Tag Archives: Foxwoods Resort Casino

From the Publisher: Looking Forward to a Fine 2013!

Delaney Gagnon, left, of Ledyard is The Resident contest winner for the sold-out One Direction concert at Mohegan Sun on December 1. “The whole stadium roared with cheers!” she reports on page 8. Here, Delaney is greeted by Alexis Ann and “Santa” Tom Cantone, Vice-President for Sports and Entertainment at Mohegan Sun.

Delaney Gagnon, left, of Ledyard is The Resident contest winner for the sold-out One Direction concert at Mohegan Sun on December 1. “The whole stadium roared with cheers!” she reports on page 8. Here, Delaney is greeted by Alexis Ann and “Santa” Tom Cantone, Vice-President for Sports and Entertainment at Mohegan Sun.

As you take a look through this Year in Review, you’ll see many folks being honored and many businesses that are celebrating milestones and expansions. You’ll also take note of people and institutions that have “given back” to our communities: they enjoy serving us, and we’re proud of their accomplishments. They extend themselves well beyond the products or services they offer.

The Resident itself entered its 23rd year of publication this past October.  We enjoy sharing your good news! We especially take special pride in saluting the achievements of our military!

Certainly the majesty and drama of OpSail and the celebratory glamor of the centennial of Lawrence+Memorial Hospital touched many of us; and our two grand casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, remain generous in their gracious hosting for a myriad of community gatherings, from the fun and fanciful to the august and commemorative. The two Tribes, around since the beginning—indeed, before the beginning–are welcome parts of our lives and our economy. Likewise, other major hospitality centers like the Mystic Marriott, Stonington Meadows, the Norwich Inn, Groton Inn and Suites, Norwich Holiday Inn, and Lake of Isles offer venues for events of regional significance and, yes, a chance to dress your best, flash a bit of your sweetest bling, and step out with others who care about you and our region.

Our regional financial institutions provide foundations for our homes and employment, so it’s a continuing pleasure to see them—and their people—prosper. The outreach of these companies—among them Dime Bank, Charter Oak, CorePlus, Putnam Bank, Citizens Bank, Liberty, Eastern Federal, Chelsea Groton, Scient, People’s, Wells Fargo—keep us on a solid footing even as they express faith in our future. Our service Clubs—Lions, Rotary, and the Chambers of Commerce—link civic pride to business throughout the year.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Alexis Anneditor & publisher

Alexis Ann
editor & publisher

Effective Practice – Full Swing Part I

by Derek Hooper

If you want to get better at this game, there is only one way to accomplish that – practice. I don’t just mean going to a driving range and hitting a large bucket of balls with your driver with no target and no goals for that session. That is exercise not practice. If you want to get better you need to do regular, effective practice.

Effective practice is any practice session where before you begin you clearly define what you will do in that session, how you will do it and you will have a measure to know if you achieved your goal. Only once you start doing this type of practice regularly will you start to see real improvement in your golf game. So how do you devise such a practice session?

Your first step is to assess your current full swing game and decide what aspect of it, if improved, will give you the greatest gains in performance. Taking a golf lesson with your local PGA Professional is the quickest, easiest and most accurate assessment of your swing you can get, and will be time and money well spent. They will break down your swing with you and explain where and why you are getting into trouble, before showing you practice drills to help you improve the areas of weakness. They will also tell you how to assess your ball flight so you will know if you are doing the drill correctly and thus improving.

Armed with these practice drills, you can now design your effective practice session by answering the questions and guidelines below:

1. How much total time to I have for my practice session?

2. Set up an effective practice station on a quiet section of the range, with clubs on the ground for alignment and ball position.

3. There should be at least two practice swings for every ball hit.

4. Golf is a target game, so always practice to a target.

5. Give every shot and practice swing your fullest attention – quality is more important than quantity.

6. Examine your ball flight after every shot and ask yourself if during the swing you achieved the swing change you are trying to make.

7. Based on the last swing and ball flight decide your focus for the next set of practice swing and shot. Be sure to stay focused on the goals and drills for that particular practice session. Do not allow yourself to drift into reactionary practice where all you are doing is making corrections based on the previous shot.

Follow this effective practice outline every time you work on your full swing and coupled with regular feedback from your PGA Professional, your improvement is all but guaranteed.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 14 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States, Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or dhooper@troongolf.com.

Kanye West at MGM

by Taryn Alessandro

In the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods on Thursday night, August 7, Kanye West delivered a sci-fi themed performance complete with endless smoke, off-the-hook special effects and an extravagant light show. Kanye’s Glow in the Dark Tour performance opened with Gnarles Barkley, and ended with a theater full of screaming fans.

