Foxwoods 30th Anniversary – Expansion Will Highlight 30 “Wonder Of It All” Years
On February 15, 2022, Foxwoods became 30 years old. Foxwoods Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary this year and announced an expansion and more plans. These additions are the biggest since the Fox Tower partnership with MGM and the Tanger Mall.
“Expansion” has been the Mashantucket Pequots’ middle name. In 2007, before the zipline and all the other thrill rides, the world’s largest casino (at the time) had already begun to become family-friendly and add an indoor water park and resort. But, revenue began to decrease year after year, starting in 2008 and the Great Recession. Finally, in 2012, the New York Times declared that Foxwoods “is fighting for its life” due to more competition and saturation of casinos in the northeast.
Fifteen years later, there is new hope on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation. In 2017, the tribe celebrated its 25th Anniversary and recently persevered through the Covid pandemic.
In 2022, the day after Valentine’s Day, a big 6-foot cake in the shape of a tree was rolled into the about-to-open High Stakes Bingo Hall in the resort’s Rainmaker section for a special birthday celebrating 30 years to the day that Foxwoods opened. The cake’s tree shape denotes an insignia that Foxwoods owners, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, adopted since federal recognition was granted them in the 1980s.
CELEBRATE! Foxwoods 30th Anniversary
Foxwoods announced an expansion that will include:
- The addition of Great Wolf Lodge at Mashantucket: Industry-leading family indoor water park resort
- A new High Stakes Bingo Hall is opening this spring
- A new 75,000 square foot Rainmaker Expo Center
- A renovation of the resort’s main entrance
- During the week of its Anniversary
- Gave away $30,000 a day to guests for anniversary week
- Gave away $300,000 in cash and prizes for anniversary week
- Foxwoods will make a $30,000 monthly donation throughout 2022 to non-profit organizations beginning with United Way.
New Partnerships in 2021
The Pequot Tribe first looked beyond the continental 48 states for their next gambling venture. Foxwoods partnered with El San Juan Casino in Puerto Rico, which closed after Hurricane Maria in 2017. The Foxwoods Brand will now manage the casino at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico.
Foxwoods announced the second exciting partnership on the heels of Connecticut’s Legalized Sports Betting and iGaming. In addition, the resort recently opened its Draft Kings Sportsbook next to the Cedar Casino.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced they will expand their relationship and pave the way to offering the DraftKings online and retail sports betting experience in Puerto Rico. The DraftKings retail sportsbook will open soon inside the Foxwoods El San Juan Casino. The space will feature a massive video wall, bar and dining services, two over-the-counter ticket windows, and six betting kiosks.
Thirty Years of Existence That Started With Bingo
After gaining federal recognition in 1986, a 26,000 sq. ft. high-stakes bingo hall took shape. Today, Foxwoods is the Bingo Capital of the World with its 35,000-square-foot bingo hall, about the size of a small supermarket, and seating 4,000 participants.
With the latest announcement, Foxwoods management plans to unveil a new over 30,000-square-feet high-stakes bingo hall in what had been the Festival Casino space. It is the same place as the first large bingo hall that opened 30 years ago.
The wing will have over 2,200 seats, a decrease of seats by over 40%. However, it will still be one of the largest bingo halls in North America.
Foxwoods’ current bingo hall will be transformed into the “Rainmaker Expo Center.” It will offer 75,000 square feet of space for corporate meetings, trade shows, and sporting events.
There are also plans to renovate the resort’s main entrance.
Related Post – How Did Foxwoods Get So Big?
Great Wolf Lodge at Mashantucket
The biggest news is the addition of Great Wolf Lodge at Mashantucket indoor water park, family entertainment center, and hotel. Foxwoods said it had formed a partnership with Wisconsin-based waterpark operator Great Wolf Lodge to open in 2024.
Great Wolf spokesperson Jennifer Beranek stressed that the agreement is not final and only constitutes a “letter of intent,” but the tribe was more particular about the details.
The family resort chain is best known for its water-centered amusement parks and first-class, full-service, family destination resorts. They provide all-suite guest rooms and an indoor family entertainment area. In addition to water parks, offerings will include:
- a children’s craft and activity room focusing on “edutainment,”
- an interactive adventure game,
- an arcade,
- a tech center with Internet stations and other amenities.
It would be the company’s first location in Connecticut. The nearest locations are in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and Pocono Township in Pennsylvania.
Tribals Leaders Are Ecstatic
Tribal spokesman Bruce MacDonald said the Lodge would be separate from Foxwoods. But, unlike the casino, it will stand outside the bounds of the tribe’s reservation in southeastern Connecticut. MacDonald said the tribe envisions a “good solid economic venture. An environment where a family can split up and sample the various adult and family-oriented activities available.
Rodney Butler, the Mashantucket chairman, reported that Great Wolf Resorts is investing most of the capital in the project. It would be located in an empty parking area between the casino’s Rainmaker entrance and the Pequot Outpost gas station/convenience store on Foxwoods Boulevard. In addition, Foxwoods will relocate a portion of Trolley Lane Boulevard to accommodate the project.
