When talking about Pennsylvania land-based casinos, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will forever be the answer to the trivia question.
The question is: What was the name of Pennsylvania’s first slots casino. The official opening took place in November 2006.
The property remains open today, but goes by the simplified name of Mohegan Pennsylvania. The change is fairly recent thanks to a corporate rebranding by the Mohegan tribe. Judging by the fact the property recently celebrated its Sweet 16, it’s safe to say Mohegan PA is not going anywhere.
Here is a closer look behind the Mohegan Pennsylvania rebranding, what’s new and how the property is faring in the highly competitive PA gambling market.
The ‘Sun’ vanishes from the Mohegan name
Those familiar with the Mohegan tribe are well aware the much larger flagship property is located in Connecticut. As far as shortening the name goes, Ray Pineault, CEO of Mohegan, attributes it to “refreshing our corporate name.”
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is now simply Mohegan.
“Many of our partners, stakeholders and valued guests commonly refer to our brand as ‘Mohegan,’ so the new title is a strategic decision that truly encapsulates our capabilities and values. To also create synergy across the Mohegan portfolio, especially as we continue to grow in-line with the Mohegan Tribe’s vision, destinations like Mohegan Pennsylvania have also rolled out a rebrand,” Pineault said.
Mohegan Pennsylvania gets $10 million renovation
Of course the name game isn’t the only news coming out of Mohegan PA. There also is Project Starlight, which includes a $10 million renovation to Mohegan Pennsylvania’s 237-room hotel. The project should be completed by early February.
Additionally, there is the new Hive Taphouse, a bar and live music venue featuring flat screens to watch all the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers action. The space also is home to Topgolf Swing Suites where guests can play virtual golf on well-known PGA courses. Over the summer, Embers Terrace with fire pits and lawn games opened.
Mohegan is definitely thinking about the future:
“There is so much to be excited about as we approach the new year and that excitement stems from our dedicated team and leadership,” said Anthony Carlucci, President & GM of Mohegan Pennsylvania. “With a new name, revamped hotel, new attractions and the continued unrivaled guest service that has exemplified our brand and all Mohegan properties, we’re thrilled about the next phase of Mohegan Pennsylvania.”
Looking at Pennsylvania revenue picture
Obviously, the Pennsylvania land-based casino market looks just a tad different from when the former Pocono Downs starting offering slots. Think about it, the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets didn’t have land-based casinos. Rivers Casino Philadelphia (previously SugarHouse) opened in September 2010 while sister property Rivers Pittsburgh debuted one year earlier.
Located in Wilkes-Barre, the Mohegan casino property misses out on having that prime location like some of the competition. Rivers Pittsburgh, for example, has PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) and Acrisure Stadium (the Pittsburgh Steelers’ home) nearby to attract big game day crowds.
Looking at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board‘s October results, Mohegan produced $19.8 million in total revenue, $15 million of which came from slot play (good enough for fourth overall). However, the overall total trails the market leaders by a significant margin. Here’s a look at October’s top four:
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National, $68.7 million
- Valley Forge Casino Resort, $56.5 million
- Parx Casino in Bensalem, $55 million
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia, $49 million
The upside is Mohegan PA currently offers something three of the properties listed above do not – a hotel and spa. The dining and entertainment offerings add to the overnight destination appeal for those looking to spend more than a few hours gambling.
Mohegan casino play earns gamblers ‘momentum’ nationwide
When talking about Mohegan, joining the Momentum Rewards Program does have its perks. The biggest being that any Momentum Dollars earned in PA can be used at four other properties nationwide:
- Mohegan Sun in Connecticut
- Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City
- Ilani in Washington State
- Mohegan at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas
This includes for dining, shopping, hotel stays, golf and more. Momentum Rewards has five tiers, with each tier having increased perks:
Mohegan Online Casino is a Jersey thing, for now
When Mohegan opened its Pennsylvania doors way back in 2006, PA online casinos and sports betting were not yet legal. Fast-forward to today, not only are both legal but they are generating significant Pennsylvania tax revenue.
Actually, just last month, Pennsylvania became the first state to cross $1 billion in lifetime online casino tax revenue. Now from a Mohegan perspective, the license holder is a small player in the big pond as Unibet Casino (and sportsbook) is the lone skin operating under its license.
Here’s the great mystery: Why hasn’t the Mohegan Sun online casino app launched yet? It’s not even one of the PA gambling brands circulating in the PA online gaming rumor mill.
The irony is the app is live in NJ, operating under the Resorts AC license. This isn’t a scenario where the company is testing things out in New Jersey before expanding into other markets as it has been around since 2015.
This doesn’t mean it will never come to PA, but it’s not looking likely at this point.
Mohegan Pennsylvania Photo