There’s no doubt about it, Kanye is a born performer. Accompanied only by surreal lighting and smoke rising around his silhouette, Kanye was able to keep fans out of their seats throughout the performance. “Throw your hands up in the air,” shouted Kanye, during “It All Falls Down.” Everyone did. Fists were pumping all night long.

Other chart topping hits performed by Kanye included “Gold Digger,” “Jesus Walks,” “Hey Mama,” and “Diamonds.”

As if the show wasn’t over-the-top enough, leaving the theater, we were handed samples of Kanye’s newly released book, “Thank You and You’re Welcome”, co-written by J. Sakiya Sandifer. “Thank You and You’re Welcome” is a chock full of advice from Kanye and includes a heartfelt dedication to his mama.

Pandemonia in the Fox Theatre

Cirque Dreams Pandemonia is a dreamscape of nighttime imagery that redefines the boundaries of ingenuity and imagination. Innovative acrobatics, hilarious antics, wildly imaginative costumes and artists that bounce, flip and dance take the stage in this unique performance. Set in a whimsical place of altered objects, characters roll out of drawers, magically appear and suspend mid-air while the passing of time unfolds thrill after thrill. An international cast of acrobats, contortionists and aerialists perform under an ultra violet stage set that ignites them into some of the most amazing feats and performances ever witnessed on stage and in the air.

Chaos, uproar and world class athleticism explode on stage in the Fox Theatre Wednesday to Saturday at 7:00 p.m., now through August 30. Tickets are on sale for $25 and $35 and may be purchased at the Fox Theatre Box Office, online at www.Foxwoods.com or by calling 1.800.200.2882.

Foxwoods & MGM Grand Slot Win Sends $15.9 Million to State

Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods reported to the state Division of Special Revenue a net slot win of $63.6 million, a $6.1 million decrease from June 2007.

The casino’s owners, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, also reported a $15.9 million contribution to the State of CT for June, 2008, increasing to $2.684 billion the amount given to the State since January 1993, when slot machines were introduced at Foxwoods.

“The gaming industry is in the most challenging time in its history. This past month saw an industry-wide downturn in revenues fueled by record breaking gas prices and unstable economic indicators.” said Barry Cregan, interim president, Foxwoods Resort Casino. “The month of June provided a “soft opening” period for the MGM Grand at Foxwoods. Due to the service centric culture that is a signature aspect of the property, we implemented a brand marketing campaign by design and were strategic in our marketing offerings to allow the new employees and property to establish a strong service experience. We are focused on long term strategies that will serve us well over time, in addition to short term initiatives that will respond to the current market trends that appear to be affecting our current customer base.”

The report noted that the hold percentage, the amount kept by the casino, was 8.54 percent, meaning that 91.46 percent of all the money that went into the machines was given back to players. The hold percentage was 8.56 percent in June 2007. The slot handle in June 2008 was reported to be $745 million compared to $815 million in June 2007.

The June slot win report noted that the casino’s win per unit per day was $260.41 compared to $321.49 in June 2007. In addition, 8,147 slot machines were in play during the month at Foxwoods and MGM Grand at Foxwoods, 911 more than the 7,236 available in June, 2007.

Foxwoods supports responsible gaming, and plays a leadership role in the CT Council of Problem Gambling, of which it was a founding entity. For more information, call 1.800.FOXWOODS or visit www.foxwoods.com.

Emeril Kicking It Up a Notch in the Fox Theatre

story & photos
by Alexis Ann

Emeril Lagasse, the famous restaurant chef, cookbook author and businessman created some of his famous Creole cuisine recipes in the Fox Theatre on Sunday, June 8th. Emeril captured the attention of a full house of food enthusiasts with his cooking demonstration, humor and food preparation tips.

A native New Englander, Emeril grew up in Fall River, MA. His mother, Hilda, was in the audience and it was heartwarming experiencing Emeril’s love for Mom. Emeril’s cooking career started at the young age of ten and included working at a Portuguese bakery in town. Emeril turned down a full scholarship of music at the Conservatory to attend cooking school. By following his instincts, he was guided by the best and became fascinated with Louisiana; the people, the food, the culture. It became part of his life.

Emeril began his show by teaching us how to create a Raspberry Mojito cocktail, followed by salad greens with fried oysters topped with a buttermilk dressing. As he prepared his cuisine he chatted about the Emeril Foundation and one of its programs called Café Reconcile, established to get at risk children off the streets and train them in the hospitality business. Another program at St. Michaels Special School teaches children with learning disabilities how to cook for themselves and prepare for job opportunities. “We all have made contributions for the betterment of children.”

