Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, located inside the historic Fairmont Hotel in Puerto Rico, welcomed its first players this week.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced in January its plans to expand its Foxwoods brand outside its native state. The tribe are the owners and operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino on its home reservation in Connecticut,
The tribe spent approximately $12.5 million to resurrect the famed El San Juan resort’s casino space, which is located in the property’s main lobby area. The Puerto Rican investment is the tribe’s first gaming venture outside Connecticut.
Today is a landmark milestone for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as we expand the Foxwoods Resort Casino brand — for the first time ever — to the Caribbean,” said Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler.
Butler added that the casino is expected to generate an annual economic impact of $22 million for the island.
The Foxwoods El San Juan Casino is a partnership between the Mashantuckets and LionGrove, the latter being a hospitality firm that is invested in Miami and Puerto Rico, and is the co-owner of the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel.
Foxwoods tells Casino.org that its Puerto Rico casino will implement the same rewards program as its Connecticut resort. Foxwoods Rewards members will have the same status in El San Juan that they do in Mashantucket, Ct.
If a Gold guest from Foxwoods goes down to Foxwoods El San Juan, they will also have a Gold Foxwoods El San Juan card with all the Gold benefits in San Juan and vice versa,” the company told Casino.org.
With the winter months setting in and temperatures dropping across the Northeast, Foxwoods is hoping its Puerto Rico casino will find favor among its New England patrons. With pent-up demand for travel and leisure escapes still strong because of the pandemic, Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, tribal officials say, is a most ideal destination.
No passport is required for US travelers venturing to Puerto Rico. And direct flights from Hartford to San Juan are only four hours.
Upon arrival, Foxwoods Rewards members will find similar games and perks that they enjoyed back in Connecticut, albeit on a much smaller scale. While Foxwoods in Connecticut boasts 3,500 slot machines, 250 table games, and an on-site sportsbook, Foxwoods El San Juan offers 300 slots and a dozen table games.
Sports betting was legalized in Puerto Rico in 2019 but still hasn’t commenced. Casinos on the island hope to take their first bets early next year, once they are issued their sportsbook licenses by the Gaming Division of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
Keeping Up with the Mohegans
Of the two federally recognized tribes in Connecticut, the Mashantuckets are far behind its neighboring Mohegan Tribe when it comes to gaming outside Connecticut.
The Mohegans, through the tribe’s commercial gaming unit Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), operate casinos in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Louisiana, Las Vegas, and Canada.
MGE is additionally building a $1.6 billion integrated resort in Incheon, South Korea. Dubbed Inspire, it’s set to open in 2023.