Connecticut | Opinion
Column: Connecticut casinos pass their peak

"I remember the miserable, raw and rainy day in February 1992 when Foxwoods first opened, and, because the parking lots were overflowing, people just abandoned their cars by the side of the road and trudged through the mud.

Casino executives that very day began planning their first expansion and soon ended up moving their own new offices into temporary trailers to clear space in the building as quickly as possible for more gambling.

And so began the build-it-and-they-will come doctrine of Connecticut casino economics, a bullish optimism that, over time, just kept rolling out additions and expansions.

The first big tower at Foxwoods, the Grand Pequot, was conceived even as Connecticut was contemplating permitting a casino in Bridgeport. Foxwoods executives said at the time there would be plenty of room for both.

When Mohegan Sun came along everyone agreed it would just grow the market, and it did. Both casinos just kept posting ever-increasing slot wins, month after month.

When the latest big developments - MGM at Foxwoods and the Project Horizon at Mohegan Sun - were announced a few years ago it looked like they, too, would just keep sopping up more gambling dollars.

But the first warning signs that the expansion game might be up came last year, as slot numbers began falling instead of rising, the first indication in more than 15 years that the market might not be endless."

Get the Story:
David Collins: Have the casinos seen their best days? (The New London Day 9/26)