Next, came the Corn Soup topped with chilled shrimp followed by Roasted Halibut with chorizo, clams, and a rouille stew with scallops from New Bedford. While preparing the fresh halibut from Maine, he added “If it smells like fish, go for the lamb!”

Dessert was a Lemon Pudding Cake with strawberry coulisse. What one would give to be among his chosen fans on stage enjoying everything prepared?



Restaurant: Foxwoods Resort Casino

Foxwoods Resort Casino offers an impressive array of eateries giving guests a wealth of dining choices to suit every appetite, budget and occasion. The resort has more than 30 food and beverage venues to choose from with more on the way.

Guests in the mood for a celebratory meal will find inspired dining choices at any of Foxwoods gourmet restaurants including Paragon, Al Dente, and Cedars Steakhouse.

Opportunities for a casual meal are as endless as they are memorable, from an ever-popular buffet to regional American and international specialties and plenty of familiar national names.

New to the Foxwoods Resort Casino casual dining scene is the recently opened, 2,700-square-foot Burke in the Box, by celebrated chef David Burke. Burke in the Box offers gourmet food to-go or to eat-in. Located on the casino level, the high-end fast casual restaurant is modeled after the flagship Burke in the Box in Manhattan.

Seinfeld Scores Laughs at MGM Grand

by Tony Schillaci and Don Church

“I have absolutely no idea where the hell I am,” quipped Jerry Seinfeld during his opening monologue on May 30th at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods. “I see plenty of woods, but no foxes… do you see any foxes?”

Beginning with that observation, Jerry riffed on a multitude of everyday subjects, beginning with the idea that “everyone’s life sucks, although mine probably sucks less than yours,” followed by references to his elderly mother’s “custom-made cataract car windshield” to “Florida’s minimum security prisons – otherwise known as gated over-55 communities,” to the fact that “nobody wants to be invited to your wedding.”

The show, scheduled to begin at 9 p. m., was delayed until 9:20 while more than half of the audience sauntered in during those 20 minutes. The 4,000-seat theater seemed almost filled to capacity when the “opening act” was introduced.

The stage contained only a microphone, a chair and a spotlight. By the time the seats were filled, Jerry came running onto the stage to thunderous applause, cheers and whistles. HE is what the fans came to see!

Jerry is a very physical entertainer, and his presence literally filled the stage. He used it successfully as a prop to add punch to his hilarious stories. And his brilliantly quirky observations of the human experience made it seem that a whole cast of characters were onstage with him. We could actually “see” an entire family avoiding answering a ringing telephone, or a bride adding hundreds of yards to her train because she needed to prove it was her day!

At one point, a heckler shouted something from the rear of the theater. Without missing a beat, Jerry shouted back, “What’s that? I can’t hear you, sir. The theater is so inconsiderate! They didn’t provide microphones for EVERYONE! I’m the only one who got a microphone!” The heckler meekly shut up while the audience cheered Jerry on.

During the 90-minute laugh fest, Seinfeld lived up to his reputation as one of America’s best comedic actors, and the loyal Seinfeld audience agreed that life, after all, doesn’t really suck. But it sure is funny – when Jerry’s around.


Where to begin? The casinos take front seat in the theater of economic development. Last weekend, MGM Grand at Foxwoods opened with a lion’s share of decadence. It is luxuriant. It is edgy. It is fun. It is electrifying and friendly. The opening parties were dramatic with lots of celebs taking the walk on the red carpet on Saturday night. “Michael, right here, please,” I said to Michael Douglas and pointed to my lens. Wow…what a photo op! Catch all the excitement on pages 8-11. Congratulations to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and MGM Grand for going over-the-top!

On top of the Mohegan Sun’s Winter Garage on a sunny spring day, some pyrotechnics, an awesome motorcycle, and Dan Aykryod with Tribal and Management officials, celebrated another Project Horizon groundbreaking. The cornerstone of the expansion will be a new 39-story hotel, featuring a unique House of Blues experience including 261 House of Blues-themed hotel rooms and an exclusive, members-only House of Blues Foundation Room. A House of Blues Music Hall, restaurant and retail outlet will be added to this Blues experience. Mitchell Etess, President and CEO, says, “This partnership is a marriage made in heaven!”
Meet Dan and the Blues Brothers on page 5.

Thanks for reading the Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Please remember to patronize our advertisers as they’re helping to make the “good news” happen.