Great Wolf Resorts will own the water park facility and lease the real estate from the tribe. A similar arrangement to the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods. The Tanger-owned indoor shopping mall links the casino’s Grand Pequot and Fox towers.
“Foxwoods will become family-friendly on a massive scale. It will be on 15 acres adjacent to Foxwoods, not directly a part of Foxwoods. As a result, it will be a huge driver of foot traffic.”Jason Guyot, Foxwoods’ CEO
Related Post – Thrill Rides and Family Entertainment at Foxwoods
Indoor Water Park
According to Tim O’Brien, author of many amusement park guides, indoor water parks are relatively new. He said the first parks opened in the early 1990s.
“There are now close to 75 legitimate water park resorts in the U.S.,” he said. “Not everybody’s doing it, but it is a trend.”
O’Brien and his company have partnered with Great Wolf to open a Lodge in Niagara Falls, Canada. The water park is part of a more prominent hotel, as he described it. There are game rooms and arcades, guest suites, and restaurants. Great Wolf Lodge at Mashantucket will feature multiple water slides, pools, and a “four-story treehouse water fort.” “It’s like a cruise ship,” O’Brien said, “You never have to walk out the front door.”
“First there was Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and then Foxwoods. Now, no one in the Northeast, or even in the country can compete with us.”Jason Guyot, Foxwoods’ CEO
The Community Interest
Not everyone is thrilled with the super-sized expansion. Immediate concerns emerged over the negative impact on meadowland, wetlands, and forested areas. The Maryland-based Blue Water Development Corp. partnership will include:
- 300 luxury pull-through RV spots,
- safari tent camping,
- 30 cabins, and
- a saltwater pool.
The preferred location is in the town of Ledyard on land that the tribe purchased some time ago. Ledyard, Preston, and North Stonington are the three towns that border Mashantucket. The agreement with Great Wolf Resorts Inc. is contingent on receiving all the required approvals.
The initial reaction has been favorable. The town of Ledyard, for years, has wanted the tribe to develop spinoff entities to help their tax base.
More Expansion For The Summer
Foxwoods continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary with another renovation project – a new VIP Players Lounge for this summer. The VIP Players Lounge will open later this year in the former Veranda Café. The renovated space will have more than 225 seats, a new buffet line, and a 15-seat bar.
A new eatery has already opened, Sushi By Bou. It is considered a “one-of-a-kind sushi suite.” Sushi By Bou will delight guests with a uniquely designed dining space on the concourse. In addition, it offers a private sushi dining experience with its Sushi Suite, a luxe addition slated for a wholly reimagined hotel suite in the Great Cedar Hotel. Sushi By Bou will also offer an extensive list of hand-crafted cocktails, imported sakes, and Japanese beers.”
If that wasn’t enough, two more minor additions include Wingstop in the Great Cedar food court and CardVault. Card Vault is a store dedicated to buying, selling, trading, grading, and consigning sports cards and collectibles.
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A Spectacular Celebration – Foxwoods 30th Anniversary
The World Casino Directory recognized Foxwoods as the largest resort casino in North America, with 340,000-square feet of gaming space. In addition to 250 table games and 4,100 slot machines, Foxwoods boasts the 80-store Tanger Outlet Mall; three hotels with spas and meeting spaces; 35 dining spots; two performance halls; the Lake of Isles golf course; a 32-story high zip-line; Monza go-kart track; and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. In addition, the Mashantucket Pequots have strived to make Foxwoods an excellent gambling destination with a family-friendly campus.
Jason Guyot, the Foxwoods’ CEO, summarized it best by saying, “As we look ahead to the next chapter of Foxwoods, and as we continue to get better every year, I am proud to celebrate this milestone alongside The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods team members, our beloved guests, and the local community. Today marks the beginning of a spectacular yearlong celebration, and we look forward to welcoming guests of all ages to experience the wonder of it all.”
The 30th year of operation for the Pequots and Foxwoods should be a spectacular yearlong celebration indeed.
Visiting New England’s Casinos?
Robin T. Aubin (AKA Binbin at NETimeGambling) has been a guest on Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast, The Bettor Life Podcast, The Art in the Game Podcast featuring all that is Springfield, Massachusetts. as well as ZorkCast with Michael Trager. As founder of NETimeGambling.com, he has tried to provide a resource for recreational gamblers featuring New England’s expanding casino market events, gambling promotions and entertainment. As a professional musician for over 50 years, he has performed in some of New England’s best venues, namely Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, Foxwoods’ Atrium Lounge, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Bar & Lounge.
LINKS to New England Casinos
- Connecticut – Foxwoods Resort/Casino and Mohegan Sun Resort/Casino
- Rhode Island – Tiverton Casino Hotel and Twin River Hotel/Casino
- Massachusetts – Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor
- Maine – Oxford Casino and Hollywood Bangor Hotel, Casino & Raceway.
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