to market the New York area. We've known that. The WNBA is a really good marketing vehicle. People who talk about the league having major problems, here are four teams that have these big deals, money people are spending in this economy.

"But people shouldn't confuse what Foxwoods has done with the Liberty with the Connecticut Sun, in regard to owning the team, branding it, having it part of the community. Foxwoods' relationship with the Liberty is a great one, but it's very much like ours with the Yankees. We don't feel like we own the Yankees. We're a marketing part."

In other words, the Sun bought a team. Foxwoods bought a patch … and signage and promotions at MSG.

Look, I'm not going to play favorites here. I am an equal-opportunity loser. I pulled the slots at Foxwoods Friday and lost $20 in 15 minutes. I pulled the slots at Mohegan and lost $10 in 10 minutes. I couldn't stay for 15. I had to write this column.

Greene, meanwhile, tweeted Thursday night, she had "just won big at Mohegan and lost minor at Foxwoods." Since there is no direct ownership, Liberty players, unlike the Sun, can test their luck at the casinos.

"Actually I didn't win that much," Greene said. "I lost like $100."

But, hey, the Liberty's trip to Foxwoods was worth it. The hotel was nice. The tribe greeted and treated them well, prepped them for this Casino War, this Great Bingo and Indian Conflict that is sure to grow.

We're going to need a movie by Scorsese, one with De Niro and Pesci. One where Sharon Stone goes, "Give me Liberty or give me chips." One, where Mike DiMauro of the New London Day suggested Keno Davis is one of the coaches. Hey, maybe against Bingo Smith.

Or maybe we need Pat Summitt to open up a restaurant at Foxwoods the way Geno Auriemma did at Mohegan.

For ownership, it's Sun 1, Foxwoods 0
By Mike DiMauro
The Day
June 5, 2010

It really doesn't make much sense to think that some game in June, with so many others remaining, could mean this much. But when your business rival does for a million dollars what cost you $10 million, and when the players wearing your business rival's logo are erasing a 16-point lead, you do not pass the time at the gym whistling showtunes.

And so while the Connecticut Sun will have many, many bigger games remaining this season, none might mean as much to their ownership. This was about one game, one night, one exasperating week and ultimately one victory they will not forget.

"A great win. A great, great win," team president, chief executive officer and No. 1 fan Mitchell Etess said Friday night, with Mohegan Sun Arena still in full throat, following the Sun's 75-68 over the Foxwoods-sponsored New York Liberty.

When it was over, Etess, sitting with his family, threw his arms in the air and celebrated with the 6,493 others, perhaps making the week's events a duller ache.

By now, news of Foxwoods' corporate sponsorship - and logo on the Liberty uniforms - has completed the news cycle. Rinse, repeat, spin dry. But the residual effects were still palpable Friday morning when Sun coach Mike Thibault read a snippet to his team from the Hartford Courant, which quoted Robert Victoria, Foxwoods' senior vice president of consumer marketing.

Victoria predicted that the Liberty would win by 12 points.

"Rob is new to women's basketball marketing," Etess said. "Maybe he will learn a little more about the game as time goes on."

Thibault was more direct. Like a good fastball at the chin.

"I told the players about it because sometimes, players need to understand when they're being disrespected," Thibault said, "and because I was annoyed that some guy who has no idea about the sweat and blood that's involved with owning a team in this league has a corporate sponsorship and thinks he can pop off."

Earlier in the week, Victoria said that the unveiling of the Foxwoods logo on the uniforms was purely coincidental, a few days before a game at Mohegan Sun.

Righto, Rob.

And there just happened to be an ax next to Mrs. Borden one day when Lizzie happened by and thought whimsically, "well, while I'm here … "

Please. No one's denying that Foxwoods pulled off a beauty here. A $1 million buy in has most people thinking that Foxwoods is Mohegan Sun's equal, in spite of the notable difference between the ideas of "sponsor" and "owner." Then comes the line about pure coincidence.

This is called fertilizing someone's shoes and then telling them it's only mud.

That's why so many people inside the Sun wanted this game badly.

"We're proud of our ownership group and their commitment to the WNBA," Sun guard Kara Lawson said. "Nothing they do over there can come close to what our ownership has done for the game."

Forward Asjha Jones said "We knew what this game meant for our owners. The (New York) team and their players had nothing to do with it. But for us, we knew that we had to put on a good show for the fans and owners."

It wasn't the most artful game ever played since Dr. Naismith had his idea. In the middle of the game, Thibault came over to the press table and said, "I want to see what you guys are going to write about this (expletive)."

But when it was over, Thibault was lauding his players' grit, even if their execution came and went like the mailman.

The whole Foxwoods/Liberty thing will be worthy of more chuckles than anything else as the season moves on. Like the tweet from former UConn great and Liberty guard Kalana Greene from early Friday: "Just won big at Mohegan and lost minor at Foxwoods. Now its time for slumber."

We've heard of sleeping with the enemy. But who knew you could gamble with the enemy, too?

The next time Kalana can gamble with the enemy will be in mid July when the Foxwoods logo returns. Stay tuned to the papers for more predictions from the wonder of it all.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

Friday, June 4, 2010

Connecticut Sun Beats New York Liberty 75-68

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun basketball team beat the New York Liberty by a score of 75-68 on Friday night.

The game marked the debut of the Foxwoods logo on the New York Liberty players' jerseys, one day after it was announced that a sponsorship agreement was struck between Foxwoods and the Liberty's owners, Madison Square Garden Sports.

The WNBA Connecticut Sun team is owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

The Sun is now 4-2 on the season and will next play on Sunday against San Antonio at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The game begins at 1 p.m.

