Foxwoods set for $700M expansion

Oct 11, 2005 4:41 AM

Foxwoods officials announced their selection of The Paul Steelman Group of Las Vegas to design the expansion of their resort casino. The $700 million expansion will add two million square feet, housing 1,500 more slot machines, 45 more table games, two nightclubs, a performing arts theatre, a spa, more restaurants and retail space, additional meeting and convention space, a fourth hotel tower, and the largest ballroom in the Northeastern U.S. Foxwoods expects the expansion to be completed by summer of 2008.

A glass enclosure is at the heart of Steelman’s design, highlighting the natural landscape surrounding Foxwoods. "We believe we have created a unique, first-of-its-kind design for the U.S. gaming industry, " Steelman said in a statement.

Steelman has designed casinos in Peru, Switzerland and the Philippines, and recently completed the Sands Casino in Macau and Harrah’s Rincon Casino Resort in San Diego. His work can be seen at a number of Las Vegas casinos, including Treasure Island, Harrah’s, Caesars Palace and MGM Grand.

Defiant governor
signs new compact

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) has signed a new 25-year compact with the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe. The compact comes after a year and a half of negotiation, and requires revenue sharing that the tribe estimates will amount to $750 million over the life of the compact.

The new deal includes a 30-mile zone of exclusivity, and requires the state reimburse the Potawatomi tribe for any losses should the Menominee Nation build at the Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, about 35 miles from Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee.

The governor’s action flies in the face of the new legislative bill (AB 461) introduced just two weeks ago, which would essentially strip the governor of his ability to negotiate Indian gaming compacts without legislative approval. That bill is awaiting a vote in the state Senate.

The compact essentially preserves the terms of the tribe’s 2003 compact, allowing the tribe to offer poker, craps and roulette. Last year, the state Supreme Court threw the 2003 agreement out, but the tribe argued that the court had no authority over what had been approved on a federal level.

Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo), who introduced AB 461 last week, said the compact violated the state constitution because it allows the tribe to continue business as usual, despite the Supreme Court decision.

Updates from
UPSTATE NY

The Cayuga Nation of New York has temporarily shut down Lakeside Entertainment, its Class II gaming facility in Seneca Falls. The action was in response to the Seneca County Board of Supervisor’s unanimous approval of a new law that declares the Cayuga’s bingo hall illegal.

Tribal leaders are likely to challenge the new law. One lawyer representing the tribe called the law "patently unconstitutional."

The tribe has lowered gas prices by 50 cents a gallon at its Seneca Falls convenience store as a "thank you" to their customers, and continues to operate a second bingo hall in Union Springs.

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The Seneca Nation of New York has purchased nine acres of waterfront property in downtown Buffalo. The purchase of the non-reservation land is part of a land claim settlement with the state. The tribe is also considering other nearby properties.

Seneca President Barry E. Snyder Sr. called the deal "an historical announcement for the Seneca Nation, and the people of Buffalo and Erie County."

Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello fully supports the Seneca’s proposal for a casino on the site. "This is an economic development/job creation initiative," he said in a public statement.

The city hopes the casino, along with other initiatives, will revitalize downtown Buffalo. The estimated $200 million casino project could provide the city with 1,000 new jobs and $7 million in revenue sharing.