Q&A: Mohegan Sun Rising in the Online Marketplace
Last month Mohegan Sun was voted the No. 1 casino in the U.S. by readers of USA Today. The Connecticut-based brand, operated by the Mohegan Tribe, topped the heap among readers in the publication’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, and edged out the Pechanga Resort and Casino of Temecula, California, which fell to third place.
But players don’t have to travel to follow the Sun. In 2015, the tribal gaming powerhouse joined the virtual marketplace, with a Play4Fun online casino (for players everywhere), and the play-for-real version (operating on the Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City gaming license and reserved for players within New Jersey borders).
New Jersey’s online casino industry, which struggled out of the gate in late 2013, is now generating about $20 million per month and has just gotten a little more crowded with the debut of playMGM and ScoresCasino.com.
We talked about Mohegan Sun’s offering with Aviram Alroy, vice president of interactive gaming.
sportsquare.com: Talk about the perks Mohegan Sun’s online casino offers new and loyal players, from sign-up bonuses on up. What’s the interplay between online rewards and your land-based offerings in Connecticut, AC and Pennsylvania?
Alroy: We recently introduced a new loyalty program in our New Jersey online real-money offering, which is working well, as we have strong affiliation with high-end players.
When we started in Atlantic City, I believe we were the first ones to introduce a 100 percent bonus of up to $1,000, and I think it’s still one of the strongest offers in AC.
In Connecticut and Pennsylvania, our offering is limited to fun-play only due to lack of state real-money regulation. But we still make sure to keep our players engaged with multiple free credits and discount offerings almost every week. We try to do more and more free-to-enter sweepstakes with prizes such as stays at our hotels and other resorts in the U.S., tickets to our most popular events, dinner for two and much more.
What are the most popular games and titles in each of the casinos, both play-for-fun and real money games? Is there overlap?
Alroy: There is overlap, but since they’re on different platforms we can’t offer exactly the same games in different regions. As you can imagine, the most popular games are the branded ones such as Monopoly, Titanic and Wheel of Fortune.
There are other popular TV brands represented too, like Jeopardy! Are those titles mostly favored by traditional slots players?
Alroy: Our time-honored TV brand games are some of our more popular games, both online and at our resorts.
Speaking of who’s playing what, do you track who’s online in terms of their age, gender, etc.? And what demographic makes up most of the player pool at this point?
Alroy: We track and we do surveys with our players. Online, it’s very similar to the demographics you see on the casino floor, only it skews a little younger.
Where do you think we stand as a nation in terms of legal online gaming? Would you hazard a guess about which state or states will be next to approve virtual real-money games?
Alroy: I think a few years back, everyone thought New Jersey was going to create a domino effect where other states would follow. At the moment it doesn’t seem to be happening—or if you look at Pennsylvania, it’s happening, but in slow motion. There’s also noise coming from Michigan and Massachusetts.
Tell us about some of your big winners.
Alroy: At our flagship property this year, Ronald Miceli of Farmington, Connecticut, won $347,456.Denise Poirier of Ansonia, Connecticut, won $1.3 million.Alison Anzalone from New Hampshire won $1 million.And, Yuen Ying Lee from Orange, Connecticut, won $614,752.
The stuff that dreams are made of! One report says your brand is better known among some New Jerseyans even than Borgata—probably because people in northern Jersey may be closer to your flagship property than to the shore resort. Is that true today?
Alroy: Our surveys and market research show over and over again that our brand and casino resonates very positively in the entire Northeast, so I do think it’s still true today. However, in the next couple of years, we’re going to have much more competition in the region. So while it’s nice to see positive surveys and being voted No. 1 casino in USA Today, we won’t rest on our laurels. We need to make sure that our offerings—whether it’s online or at our resorts—are unique and satisfying to both new and loyal customers.
And finally, what do people associate with the Mohegan Sun brand that brings them into the fold?
Alroy: We strive to deliver the absolute best offerings and guest service we possibly can. Our core values represent our commitment to delivering outstanding guest service and to achieving our personal best while meeting the business goals of the company.
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