This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.

  December 4, 2000

Economic Study Details Pequots' Impact on State

A new study by the UConn's Center for Economic Analysis unveiled Tuesday by Gov. John G. Rowland and UConn officials credits the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation with creating 41,000 jobs and adding $1.2 billion to Connecticut's economy. The study also found that state personal income and new tourism dollars increased because of the Tribal Nation's business enterprises.

"The economic impact of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation statewide has been enormous," said Gov. Rowland. "The diverse business operations and investments it has made in the state have benefited thousands of residents, generated new revenue and attracted thousands of new visitors to our state."

The Tribal Nation's business enterprises include Foxwoods Resort Casino, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Pequot Pharmaceutical Nation, Fox Navigation, off-reservation hotels including Hilton Mystic, and a golf course.

Prior to the Tribal Nation's opening of Foxwoods Resort Casino in 1992, a diminishing defense industry and downsizing of general manufacturing had resulted in the loss of 10,000 jobs in southeastern Connecticut. The state Department of Labor reported in 1997 that this number could have reached 32,000 by 1998, if the economic downturn had continued.

Looking at the Connecticut economy through a computer-based model, the UConn Center for Economic Analysis studied the Tribal Nation's business activities: its employment, its procurement, its hotels, its pharmacy network, and its cultural institutions. Regional Economic Models Inc., an Amherst, Mass.-based firm with expertise in regional modeling and a leading supplier and developer of such models, developed the computer model, which is a sophisticated 53-sector replication of the state's economic structure and can project economic impacts out to the year 2035.

"We used the REMI model to determine the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts of the Tribal Nation's operations on the economies of New London County and the state of Connecticut," said Fred Carstensen, professor and director of the Center for Economic Analysis. "The Tribal Nation's efforts created thousands of jobs in southeastern Connecticut at a time when the region was on the verge of economic crisis and has positively impacted the economy statewide."

After launching several ventures aimed toward economic development in the 1970s and 1980s, the Tribal Nation turned to gaming as a revenue producer in 1986 and opened a successful high-stakes bingo hall. The creation of Foxwoods Resort Casino followed shortly thereafter.

Foxwoods Resort Casino alone hosts an average of nearly 41,000 people per day. Seventy-three percent of these customers live out-of-state, thus their spending is net new revenue to the southeastern Connecticut region and the state. In addition, consumer surveys show that other regional tourist attractions benefit from Foxwoods patrons, including Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport.

In addition to its business operations, the Tribal Nation has started a successful welfare-to-work program called Work ETC (Education, Transportation and Childcare), that has hired 150 former welfare recipients.

The study also found that the Tribal Nation's operations have:

  • Raised Connecticut's gross state product by an average of $1.2 billion annually - a yearly average increase of 8.5 percent for New London's gross regional product and one percent for Connecticut's gross state product.

  • Directly added 13,000 jobs to New London County and led to the increase - direct and indirect - of statewide employment by an average of 41,000 jobs per year.

  • Sustained positive residential property values in Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston relative to the Hartford Labor Market Area during a time when substantial employment cutbacks occurred in New London County.

  • Stimulated the expansion of the lodging and restaurant businesses in the New London region through the attraction of Foxwoods Resort Casino visitors.

  • Provided millions of dollars in property tax money to the towns of Norwich, Preston, North Stonington and Ledyard.

  • Contributed more than $1 billion (as of January 2000) in revenues from slot machine operations to the state. These revenues are distributed to Connecticut's 169 municipalities.

  • Developed a high-speed ferry service that connects New London with Glen Cove, New York and Martha's Vineyard and intersects with the nation's first high-speed train, Acela, in New London.

  • Built a $193 million Native American Museum, a leading cultural attraction in the New London region. In addition, the Tribe sponsors an annual tribal pow-wow, Schemitzun, which also brings cultural tourists to the area. Cultural tourists visit the area for longer and spend more money than other tourists.

  • Increased traffic volume (incremental cost: $53,354) on Route 2 between Route 12 and Route 281 at the exit from I-95.

  • Contributed to a minimal increase in "out of casino" crime. Crime rates declined in the New London Labor Market Area by 10.8 percent from 1990 to 1998. Crime in Ledyard and North Stonington per thousand people has increased 70 percent and 14 percent respectively; Preston's crime rate declined by 31 percent from 1990 to 1998.