Foxwoods Casino Details Reopening Plans, Will Clean Chips and Swap Out Playing Cards More Frequently

Posted on: May 7, 2020, 09:31h. 

Last updated on: May 7, 2020, 10:30h.

Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, is revealing some of the health protection measures it’s implementing that will allow the property to safely reopen once deemed appropriate.

Foxwoods Casino coronavirus Connecticut
The slot machines continue to sit idle at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. (Image: Liz Teitz/Connecticut Post)

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler took ABC’s Nightline through the massive resort this week. For the first time since the casino opened more than 20 years ago, it is closed.

Unbelievable,” Butler said of the slot machines being turned off. “They should be clinging and clanging right now.”

One of the largest casinos in the world, Foxwoods has four casinos – Fox Tower, Grand Pequot, Great Cedar, and Rainmaker. Combined, they offer approximately 4,500 slot machines.

Under the Mashantucket Pequot’s gaming compact, the tribe shares 25 percent of its slot machine win with the state. They do not share any revenue generated from the resort’s more than 250 table games.

In 2019, the Connecticut government received $108 million from Foxwoods’ slots. The state’s other tribal casino – Mohegan Sun – shared over $137 million with the state.

Reopening Strategy

Butler says 99 percent of Foxwoods’ workers are currently laid off.

“We have no gaming income,” Butler said. “There’s no tax base here on the reservation. So, it’s costing us a couple of million a week just to stay closed.” Of course, the tribe is eager to reopen, and is discussing ways to protect employees and guests once it resumes operations.

Brian Hayes, vice president of analytics and slot operations at Foxwoods, says playing cards will be swapped out every one to four hours. Traditionally, the cards have been exchanged once a day. Hayes additionally explained that the casino is reviewing ways to efficiently and effectively sanitize chips.

Other health safety measures will include increased frequency of cleaning high-touch areas, such as elevators, handrails, and bathrooms. Social distancing measures will remain in place, with vacant seats in- between gamblers likely.

Ready to Party?

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have both been closed since March 16. They did so of their own accords, as being located on sovereign territory, the tribes are not required to adhere to state orders from Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D).

Foxwoods has canceled reservations through May 24. Mohegan Sun says it will remain closed through at least May 12.

MGM Resorts’ Park MGM property in Las Vegas recently said on its Strip marquee, “When it’s over, we’ll celebrate together.” But Butler isn’t so sure guests will come rushing to Foxwoods once the property reopens.

A lot of this is going to be dictated by the medical professionals. but more importantly, the psychology of people and how comfortable they’re going to feel going back out in the public,” Butler said.

On a typical day, the chairman says Foxwoods welcomes 15,000 to 20,000 people, plus the 5,000 people who arrive to work.