More Conn. competition for RI gambling venues

Jun 25, 2013

More bad news for Rhode Island gambling venues: Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino has announced a major retail expansion at its flagship property in Uncasville, Conn. The new retail destination will have 200,000 square feet of entertainment, shopping and dining. The new facility will be located next to the Winter Garage. Construction is slated to begin later and the space is scheduled to open in early 2015.

The new space will feature a 14-screen movie theater, a bowling  alley, upscale retail shopping that includes such brands as Coach, Tiffany, Tommy Bahama, Puma and Sephora. Plans also call for a food emporium with gourmet restaurants and farmers markets.

This is a problem for Rhode Island because it creates yet more competition for Rhode Island’s stripped down gambling venues at Twin River in Lincoln and Newport Grand.  Neither of those venues have hotel rooms, shopping malls, golf courses or other features associated with destination resorts, although Twin River now has table games.

With Massachusetts vetting casino operators for high-end developments, the threats to Rhode Island’s $320 million in state revenues generated by gambling just keep piling up. It appears Massachusetts and Connecticut are going after high rollers and affluent gamblers, while Rhode Island is stuck with the low end of the market.