Foxwoods Casino Tribe Seeks Economic Diversity, Acquires Consultancy Firm

Posted on: August 4, 2022, 10:13h. 

Last updated on: August 4, 2022, 01:22h.

The tribe that owns Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut has acquired a Florida-based government consultancy firm that primarily contracts with the federal government.

Foxwoods casino Mashantucket Pequot Connecticut
Foxwoods Resort Casino is viewed from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. The Mashantucket Pequot tribe is seeking new businesses to assure its economic sovereignty outside of casino gaming. (Image: The New York Times)

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced this week it’s acquiring WWC Global. The Tampa contracting group assists federal agencies in developing policies through research.

WWC clients include the US Department of Defense, State, Energy, and Homeland Security. The agency counts 350 employees and bills itself as one of the 65 largest woman-owned contracting firms among US federal agencies.

WCC says it provides “innovative, short- and long-term solutions to a wide variety of policy and management challenges.”

The Mashantucket Pequot Nation, one of two federally recognized tribes in Connecticut, the other being the Mohegan Tribe that owns and operates Mohegan Sun, is seeking to diversify its economic interests away from gaming, hospitality, and entertainment. Tribal officials say investing in industries not as prone to recessions and pandemics is critical to the tribe’s self-sufficiency in the decades ahead.

Terms of the WWC deal were not disclosed. But the tribe said the consultancy generates about $100 million annually.

New Bets

The Great Recession and COVID-19 pandemic were a one-two punch for both Connecticut casinos. The 2008 financial disaster and the worst virus outbreak the world’s seen since the Spanish flu caused much fiscal harm to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

The Mashantucket tribe predominantly relies on Foxwoods to support its tribal community and 2,500-acre reservation. The Mashantucket taking over WCC Global, tribal officials say, will help reduce its reliance on Foxwoods.

Until last fall, Mashantucket did not operate gaming outside Connecticut. That changed when the tribe acquired the operating rights to the casino inside the Fairmont Hotel in Puerto Rico. After spending $15 million to update the facility, Foxwoods El San Juan Casino opened in November 2021.

The Mohegan Tribe is a much larger gaming tribe with some non-gaming investments. The Mohegans own and/or operate eight casinos across North America and are building a nearly $1.6 billion integrated casino resort in South Korea at Incheon International Airport. The Mohegan tribe also owns the WNBA Connecticut Sun, seven Jersey Mike’s subs locations, and six Pasta Vita restaurants.

Gaming Losses

Foxwoods opened in 1986 as a bingo hall. After receiving Class III gaming privileges through a compact with the state, Las Vegas-style slot machines and table games arrived at the facility in 1992. The resort has since undergone major expansions and propped up the tribe into one of the nation’s wealthiest.

But ongoing encroaching competition — today, casinos are found in Connecticut’s three neighboring states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York — Foxwoods has seen a substantial decline in gaming.

Under their Class III compacts, the Mashantucket’s share 25% of their annual slot win with the state. The tribe keeps all of its table game revenue.

In 2006, Foxwoods won approximately $820 million on its slot machines. By 2019, that number had dropped to $452 million. The pandemic worsened things further, as Foxwoods terminals won only around $342 million in 2020. Slot machine win totaled $327 million last year.