Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has propelled itself from the depths of poverty to its lofty position as the wealthiest Native American tribe in the US. With roughly 900 members and a seven-member government council, the tribe owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. Foxwoods comprises six casinos, with a total of more than 6,200 slot machines and 380 gaming tables, plus four hotels (including the MGM Grand at Foxwoods) and the world's largest Bingo hall. Through its Foxwoods Development Company, the tribe develops and manages various hospitality-related enterprises, from a luxury spa hotel and golf courses to a museum and research center dedicated to the tribe's life and history.
The Mashantucket Pequot reservation is one of the oldest Native American reservations in North America. Since the tribe is otherwise known as "The Fox People," its tribal symbol has the fox at its center - thus the Foxwoods name. That name is also at the heart of their business, with the tribe focused on pursuing development opportunities across various sectors: commercial and tribal gaming, condominiums, hotels, resorts, and golf facilities.
The tribe has been busy making licensing agreements to capitalize on the Foxwoods name. In 2010, Foxwoods reached a three-year agreement with entertainment company Live Nation to change the name of Broadway's Hilton Theatre to the Foxwoods Theatre. The venue is home to the "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" musical. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation also has a sponsorship agreement with Madison Square Garden. That deal gives Foxwoods advertising rights during professional sports games played at the Garden, where the Foxwoods logo appears on TV screens and in the arena at the end of New York Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils games.
The tribe is attempting to expand in Philadelphia, but has hit a roadblock in these efforts. The Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia development includes plans for a $600 million waterfront casino located along the Delaware River across from New Jersey. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation will hold a minority stake, with third party companies and outside investors owning the remainder. However, after repeated delays and difficulty in obtaining financing, in 2011 the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board revoked the license to build it. Foxwoods appealed the board's decision, and the case is likely to be tied up in the courts for the time being. – less