Now casino resorts on either side of Niagara Falls will be run by Tribal operators. Yesterday Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE) took over management of two Canadian casinos: Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort, marking the Tribal gaming operator’s “next stage of our international expansion,” said Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos, adding that the Tribe has promised to invest “several hundred million” into the properties.
The Seneca Nation owns and operates the Seneca Niagara in Niagara Falls, New York State, in addition to the Seneca’s properties in Salamanca and Buffalo.
Following a competitive bid process last year, Ontario Lottery Corp granted the Mohegan Tribal gaming arm the right to operate what is collectively known as the “Niagara Bundle.” The enterprise behind the Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun won out against competitors including Hard Rock International and Caesars Entertainment. (While Mohegan won the Niagara Falls bundle, Hard Rock International was awarded another bundle in Ottawa. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. structured the bundles to compete within their respective markets.)
Entrance into the Canadian market is a strategic move for MGE, which is gearing up to begin construction of its $1.6 billion casino at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Project Inspire marks the first entrance by a Tribe into the Asian gaming market; meanwhile, MGE is keeping close watch on the gaming market in Japan. In addition to the aforementioned Mohegan Sun and Project Inspire, MGE also operates Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania, the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, the Ilani in Washington, and the Paragon Casino Resort in Louisiana.
As for the Canadian properties, MGE will lease them from Ontario Lottery Corp for 21 years. In return for taking the revenue, MGE will likely pay an annual tax to the province — though terms of the deal were not disclosed.
At Fallsview Casino, a 5,000-seat entertainment center is under construction and slated to open this summer; MGE will manage and book its entertainment calendar.
Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort are the largest employers in their area, employing a workforce of about 4,000.
As part of MGE’s latest global expansion, the brand named Christian Block as Regional President, to oversee Niagara Falls and Korea. Block brings over 30 years of global gaming and integrated resort experience, with leadership roles domestically as well as in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Block will ensure the day-to-day compliance and regulatory controls are met while embedding the “Mohegan Way” into all operations at the Niagara Falls properties.
As Kontomerkos expressed of the “Mohegan Way”: Mohegan is widely recognized for its “all-encompassing integrated entertainment properties and extraordinary guest experiences, we are proud to be part of the transformation of the Niagara gaming and entertainment scene as operators of the iconic dual-anchored casino properties, including the future Niagara Falls Entertainment Centre. The addition of the Niagara Falls destination to MGE’s portfolio of properties offers our millions of valued guests another impressive one-of-a-kind experience MGE has become known for providing. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Niagara community and promoting greater economic development and tourism in the region by showcasing our outstanding gaming, entertainment and resort offerings for locals and visitors alike.”