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.”

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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