Mohegans go coast to coast; Revenue sharing on the rise in Arizona
In its second such investment the Mohegan Tribe will provide financing and
expertise to assist another Indian nation in the development and operation
of a Class III casino.
The eastern Connecticut tribe, proprietor of the hugely successful Mohegan
Sun Casino, announced in late July plans to invest a total of $6.5 million
in a venture by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to build a casino/resort at La
Center, Wash., some 25 miles north of Portland, Ore. The Cowlitz Tribe is
based in Longview, Wash.
"Mohegans believe that diversification is key to the ongoing economic
health of the tribe," according to a statement on the tribal Web site.
No strangers to the business world, the Mohegans have indeed diversified
their investment portfolio not only in other gaming markets, but also in
regard to the types of businesses they've involved themselves in, which
include a women's pro basketball team and an aquaculture/shell-fishing
The Mohegans are already lending a hand to the Menominee Indian Tribe in
Kenosha, Wis. where the Menominees are planning a $700-million casino.
The Wisconsin tribe already operates the Menominee Casino-Bingo-Hotel in
Keshena, in the northeastern part of the state. Opened in 1987, the
33,000-square-foot facility features some 850 slots as well as a 400-seat
bingo hall, blackjack, poker, roulette and other games.
It is commendable that the Mohegans, easily one of Indian country's most
successful gaming tribes, are willing to support fellow tribes financially
while also offering their experience in both casino management and public
relations. According to the July 29 edition of the Hartford Courant, "more
agreements could be announced soon." The tribe is certainly doing its
True, the Mohegan Tribe will likely benefit from its investments, as well
it should in a free market economy. Other tribes seeking to enter the
gaming arena (or any other business) might find in the Mohegans a valuable
resource. As certain tribal governments gain "surplus" revenue from their
business bases, it makes great sense for them to reinvest that money -
either in their own businesses or into the endeavors of a tribe newer to
the gaming or business world.
This is just what a smart commercial business would do with its profits -
reinvest in itself, or find a worthy partner to invest in - rather than
squandering them. The Mohegan investments are just that - good investments.
They are also good examples.
Gaming tribes in Arizona paid the state $18.2 million in revenue sharing
for the April-to-June fiscal quarter. This sum, announced in late July,
represents a marked increase over the $14.8 million paid for the
January-to-March fiscal period.
Under provisions of Proposition 202, approved by Arizona voters in November
2002, the state's 15 gaming pueblos gained permission to offer blackjack
and slot machines in return for allowing state regulators to audit their
books and for sharing revenue.
Arizona's pueblos pay Phoenix on a sliding scale - 1 percent of their first
$25 million in net win; 3 percent of the next $50 million; 6 percent of the
next $25 million; and 8 percent as their aggregate net win for the year
passes $100 million.
Twelve percent of the revenue was channeled to local governments. The
remaining 88 percent was allotted as follows:
$8.8 million to the state's instructional improvement fund;
$4.4 million for trauma and emergency services;
$2.0 million to the state Gaming Department to cover regulatory costs;
$1.3 million to the Arizona wildlife conservation fund;
$1.3 million to the state tourism fund; and
$354,480 to problem-gambling education, treatment and prevention.
Since Prop 202 revenue sharing began in April 2003, Arizona's gaming tribes
have helped pad that state's bottom line to the tune of approximately $56