Drink and Get Lucky

Representatives of the two Indian-owned casinos in Connecticut have been talking to state officials about the possibility of extending drinking hours to keep gamblers at the slot machines and gaming tables longer.

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun want to become a bit more competitive with casinos in Atlantic City, which can serve alcohol 24 hours a day, as casino revenues decline in the slumping economy.

Lori Potter, a spokeswoman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said Tuesday that the tribe, which operates Foxwoods, has been talking with state officials about extending drinking hours.

"We've discovered that our liquor hours that we have right now are out of step with our competition in Atlantic City," Potter said. "We see a dramatic falloff in our gaming after last call."

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have gambling compacts with the state that require them to adhere to Connecticut liquor laws, which prohibit selling or giving away alcohol on the gambling floors after 1 a.m. on weeknights and after 2 a.m. on weekends.

"It's the state's call," Potter said, "and our business will really experience significant change in revenues if we work with state to quantify the impact of extending the liquor hours."

Chuck Bunnell, a spokesman for the Mohegan Tribe, said Wednesday that Connecticut competes with Atlantic City for gamblers in the New York metropolitan area.

"As Connecticut seeks to be more and more competitive in that market, this is something the Mohegan Tribe would be willing and interested to discuss with the state," Bunnell said.

Bunnell said there have only been very preliminary discussions so far. He also said gambling revenue at Mohegan Sun drops after liquor service is cut off.

Under the tribes' gambling compacts, the state receives 25 percent of the casinos' slot machine revenue. State analysts are projecting a roughly $10 million drop in total payments from the two casinos to the state next year, to $382 million.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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