MGM Grand: A Lion’s Share of Decadence

story and photos
by Alexis Ann

It is the lion’s share of decadence. It is luxuriant. It is “edgy.” It is fun. It is electrifying and friendly. It is the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, with dramatic opening parties held on May 16 and 17. The $700 million MGM Grand at Foxwoods, towers adjacent to Foxwoods Resort Casino, North America’s largest resort casino, opened to the public on Saturday at midnight.

The grand opening black-tie festivities were by invitation only and benefited The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). Some of the MPTF supporters in attendance include Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, Quincy Jones, Diddy….and several others.

The celebration kicked-off with an exclusive cocktail reception and dine-around highlighting celebrity chefs Michael Schlow of Alta Strada, Tom Colicchio of Craftsteak and Alan Rosen of Junior’s, to name a few. The excitement continued with an hour long red carpets featuring such famed celebrities as: Jenny McCarthy, CariDee English, Kim Kardashian, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and others. A private David Foster production with world-renowned entertainers Josh Groban, John Mayer, and surprise Grammy Award-winning artist, Alicia Keys. inaugurated the Grand MGM Theater.

Following the concert, Sean “Diddy” Combs hosted the ultra-exclusive late night “Diddy’s Den” and DJ AM spun at the opening of Shrine, an Asian-inspired kitchen, lounge and nightclub prior to a Sunday VIP brunch with the legendary Quincy Jones.

At midnight on Saturday, May 17, a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the resort casino to the public.

Connected to Foxwoods Resort Casino by a covered moving walkway, MGM Grand adds an additional two million square feet to the existing property. Guests will delight in the hotel’s 825 luxurious guest rooms and suites, featuring top-notch technology in a comfortable and modern atmosphere. For further relaxation and enjoyment, the new resort casino will offer the 21,000-square-foot G-Spa by Boston-based entrepreneur, Gretchen Monahan; the 4,000-seat MGM Grand Theater, featuring the world’s hottest performances, including Gloria Estefan’s premier three-day engagement over Memorial Day weekend; and a variety of gaming options, including 1,400 slot machines and 53 table games offering everything from Blackjack and Roulette to Craps, Spanish 21 and 3-Card Poker. The property also provides guests with fresh outlets for

retail therapy, with shops including Bally, Dunhill, Grand Effects (an MGM Grand logo store) and MacAppeal (an authorized reseller of all things Apple).

MGM Grand at Foxwoods will not only raise the standard of luxury hospitality in New England, but will provide a major boost to the region’s economy, creating more than 2,000 employment opportunities for residents of the surrounding community.

“We are thrilled to introduce a new level of luxury and sophistication to visitors and residents of CT alike with the opening of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods,” said Gillian Murphy, Senior Vice President and General

Manager, MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

“The services and amenities are on par with MGM standards and the dining, gaming and nightlife scenes will catapult the property to incredible new heights in the worlds of hospitality and entertainment.”

For more pictures visit: MGM Grand: Photos 1 or MGM Grand: Photos 2

MGM Grand Brings Extraordinary Customer Service

by Jessica Warzeniak

On my drive from the Resident office on Route 1 in Stonington, I couldn’t help wonder about the excitement of Vegas coming to the woods of Mashantucket. As a child, I remember driving with my family down the narrow Route 2 to the Rhode Island beaches. Now, I was about to get a glimpse of Vegas in these same woods. There it is rising above the trees. What a spectacular sight!

Pulling into the drive, I couldn’t even see the top of the building through my windshield because it is so tall. I thought, now this is why they call it GRAND!

Being that it was my first time at MGM Grand at Foxwoods, I accidentally self-parked in the valet parking lot. (Oops) I walked into the building, luckily right where I needed to be and was greeted with a friendly “hello” from the coat check and valet desk attendants. After signing in at the media desk, I found my way to the back of the casino floor, in front of the Grand Theater, where the press conference was scheduled to begin at 2:30, this Friday afternoon, May 16.

I was meeting my boss lady, Alexis Ann, editor & publisher, the Resident. She wasn’t in sight yet but I knew she was wherever the action was as the photographer for this event. Governor Rell was due to arrive so I’m sure she was with her clicking away!

Soon, 1,700 handpicked MGM team members filtered into the area surrounding the seats setup for the press conference. The air was charged with anticipation. All 1,400 slot machines, waiting it be used for the first time, enticed enticing tunes and glittered with flashing lights. Press poured in, just as excited as I was to get a first glimpse of the new casino.

