MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — On a recent weekday morning, the parking lots at Foxwoods Resort Casino were crowded with cars registered in Massachusetts. They were parked there by patrons who drove an hour or more to play the games, but in a few years will have Las Vegas-style gambling much closer to home.
Foxwoods is fighting to keep those Bay State customers, or as many as possible. The tribal casino, now 20 years old, is expanding with a new outlet mall, remodeling parts of its existing $3 billion complex, and stepping up its marketing.
“Other properties may be able to offer convenience, but that’s just one box to check,” Scott Butera, Foxwoods president and chief executive, said in an interview in his office.
The coming competition from Massachusetts is also reverberating in Rhode Island, which will permit table games at the Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln to protect $300 million in tax money the state collects annually from casino gambling. In New Hampshire, the exit of Governor John Lynch, a casino skeptic, has revived a push to legalize Las Vegas-style games to beat Massachusetts to market.
Butera figures that Foxwoods, which is 100 miles from Boston, has until late 2016 to ready itself for a new wave of competition from Bay State gambling resorts. Massachusetts is planning to license as many as three casino resorts and one slot parlor, with the intent to intercept Foxwoods’ customers and keep them in-state.
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