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Major debt payment facing Foxwoods Resort

July 05, 2010 9:32 AM by Ray Poirier

"Foxwoods is having money trouble? How could that be?" asked a New Hampshire resident who previously was a frequent visitor to the Connecticut tribal casino that at one time was the largest and most profitable casino in the world."Foxwoods is having money trouble? How could that be?" asked a New Hampshire resident who previously was a frequent visitor to the Connecticut tribal casino that at one time was the largest and most profitable casino in the world.

"When I went there," explained the former player, "I would have to stand in line for an hour to play a $1 slot machine."

But that was before the economic downturn…before the increased competition from nearby states…before the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, owners of the facility, spent nearly a billion dollars to partner with MGM Resorts International (then known as MGM MIRAGE) to build a huge hotel/casino adjacent to their original building.

The tribe’s debt level reportedly is in the $2 billion range with a $700 million revolving credit facility provided by Merrill Lynch (now owned by Bank of America) that is coming due on July 13.

Tribal leaders have been negotiating with lenders to get a loan reduction since last year but no progress has been reported.

Causing concern to lenders around the country is the fact that federally-recognized tribes are considered sovereign nations protected by the federal government. Thus, according to recent court rulings, the casinos cannot be taken over by lenders as has happened with other defaulting casinos.

A further extension to the July deadline is expected while talks continue, say observers.

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The possibility of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas inched a bit closer to reality when owner Mark Davis not only pledged to move the Raiders to the city, but put $500 million into the proposed $1.4 billion domed stadium.

Since its opening six months ago, the Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center has nearly doubled its booked meetings and conventions through 2019 and expects to bring nearly 300,000 conference attendees to Atlantic City. 

More than four million people traveled through McCarran International Airport during March, a 5.5 percent increase over March a year ago. It was the airport’s best March total in eight years. 

​Clark County’s gaming win fell 3.59 percent to $796.69 million during March during the same period a year ago. But the rest of the state did not do any better as the statewide win for March was also 3.04 percent lower at $922.27 million.

Leaders of Connecticut’s two federally recognized Indian tribes have received preliminary assurances from federal officials that gambling agreements with the state would not be jeopardized by the proposed third casino they hope to open.

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