It was reported that only 6,493 attended Friday night's game despite the media hype over the new Foxwoods marketing deal with the Sun's opponents.

Moquot Nation No. 5

Mohegans Not Among Bidders This Time For VLT Slots At NYC Racetrack

Feather News

Six bidders have emerged in this week's new round of bidding to build and operate a VLT slot parlor at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y. but the Mohegan Tribe is not involved in this latest bidding round.

The six groups paid $1 million each to the state's Division of Lottery to be eligible bidders for what has long been hailed to become New York City's first slot parlor.

One new bidder is the owner of Empire City Casino, a large slot parlor in Yonkers, N.Y., who would likely be affected dramatically by a new slot parlor at the Queens, N.Y., racetrack. Also new to the fray is Genting New York LLC, the Malaysian-based gaming group that bought a majority stake in the Monticello racetrack-slot parlor last year and is actively seeking out other gaming opportunities in the Northeast, including Massachusetts.

Others include Delaware North & Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, SL Green, Penn National and the Clairvest Group, which is considered the financial arm of Aqueduct Entertainment Group which won the last round of bidding but was later disqualified.

Once completed, the Aqueduct Racetrack could have close to 5,000 VLT slot machines on its premises.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flash: Massachusetts Senate Proposal For Three Casinos To Be Considered

Feather News

The Boston Herald reported this afternoon that the Massachusetts Senate is considering draft legislation that calls for three mega-casinos and no slot machines at the state's racetracks in a proposal which differs from legislation already passed in the House that calls for two mega-casino resorts and slot machines at the state's four racetracks.

Today's news of the Senate's draft legislation on expanded gambling, which will be debated next week at the State House, is the first time the public has heard of what the Senate may be proposing.

The Mohegan Tribe intends on applying for a commercial casino license in Palmer, Massachusetts should casinos be legalized. Casino gambling in Massachusetts would likely siphon a significant number of customers from the two Indian casinos in Connecticut. About 20 percent of Mohegan Sun's customers are Massachusetts residents while nearly a third of all Foxwoods' customers are from Massachusetts.

It was reported that one of the three possible mega-resorts that the Senate may propose will be reserved for "a qualified American Indian tribe." There are two federally recognized Indian tribes in Massachusetts: the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe.

In April, the House passed their version of expanded gambling and now its the Senate's turn. Both houses will then need to agree on common legislation before sending a bill for the governor's signature.

Emblems For Foxwoods To Be On WNBA New York Liberty Team Jerseys Beginning With Friday's Game Against The Connecticut Sun

Feather News

The Connecticut Sun's rivalries in the Women's National Basketball Association took on a new meaning today.

Foxwoods and Madison Square Garden Sports announced today a partnership with the WNBA's New York Liberty basketball team in which Foxwoods which will include having its logo on the team's jerseys.

Mohegan Sun vs. Foxwoods

The first game in which the New York team will display the Foxwoods brand will be at Friday night's game against the Connecticut Sun, owned by the Mohegan's gaming authority, at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Both teams are in the WNBA's Eastern Division. The New York Liberty is in fourth place in the Eastern Division standings with a record of 2-2 while the Connecticut Sun currently is in the second spot at 3-2 so far this season.

According to the announcement, "The partnership helps build presence for Foxwoods in the New York area and beyond, with brand integration across all of the Liberty's promotional and marketing platforms, including extensive presence in-arena during Liberty home games with courtside LED signage, logo presence on-court, a feature on GardenVision, and Foxwoods branded on-court contests. In addition, Foxwoods will be promoted to the thousands of passersby daily on The Garden's outdoor marquees on 7th and 8th Avenue."

More On The $54 Million Stimulus Loan For Mohegan Government Center's Completion

By Ken Davison
Feather News

During an era when the enormity of federal stimulus spending is questioned by American citizens and leading media outlets in the country, it was announced last week that the Mohegan Tribe's would receive a $54 million stimulus loan awarded by the a federal government agency to be used toward completing the Tribe's stalled government center on the reservation.

The Day newspaper has published two articles on the award since then and reader's comments have largely been critical of the Tribe receiving stimulus money. Although the $54 million loan was about one-third of all the stimulus money awarded through a rural development stimulus package administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount is a small share of the approximately $3 billion in stimulus money that went to Indian tribes, according to a total stimulus figure for Indian Country revealed by White House senior policy adviser for Native American affairs Kim Teehee to Parade magazine.

According to today's column by The Day's David Collins the loan to the Tribe "is 'market' rate, according to the USDA, currently 4.125 percent. The term is 30 years and the loans will be secured by general obligation bonds issued by the tribe."

The column questions how the Tribe could qualify for such a large piece of stimulus under the rural development stimulus program. The source of the loan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The readers comments on both of The Day articles has been largely critical of the federal stimulus loan given to the Tribe. Collins contacted the offices of the state's two U.S. Senators and other political figures about the loan but nothing new was revealed other than the details in the award announcement last week.

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd said, "These critical loans will fund the creation of nearly 1,300 jobs for residents of eastern Connecticut" and Sen. Joe Lieberman had no comment. "These critical loans will fund the creation of nearly 1,300 jobs for residents of eastern Connecticut," Dodd's statement said. The office of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said they learned about the loan at the time of last Thursday's award announcement by the Department of Agriculture.

According to the column by Collins, "A Mohegan spokesman said the tribe does not want to comment until a briefing for tribal members, which is scheduled for next week."

The Tribe's government center will reportedly include a community center, significant educational components according to the award announcement, space for Tribal government departments and employees, basketball facilities where the WNBA Connecticut Sun team will practice (owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority), and a library.