Voices traveled into the area from behind us, and everyone turned around to see who was coming. The Governor was here! Surrounded by Tribal and hotel officials, Governor Rell looked around, awestruck, at the sheer elegance that MGM Grand revealed. All stood up and clapped for the Governer’s arrival.
Alexis greeted me and then took her position closer to the front for optimal photo ops.

Patricia Irvin, CEO, MPTN, approached the podium and greeted guests, “It is truly an exciting day. I am thrilled to be here.” After Pat introduced the Tribal, MGM Grand, Foxwoods, and State officials, Anthony Sebastian, Tribal Elder, offered the blessing.

Chairman Michael Thomas, MPTN, introduced Governor M. Jodi Rell, “It is a great honor to introduce our very special guest speaker. She has dedicated more than 20 years of public service life. She is responsible for the creation of the State Ethics Commission and saving the Groton – New London Subase.”

“Governor Rell is the first woman Republican governor in the history of our nation,” continued the Chairman. The crowd cheers. “She is a supporter of Tribal sovereignty.” The cheers are even louder.
Gov. Rell humbly takes the stage, greeting her fans. She introduces her husband, Lou, “He wanted to be in the background today.” To which everyone laughs as he waves on stage.

“As I took my tour today, five words came to mind… ‘the wonder of it all!’” said the Governor. “Foxwoods has gotten a whole lot bigger and a whole lot better!” It was apparent that the Governor was amazed at the long list of amenities MGM Grand has to offer, “New dining facilities, new retail stores, and of course the luxurious spa facilities, this is going to be a woman’s getaway, and I can’t wait to help promote that. Just think of all the shopping we can do!”

Speaking about Vice Chairman Kenneth Reels, Gov. Rell says, “you can see the pride in his face, in his voice, as he pointed out all the people who work here.”

Turning to the new cameras Gov. Rell informs, “When you get here, your jaws are going to drop!”
Tribal dignitaries presented the Governor with a stuffed lion, the MGM Grand mascot, holding lilies and a framed picture of the MGM Grand.

Laura Cahill, Deputy State Director and Counsel for Senator Joseph Lieberman, expresses the Senator’s regrets, telling the audience that, “duties in DC require him to be there.”

Laura reads a letter from the Senator, “I would like to send my formal congratulations….”

“Foxwoods, through the opening of MGM Grand, is adding to its already dominate roll in employment. They improve the quality of the lives of our communities….”

“I am pleased to join in recognizing them.”

Rodney Butler, Tribal Council Treasurer, takes the podium, “It is a distinguished honor and pleasure to introduce the most charismatic and dynamic leader, president and CEO of the MGM Mirage Hospitality Group, Gamal Aziz.”

Looking to the left and right at the MGM team members lining the room, “I just want to say, this is the best looking staff in my 27 years!” said Gamal, Las Vegas. Which, of course, brought on lots and lots of cheers. “It is the people at MGM Grand at Foxwoods that breath life into it, continues Gamal. “The success we’ve had at MGM Detroit, Las Vegas, Macau, and those coming to Abu Dhabi and Atlantic City, represents the common values of our internationally recognized brand.”

As the next speaker walks to the podium, the staff goes wild and the “roar” is almost deafening. Gillian Murphy, Senior Vice President and General Manager, MGM Grand at Foxwoods, is obviously well liked.
“I am in awe of the 28,000 people in the area of CT and as far as Las Vegas and Atlantic City who said that ‘This might be a place I want to come and work,’” says Gillian. “We’re committed to delivering the most extraordinary customer service experience and the most wonderful amenities, so please bring those customers. Oh, and let’s make some money!”

Gillian went on to thank the mayors and first selectmen of the surrounding towns, “Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we have in the 16 years we’ve been here.”

Chairman Michael Thomas once again took the stage, thanking all of the employees, the Executive Oversight Team, and the Building Trade Unions for “an outstanding job.” He thanked Rodney Butler for being the project leader. Michael explained, “It is the first time in our history that an individual of the Tribal council has been elected in charge of a project.”

“When you have built the world’s largest and most successful brand, it is quite a leap to invite anybody else’s brand to your sovereign territory,” informed Michael.

“So my final thank you goes to this Tribal community for having the foresight to understand that the combination of the best people in gaming in the East and the best people in gaming in the West can truly do remarkable things.”

At the conclusion of the speeches, the Tribal councilors lead the Governor on a special behind the scenes tour, starting with the theater. The new 4,000 seat theater decorated in reds and natural wood is beyond words.

Mayor Ben Lathrop, Norwich, leans over to me and says, “Magnificent! Just look at it!” He is as obviously lost for words as I am. One thing is for sure, every seat in the house will be a great seat.