Mohegan CEO: 'We Had To Adjust Our Labor Force To Meet The Reality Of The Economy'

Mohegan Sun lays off 300, CEO Mitchell Etess said, because of 'a tough economy and tough times.'


Mohegan Sun laid off 300 people this week as it continues to struggle in what its top executive called “a tough economy and tough times.”

Mitchell Etess, the chief executive officer for the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said on the Lee Elci radio show Friday morning that the casino did everything it could to reduce expenses before resorting to layoffs that began Thursday night. About 300 employees from across the company are losing their jobs. CEO Jeffrey Hartmann, who has been with the casino for more than a decade, is also being replaced.

Etess said each laid off worker will receive 2 weeks severance for every year of service and health insurance will be maintained for the duration of their severance package. He said the casino did not want to reduce jobs – the second time it has done so in two years – but “we need to protect the jobs of the 6,400 who are still here.”

Etess said affected employees began being notified Thursday night around 6 p.m., and will continue to be notified as they report for their shifts. He said because of the casino’s round-the-clock scheduling, it can take up to two days to notify everyone involved.

“If you have been to work and gone home again and no one has spoken to you (about a layoff) then you are OK,” he said.

Etess said that the casino’s revenues have been declining for five straight years, and in fact the last six months have been worse than the six months before that. He said less discretionary spending for patrons, increased competition from new casinos in the great Northeast, and changes in gaming technology – like electronic table games – all contribute to the casino’s financial woes.

“Since last time (there were layoffs) things have continued to deteriorate,” he said. “The reality is the electronic table games have been wildly accepted – but it’s not just that. We are seeing decreases in Connecticut– Connecticut makes up 54 percent of our market – and we are down 8 percent. That’s the economy in Connecticut. Gaming is something people use discretionary money for , and people have less money, so they either come less or when they come they spend less. We had to adjust our labor force to meet the reality of the economy.”

Etess said Bobby Soper, who started at Mohegan Sun and then went to Pennsylvania to run the tribe’s Pocono Downs casino, will come back to Uncasville as Mohegan Sun CEO. He will work with COO Ray Pineault, Etess said: “Together they are a great team and they will take us into the future.”

Kevin Scanlon September 28, 2012 at 04:17 PM
This is an unfortunate blow the the region's employment and those affected. The sluggish economy is one thing but the comment"...and changes in gaming technology – like electronic table games – all contribute to the casino’s financial woes" is yet another example of how technology is eating our jobs. I just watched this Ted talk on the very subject: http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mcafee_are_droids_taking_our_jobs.html What will we do in a future where there just aren't enough jobs to go around?
Maugle Sierra Vineyards & Winery September 28, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Obama's economy, as insightfully pointed out by Jay Leno, Thursday night: "A new survey out today shows how much time we waste every day in our lives. For example, we waste seven minutes in line every time we go to get coffee, 28 minutes getting through airport security, four years waiting for Obama to do something about the economy. Every year, we waste a lot. We wasted a lot of time." Yes we did. It's about time media members began telling the nation that. Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/09/28/leno-we-wasted-four-years-waiting-obama-do-something-about-economy#ixzz27mXDKzQR Time for you and me to vote to Fire Obama this November!
LiveForFreedom September 28, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I agree with Mitchell Etess ... “a tough economy and tough times.”. Empty casinos. Mohegan Sun layoffs. Pfizer layoffs. High taxes. It is ALL ABOUT THE ECONOMY. If the economy was like it was in 2007, the Mohegan Sun would be full of patrons and they would be HIRING, not laying off. I don't care who you blame for this bad economy.... The decision you need to make is who is the best leader to return the economy back to the way is was five years ago.
Darcy September 28, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I think it's rash to blame Obama for the aftershocks of a downward economic spiral that clearly began during the Bush era. That being said, are people being laid off so that others (in higher positions) don't have to take a pay decrease?
Think Positive September 28, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Glad to see someone's got their eye on the ball. Kevin Scanlon is right on. Technology is at the heart of job losses in this global economny. And "News Flash", the vast majority of the job loses over the past decade are NOT coming back. Just look it up on one of the "Apps" on your iphone !!!! You'll see. Technology, a double edged sword. Folks, the genie is out of the bottle. For better or worse.
Jonathan September 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The truth is that upper management at Mohegan has been lazy and unimaginative. For years they have watched increased competition shrink their market share and have done very little to stop the erosion. When smart businesses with tons of revenue like them expand, they stood pat and let new casinos and slot parlors eat their lunch. Now they look like they are decaying and rotting on the vine. If the gambling economy is so bad how come a slot parlor in Yonkers has gone from zero to surpassing Mohegan's revenue in just a couple of years. Is it perhaps because Mohegan has not given New Yorkers any reason to travel to Connecticut instead of staying closer to home? Perhaps Mohegan should put some sort of effort into making their casino different and new compared to Yonkers? They completely mismanaged that expansion that is now just a big hole in the ground next to the Winter Garage and they have a huge tract of land a stones throw across the river in the Norwich Hospital that could do a great deal with. Labor is cheap and interest rates are rock bottom and they keep their heads in the sand. As long as Mitchell Etess stays and keeps making excuses, they will stay right where they are. they could also use his salary to hire back all these people they are laying off, after all they had nothing to do with any of this but are getting shafted because management is at best incompetent.
augie42 September 28, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Darcy, I agree that the President inherited a bad economy. Putting all that aside, the problem I have is that he had 2 years of majority and filibuster-proof control and what did we get? A stimulus that crippled us in debt and lowered our credit rating, Obamacare which will hurt seniors and cause more tax increases in 2013, auto industry bail-out to help the union (we will not see most of that $$ back) Dodd-Frank banking regulations, Green energy hand-out failures, Veto of the XL pipeline, Simpson-Bowles debt commission (lack of action), phony jobs and tax plans, NO BUDGET IN 3 YEARS, I could go on and on.....To you it might be the 'Rich' guy vs. the 'Regular' guy, but to me its about the ECONOMY. Raising taxes is proven to lower revenues, lowering taxes raises revenues because a significant number of people will be paying into the gov't. Obama has proven he will raise taxes....especially on the so-called 'rich', however even if you take 100% of the top 3% of wage earners money you still will not raise near enough revenues. So what do you want to be like? Greece and the failing Eurozone, or the exceptional America that will grow and fix itself.
Think Positive September 28, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Is it perhaps because Mohegan has not given New Yorkers any reason to travel to Connecticut instead of staying closer to home? Or perhaps its the $4 per gallon gasoline. Why travel to CT?
Think Positive September 28, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Nonsense. Yeah, like Romney has a "magic wand". Oh, please.
deborah graffeo September 28, 2012 at 08:34 PM
If you think technology is taking jobs, it's also going to take away the social security benefits many are depending on for retirement. If no one is contributing, then there won't be any money to retire on. If you don't have an alternative to retirment, plan on working yourself to death....LITERALLY!
Don Charles September 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Maybe Romney does not have a magic wand but he has the experience. The incompetent president in there now never held a real job and all he does is talk a good job. Poor president and a great Rock Star.
Don Charles September 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Darcy time to stop blaming the past. Your man has had four years and has done nothing. Two of those years he had full control and still did nothing. You want more of this, I don't.


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