Financially Strapped Pequots Make Small Investment in Southern Casino
MASHANTUCKET: The northeast’s crowded casino market is motivating the Mashantucket Pequots, owners of Foxwoods Casino to look south for growth, announcing it is developing a “Foxwoods” branded casino at Biloxie Point in Biloxi Mississippi.
The new partnership is announced as dirt is being cleared for three Casinos in Massachusetts, the tribe lost its bid to build in Massachusetts in part because of concerns by some in the Baystate that the Pequots wouldn’t be competitive enough with their Connecticut casino.
Slot revenue in May showed a 5% increase over the prior year for Connecticut casinos while Connecticut state officials are weighing a location for a new joint venture between the Pequots and Mohegans to address the coming competition from Massachusetts.
New York State now has seventeen casinos mostly upstate but include one in Queens and one Westchester.
Connecticut casinos pay 25% of slot revenue to the state and current Massachusetts law has casinos in that state with a similar expected tax burden.
The Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise will partner with Biloxi Boardwalk Ventures, LLC, Chris Ferrara, and with The Hartmann Group, LLC; the resort’s project management company.
Ferrara won approval for the site in 2012 and has been searching for financing and management support since.
The partners say they hope to open the casino by 2019, it would be the 13th casino and the third largest on the Mississippi’s coast.
Biloxi is a major southern tourism destination, and the new Foxwoods Resort Casino at Biloxi Pointe will be a $265 million “destination” resort and casino built on a 23-acre former Heinz company owned pet food manufacturing facility.
The development will include a 781,000 square foot full-service complex with gaming and non-gaming amenities, including approximately 50,000 square feet of casino space including as many as 1400 slot machines and table games, a 500-room hotel and 71,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.
While the Pequots will be managing the development according to reports they are initially investing only $2 million. TFA Capital Partners, based in El Sequndo California is raising money for the development and according to the TFA foreign investors hoping to purchase American residency with an investment of $500,000 that create 10 or more jobs will be tapped for financing.
Ferrara owns Ferrara Fire Apparatus of Holden, Louisiana a manufacture of fire trucks and emergency response vehicles. Ferrarra has reportedly has already invested $13 million in a marina at the site.