Mohegan seeking to boost NY casino bid odds by pledging local businesses support

Mohegan seeking to boost NY casino bid odds by pledging local businesses support
Wild Casino

Mohegan is seeking to boost its odds of securing one of New York’s three commercial casino licenses to be made available for the downstate region. The company is pledging to support local small businesses and already signing up loyalty program partners in the Big Apple.

The gaming and hospitality firm, controlled by the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, hopes to build a multibillion-dollar integrated casino resort on Manhattan’s East Side, near the United Nations headquarters in midtown, in collaboration with the Soloviev Group.

Mohegan would develop and operate the casino portion of the complex, which Soloviev has dubbed Freedom Plaza. Plans also call for a museum, a performance venue, a Ferris wheel, a hotel with more than 1,000 rooms, two residential towers and substantial green space.

The tribal business is now introducing the Mohegan Momentum Partnership Program for New York City. It is offering businesses located near the proposed development site the opportunity to participate in the scheme, in hopes of incentivizing future casino patrons to support New York City-area restaurants, retail stores and other businesses.

"With various establishments bidding to attain a gaming facility license in New York City, it is imperative for New Yorkers to consider factors beyond just local and state tax revenue gain, but also the effort that organizations are willing and able to make to better the surrounding communities and businesses," Ray Pineault, Mohegan's President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.

A number of New York State Restaurant Association members have signed up for the program, reports The Day. The company is looking to partner with local merchants in New York City who agree to accept points earned at Mohegan properties as a form of payment. Mohegan then reimburses them with cash.

In some cases, participating businesses grant Mohegan Momentum members special discounts and offers. In Connecticut, for instance, members can qualify for discounted AAA memberships, access to the Boston Bruins pro shop at TD Garden in Boston and to tickets at Yankee Stadium and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Momentum Rewards points earned at any Mohegan property can be redeemed at any Mohegan property or participating business, Pineault told the cited source. Mohegan Sun in Connecticut is the Mohegan Tribe’s flagship property, but it also operates several commercial casinos.

Outside its home state, Mohegan owns and/or operates casinos at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Mohegan Pennsylvania in Wilkes-Barre, Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield, Wash., and two casinos in Ontario.

Mohegan’s New York City bid with Soloviev Group, first unveiled in February, is one of 10 expected proposals for the three downstate gaming licenses. The Soloviev Group is controlled by billionaire Stefan Soloviev, who inherited much of his fortune from his late father, Sheldon Solow.

It's widely anticipated that two of the three licenses will go to existing racetrack facilities: Resorts World New York City in the borough of QueensM and Empire City Casino in Yonkers, Westchester County. Both currently offer slot machines but no live dealer table games.