Mohegan Sun
Mohegan Sun, located in Uncasville, Connecticut, is the second largest casino in the United States with 364,000 sq ft (33,800 m 2) of gaming space. It is located on 240 acres (97 ha) along the banks of the Thames River. It is at the heart of the scenic foothills of southeastern Connecticut, where 60 percent of the state's tourism is concentrated. It features the 12,000-seat capacity Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the Women's National Basketball Association's Connecticut Sun. It houses a 350-seat Cabaret Theatre, the 300-seat Wolf Den, and 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m 2) of meeting and function room space, including the Northeast’s largest ballroom and 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m 2) of retail shopping. It is the home of New London's WMOS FM radio station. The casino contains slot machines, gaming tables including poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, Caribbean stud poker, keno and baccarat. The race book offers live horse or greyhound racing from around the U.S. as well as from Australia and England. It also offers wagering on jai-alai from Florida.

History
The development of the Mohegan Sun began in 1992 with RJH Development and LMW Investments of Connecticut, and Slavik Suites Inc. proposed the idea of developing a casino with the Mohegan tribe. The three companies formed Trading Cove Associates (TCA), which provided the Mohegans with financial support, tribal attorneys, and advisers to assist in the tribe's effort to gain official recognition as a people. In March 1994 they gained federal recognition as a sovereign people, opening the way to develop a casino. Sol Kerzner, head of Kerzner International (formerly Sun International), became involved with a 50 percent interest in TCA. Waterford Gaming had the other 50 percent interest in TCA. The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) hired TCA to oversee development and construction of the casino. The casino and resort first opened on October 12, 1996. In 2000, Trading Cove Associates gave complete control of the resort to the Mohegan tribe; TCA still receives a 5% dividend on the gross revenue generated by Mohegan Sun until 2014.

Features
  • The Casino of the Sky has a functional planetarium utilizing fiber optics to display the sun, moon, and stars accompanying the lighting effects of the Wombi Rock, which is a three-story high crystal mountain crafted of alabaster and more than 12,000 individual plates of hand-selected onyx from quarries in Iran, Pakistan, and Mexico; which were transported to Carrara, Italy and fused into glass.
  • A 55 ft (17 m) high indoor waterfall called "Taughannick Falls", representing a treacherous crossing point during the tribe's migration.
  • The decor is Native American in style in many aspects. The artwork throughout the casino and the structural design has Native American feel. In addition, several mechanical wolves stand high atop rock structures inside the gaming areas that occasionally sit back and howl lightly.


Economic impact
Mohegan Sun employs some 10,000 local employees, with about 40% female and 60% male, and brought in $1.62 billion in revenues in 2007. Concerts and boxing events bring further temporary employment and revenues. The casino also submits about 25% of its revenues from slot machines to the State of Connecticut.

Local expansion
In November 2006, the tribe announced a $740 million expansion titled Project Horizon. The project was originally scheduled be completed in 2010, with phases of the expansion being completed prior to that. The expansion included the "Casino of the Wind," which opened in August 2008 and features 650 slot machines, 28 table games, and 42-table poker room. It will also add 1,000 new hotel rooms, including 300 House of Blues themed rooms, accessible through a separate lobby. However, in September 2008, Mohegan Sun placed the Project Horizon expansion on hold, due to the economic recession affecting the regional gaming markets. The feasibility of the expansion would be reevaluated in approximately 12 months.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
On January 25, 2005, Mohegan Sun acquired its first gaming venture outside of Connecticut with its $280 million purchase of the Pocono Downs Racetrack in Plains Township, Pennsylvania from Penn National Gaming. Mohegan Sun renamed the property "Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs" and began a major expansion. Operation as the first slots casino in the state of Pennsylvania commenced in November 2006.

Plans for Mohegan Sun, Massachusetts
On August 2, 2007, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority purchased 150 acres (61 ha) of land in the town of Palmer, Massachusetts, a town in eastern Hampden County, with about 12,000 residents. The land is directly off of exit 8 of the Massachusetts Turnpike. At the present time, they have plans to build a retail center. It is unknown if a casino or any type of gaming will occur or be allowed to occur. A month later on September 17, 2007, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick unveiled a proposal to license three full-scale casinos in the state in a bidding process. The locations would be in the western, southeastern, and Boston area of the state. Both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have passed legislation to allow casinos in the state, but governor Patrick has refused to sign the legislation due to his objections to allowing slot machines at race tracks. Prospects for legalizing casinos in the state appear to be on hold until the next legislative session begins in January 2011; however, gaming issues may still be discussed later this year.

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