Last week, the Mohegan Sun Pocono took part in a meeting with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The casino group was pitching their plans to offer sports betting. The plans did not include horse race wagering, which was a surprise to the board. Also a surprise, was the fact that the casino plans to close their original casino area and do away with over 400 slot machines.
Major Changes Ahead
During their pitch, the Mohegan Sun announced that they are planning on closing the original area of their casino and relocate their poker room. They will conduct a renovation of the poker room as well as reduce the number of table games throughout the property. The casino will also do away with over 400 slot machines onsite.
The changes have raised concerns within the board. During the meeting, the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment general manager and president, Anthony Carlucci, stated that the sportsbook will be located in an old electronics store. This will help the property avoid having to move any slot machines. Despite there being no need to move any slots, the casino plans to remove 405 games, which is around 17% of their slot game inventory. The property needs approval to do so.
The board then questioned Carlucci and other officials extensively about the decrease. They want to fully understand how much of the decision is based on the physical limits of the property and compare it to what is the best decision for the property.
The main problem the board has with the request of the casino is the closure of the original casino space. This section would lose the most slot machines as it is home to 383 units. The representatives of the casino tried to explain that the area was not near the main floor and the amenities of the property. The old space also has a high cost for maintenance. The company would rather invest the money elsewhere.
Another element of the plan is to move the poker room and redesign it. The company wants to move the poker room to behind the new sportsbook. They feel that the poker customer and sportsbook player can provide cross wagering. They feel that table games will provide more cross selling than slot games.
With the poker room moving, it would go from 18 tables to only eight. They would also eliminate 109 slot machines. This is a big deal to the board, along with the other reductions of the facility. The cost of the poker room move and remodel has been estimated at around $400,000.
Additional changes involving the Mohegan Sun property include an increase in the High Limits area for slot games with 16 machines. They will also be opening a non-smoking section. When nine table games are removed from the facility, the casino would be placing 75 slots in that space. So, essentially, while they are taking away games, they are also moving games to other areas of the property.
According to the officials of the Mohegan Sun Pocono, the changes will not cause a projected reduction in revenue or staffing of the facility. The slots the property plans on removing actually fall into the bottom 25% when it comes to revenue earnings.
The board certainly had a lot of questions on the matter, so it will be interesting to see if the approval will be given. The board will most likely take their time in reviewing the details before making a decision.