Foxwoods in eastern Connecticut is the largest casino in the world (by floor space) and is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. They were making big money for a while but, like too many others, expanded way too fast and took on a crushing load of debt, over $2 billion. But the recession and competition from nearby casinos has clobbered their revenue. Now they may not be able to pay the debt.
Dealing with the financial troubles at Foxwoods isn’t just about solving a business problem at a casino. It’s about finding a way to salvage the economic engine that sustains the Pequot nation.
The Pequots could continue to pay its members their stipends while defaulting on debt. Because the casino is on tribal land, normal foreclosure laws do not apply. Were they to do this, I expect they’d be met with a firestorm of protest, especially from the right. It might work as a short-term financial maneuver, but could be a public relations disaster.
[Charles Rogers, a Pequot says] “This entitlement and one-upmanship and ego is really what’s ruining this tribe and ruining the casino. How much money is enough? At what point do you ask yourself that question? For some people, there’s never enough.”