MGM Springfield Further Angers Connecticut Tribes With Door-to-Door Bus Service to Neighboring State

Posted on: December 8, 2018, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: December 7, 2018, 07:16h.

MGM Springfield is adding fuel to an already blazing fire between the Massachusetts casino and its Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun competitors in neighboring Connecticut by announcing a new door-to-door bus service offered to residents in both states.

MGM Springfield bus Connecticut tribes
Instead of waiting for busses at scheduled stops, MGM Springfield customers in Connecticut will soon be able to schedule home pickup service. (Image: Heather Brandon/NEPR)

Beginning Monday, December 10, MGM’s charter partner King Ward Luxury Motor Coach of Chicopee will begin offering customers the ability to be directly picked up at their homes and transported to the Massachusetts resort. Prices for those in Connecticut will start at $30 roundtrip, and include $20 in free play and a $10 food voucher for customers aged 21 and older.

King Ward is promoting the door-to-door service with several available Connecticut towns including Enfield, Somers, Windsor Locks, and Hartford. All are located in the north-central part of Connecticut, and within 30 miles of MGM Springfield.

However, King Ward added that the service is not limited to the towns listed, and interested customers in other areas should call to inquiry about direct service.

Market War Zone

MGM Springfield opened in August, and has been using chartered bus service since. Its routes currently extend as far south as Middletown.

The door-to-door service to Connecticut is just the latest move by MGM Resorts to further penetrate Connecticut’s gambling base. It will also further anger the tribal owners of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

The majority of MGM Springfield’s bus service is centered on Hartford and areas north along Interstate 91. That’s precisely where the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes had hoped to jointly construct their $300 million satellite casino in East Windsor.

Connecticut lawmakers and Governor Dannel Malloy (D) authorized the venue in hopes of preventing gaming dollars from flowing across the Connecticut-Massachusetts border to the $960 million MGM property. The law they passed, however, was on condition that the US Department of the Interior sign off on the revised state gaming compacts, something Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke never did, and courts later determined he wasn’t required to review the matter in the first place.

The tribes contest that MGM successfully lobbied Zinke to avoid the issue. MGM additionally told Connecticut lawmakers that if they want the best deal, they should hold a competitive bidding process that’s open not only to the tribes, but also commercial companies. MGM subsequently proposed a $675 million casino resort in Bridgeport.

Mohegan Sun recently took issue with being “first” in an MGM commercial that declared, “The best of Las Vegas is coming to the heart of New England. This is a first.” Mohegan responded with its own commercial titled “This is First” showing highlights of its resort’s 22-year history.

2019 Resolutions

MGM Resorts has seemingly already won the turf war against the two Connecticut tribes. Its megaresort is open in Springfield, busses are bringing gamblers across the state line and establishing them into their M life Rewards loyalty program, and ground still hasn’t been broken on the East Windsor tribal casino.

When the Connecticut General Assembly convenes in 2019, the gaming expansion issue is expected to be reconsidered. Sports betting is another measure that will be discussed in the Hartford capital.