An artist's rendering of the proposed design for Mohegan Sun at the Concord. The destination resort and casino would include a 252-room hotel complex, performance venues for music, comedy and live shows and 52,000 square feet of casino space incorporating more than 2,100 gaming positions. Photo by courtesy of Marnell Companies LLC.
July 07, 2014Mohegan Sun submitted a proposal for a $550 million destination casino resort to the New York State Gaming Commission, going head to head with Empire Resorts as the two vie for a casino at the site of the former Concord Hotel in Sullivan County.
Though Mohegan Sun is competing with 16 other applicants and nine other Hudson-Catskill-based applicants, their most direct competition is with Empire Resorts, which also hopes to open Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson.
The Mohegan Sun resort would be constructed on the site of the former Concord Resort Hotel and would be dubbed Mohegan Sun at the Concord. It would extend over 60 acres of the 140.3 acre property and be developed by Mohegan Sun in partnership with the Capelli Organization, which owns and manages the property. The applications — 20 copies, each approximately 10,000 pages thick — were delivered to the Gaming Commission last week.
"Today's submission for a Class III gaming license by Mohegan Sun at the Concord has been a long time in the making and we are so very pleased to wholeheartedly support this project and their bid," Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature Scott Samuelson said in a recent press release. "The revitalization of the tourism industry in Sullivan is a goal that this community has been working towards for decades. This opportunity marks the beginning of a brand new future in an area world renowned for tourism and hospitality for generations."
The construction and design of the resort will be planned by Marnell Companies LLC, which designed the Mirage and Bellagio Hotels in Atlantic City and Las Vegas and Caesar's Palace Las Vegas.
A study conducted by Shepstone Management Company reported that Mohegan Sun at the Concord is estimated to produce $3 billion to $3.7 billion total over a 20 year period, with about $1.5 billion to $1.86 billion going directly into Sullivan County's economy.
Approximately 4,500 construction jobs and more than 2,100 permanent jobs are expected to be created once the resort is completed, and Mohegan Sun's construction would spur additional development and revitalization projects in the area, according to the developers.
"We have never been in an area desperately in more need of economic stimulus than Sullivan County," said Mitchell Etess, CEO of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. "It attracted our interests to be a part of this to try to help move it along."
Critics of casinos point to the issues they claim are associated with casinos, such as a detrimental impact on small local businesses, an increase in traffic, crime, addiction in the community and local government corruption. But Etess said that the jobs that are produced benefit the community, bettering it as a whole.
"Our experience has always been that you see the economic development, but the reality is in Pennsylvania, in Connecticut [where other Mohegan Sun casinos are located], we have not really seen the negative things that people say happen," Etess said. "The reason? Things are better in places when people are working — the jobs not only created by casinos, but also other businesses that are benefited by casinos."
Etess said Mohegan Sun has an advantage over competitors because it generates the highest grossing casino and gaming revenue in the western hemisphere and has a database of five million customers, so the "ramp up" period casinos experience when they open to the public will be shorter for Mohegan Sun than that of other proposed casinos, he says.
"Every casino has a ramp up period," Etess said. "That is an advantage we have because it won't take us nearly as long [as other casinos] because our customer base already exists."