August 6, 2012 -
The two sides are characterizing the management agreement between the Mohegan Gaming Tribal Authority and Resorts Casino as a marketing opportunity to capitalize on joint assets.
Perhaps that’s how it will work out. But it is hard not to imagine that there won’t be changes at Resorts—regardless of what executives say publicly.
According to published reports, Resorts and Mohegan executives announced on Tuesday that they have agreed the Connecticut group will manage Resorts’ operations. Mohegan will also invest in the Atlantic City casino-hotel and become a minority owner. Resorts’ principal owner is New York real estate mogul Morris Bailey. Bailey had been in partnership with the late Dennis Gomes, a dynamic casino executive who died unexpectedly earlier this year. Gomes’ son, Aaron Gomes, has been a Resorts executive vice president. Gomes has been asked to stay on by Mohegan executives, news reports said.
The agreement means that MGTA CEO Mitchell Etess again will have a hand in Atlantic City’s casino industry. Etess previously was an executive at Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza casino.
The Mohegan Sun Tribal Authority has casino resorts at its flagship location in Uncasville, Conn., and at Pocono Downs near Wilkes-Barre. With Resorts in Atlantic City under Mohegan Sun management, customers will be able to accumulate and use player club loyalty points at all three casinos. Resorts will not be getting a new name.
The deal with Mohegan follows an even more significant move when Resorts announced two weeks ago a partnership with singer Jimmy Buffet to create a Margaritaville atmosphere at the casino with a Margaritaville Café and a Landshark bar and grill on a pier across the Boardwalk from Resorts. The façade will prominently advertise Margaritaville, there will be Buffet retail and it’s expected that the tropical theme will extend to part of the casino.
At the time of the Margaritaville announcement, Resorts said that the Buffet motif could coexist with Resorts’ existing Roaring ‘20s theme, although the imagery strains the imagination.
Now with Mohegan Sun taking over operations, it will be interesting to see what direction Resorts takes. There is a Margaritaville Café at the Connecticut casino.
Curiously, this is not the first time that Resorts finds itself linked with Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. For a time in the late 1990s, both casinos were associated with Sol Kerzner, of Sun International Hotels.