Mohegan Gaming Launches in iGaming Space
One of the most prominent developers and operators of casino properties, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), has announced the launch of its iGaming arm, Mohegan Digital. The division will focus on helping MGE expand its online gaming operations, including the dedicated Mohegan Sun sportsbook, online sports betting facilities, and casinos.
The company has appointed Rich Roberts and Alviram Alroy as president and vice president to the new company to help steer the company in a direction MGE believes will benefit its long-term sustainability in the United States and beyond.
Commenting on this move, MGE president and chief executive officer Ray Pineault said that the company had observed continuous growth in the digital gaming facilities across the Mohegan portfolio of assets, prompting the operator to act more confidently in the sector.
“Over the years, Mohegan has made great technological advancements in the digital space, working with industry-leading partners to provide state-of-the-art advancements to casino and sportsbook online operations. With Mohegan Digital, we are looking to expand and enhance these efforts,” Pineault added.
The new appointments are fitting additions to Mohegan’s ambitious lineup of executives. Roberts comes from RSD Consulting, a company that has been consulting other operators on how to best approach the regulated digital gaming, sports digital media, and esports markets. He also has experience as the chief executive of FaceOff, a P2P skill sports gaming platform with a heavy social element.
Meanwhile, Aloy is a well-seasoned veteran who has over seven years as vice president of interactive gaming, the division that is now being absorbed by MGE.
Michigan Tribes Want a Federal Investigation on Trump
Three Michigan tribes are pressing the US Department of Interior (DOI) to investigate its actions under the Trump administration, allowing a Muskegon County project to move forward. The dispute is over a vacant piece of land located on Lake Michigan. A few days before President Trump stepped down from power, the DOI allowed Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (LRBOI) to build a $180 million casino resort in Muskegon County.
Leaders of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, and Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe say that the DOI’s decisions under Trump’s administration had political influence.
The tribal leaders, opposing the project, sent a letter to DOI Inspector General Lee Greenblatt. They asked him to investigate, saying that:
“In December, DOI forced Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to make a very difficult decision on a gaming matter that has been historically controversial.”
In their letter, they also argue that DOI’s approval was an attempt to harm Gov. Whitmer since she was a fierce opponent to Trump’s re-election campaign. The tribal leaders want Greenblatt to see if Trump’s administration urged DOI to sign off the project. The three tribal opponents to the Muskegon casino project ask Greenblatt to review whether the Trump administration urged the Interior to sign off on the Little River project. They claim that there was political influence over the decision.
The LRBOI wanted to build a casino resort in Muskegon Country, located on Lake Michigan, for over a decade. It acquired 86.5 acres of land in the area in 2015. Last December, DOI ruled that the land is sovereign Indian territory. Assistant Secretary of the DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeny, ruled that the tribe has an ancestral connection to Muskegon and said that it would be beneficial for the tribe’s community.
The DOI allowed LRBOI to conduct Class I and II gaming there. However, for slots and table games, it had to expand to a Class III compact, which Governor. Whitmer approved. Her office didn’t comment on the matter.
Tribal Gaming Vetoed by Maine Governor Mills
Hopes were high in Maine this week, even though a rumor that Gov. Janet Mills would not budge on a tribal gambling bill continued to swirl. And yes, Gov. Mills dashed all hopes on Wednesday when the governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed Native American tribes to launch casinos on their tribal lands along with other gambling businesses.
The bill, which made it out of the legislature, marked significant progress for legislators who have spent years debating on the issue, with Maine remaining strictly opposed to tribal gambling in the state. Yet, as it often happens, one last hurdle remained insurmountable, with the Governor expressing strong opposition.
“This bill provides no predictability or meaningful limitations on where tribal gaming may occur or on the size of each facility,” Mills said in her formal rebuke of the draft legislation. She elaborated that her decision was motivated by a lack of clarity or any specifics to the size of any tribal gambling operation.
Tribal leaders were naturally quick to act, putting forward a strong letter of disagreement and arguing that the Governor had only paid a “lip service” in relation to how prepared she was to engage on tribal issues.
“Governor Mills missed a great opportunity to catch up with the other states that work with the other 570 federally recognized tribes,” said Passamaquoddy Tribe chief Maggie Dana. Many joined her stance and argued that the tribes were only looking to be able to determine their communities’ futures and provide for themselves.
However, Mills responded that the two commercial casinos operating in the state did not gain favor with voters until a more detailed plan as to where they might appear was presented to state residents.
“Maine’s existing casinos were approved only when it was clearly understood where they would be located, what they would look like, and whether there was strong local support for them to open,” she concluded.
An air of disagreement came from Rep. Benjamin Collings, the bill’s sponsor, who argued that in creating the draft legislation, he and his fellow lawmakers drew examples from similar laws and regulations in states that already regulate their tribal gaming businesses successfully.
Tribes are even more neglected in Maine as voters have refused to support them in a referendum and open dedicated casinos, but they seemed fairly favorable towards the commercial casinos, which were also voted in and approved.