Casino Poker Room Relocation In The Cards
As a result of declining revenue, Mohegan Sun Pocono officials plan to relocate the poker room to the main floor and reduce the number of slot machines and table games at the Plains Twp. casino.
In addition to giving Mohegan Sun Pocono officials the go-ahead to start sports betting, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board also approved their plans Wednesday to modify the casino’s floor plan.
Mohegan Sun Pocono President and General Manager Tony Carlucci said there is no projected reduction in revenue or staffing as a result the modifications.
Phase one involves closing an original casino area that was built in 1965 and has some leaking issues, he said.
“The main reason we’re closing it is because the machines that are there are just not needed,” he said. “We also believe that it will enhance our gaming experience because it’s an older facility about a football field away from our main facility.”
Carlucci said one reason casino officials want to relocate the poker room is that it is “far off the beaten path” in an older section of the building. He believes relocating the poker room will increase poker revenue.
Sunil Mukul, director of casino operations for Mohegan Sun Pocono, said poker revenue has steadily been declining as a result of increased competition and other casinos opening.
“We peaked out at about a little over $4 million in 2011 and last year, we were a little bit over $2 million,” he said.
The current poker room has 18 tables and the new room would accommodate eight tables and be close to restaurants on the main gaming floor, Mukul said.
“With the decline in revenue, we believe eight tables would be more than enough to accommodate our demand,” he said. “The card room is outdated.”
The estimated expense to relocate the poker room and remodel and update is $400,000, Mukul said.
The 10 poker tables that Mohegan Sun Pocono officials are eliminating “sit empty most of the time,” said Mohegan Sun Pocono assistant general manager Gary DeWitt. Casino officials also proposed to do away with 13 other table games.
DeWitt said 73 slot machines would be added to the space vacated by nine table games.
Mohegan Sun Pocono officials want to reduce the number of slot machines at the casino by 405, including 383 in the original casino area space that are about 11 years old.
“There is extremely low occupancy in this space,” DeWitt said.
According to DeWitt the casino opened in 2006 with 1,099 slot machines and it now has 2,325.
“We would like to have 1,920 slot machines,” he said.
He presented charts showing that the highest hourly play for 2018 was 1,718 slot machines. About 430 slot machines are played at a time on average during a typical day in 2018, he said.
“Obviously, it’s a large reduction in machine count,” Carlucci said. “Although we have more than 2,300 machines, the most I’ve ever seen at the property in three years for one night is 1,700 machines in play. We just have too many machines that we really don’t need.”
According to DeWitt, Mohegan Sun has invested $44 million in slot machine purchases since 2008. In the last two and half years, $10 million was spent on slot machines.
“We’ve really been focused on keeping our floor as fresh as possible,” he said.
DeWitt also highlighted more than $750,000 in additional capital improvements at Mohegan Sun Pocono have included the addition of Molly O’Shea’s Irish Pub, a pizza place called Slice’d and a remodeled hotel lobby bar as well as plans to make way for sports betting.
“One of our most exciting projects is our sportsbook,” he said.
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