MASHENTUCKET, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s two resort casinos are trying to convince the public that they are a good entertainment value, even in tough economic times.

The Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun have begun marketing themselves to gamblers on a budget.

They are introducing more penny and nickel slot machines and lower-limit table games. They are also offering more discount packages at their hotels and restaurants.

Mohegan Sun chief executive Mitchell Etess says the strategy is to sell the casino as a destination, and let the public know the resort welcomes those who aren’t in a position to spend lavishly.

“The whole industry has been gravitating toward the lower denominations,” he said of the slots. “We’ve had pennies and nickels. They allow people to play longer. … We put in the $5 blackjack because the tables were available, for one thing, and there was demand for it. We’re going to convert some tables for low-limit craps, too, and eventually we’ll have a full complement of low-limit table games.”

Paul Munick, the Sun’s senior vice president of sports and entertainment, said he’s looking to book more acts at the Mohegan Sun Arena with ticket prices as low as $35.

In a pitch dubbed “Stimulus, Recovery and Rebound,” the Sun last month called attention to its new slot machines, low-limit tables and hotel rooms for as little as $99.

Foxwoods is offering deals that package several amenities for one discounted price. Packages that included dinner for two, admission to the Grand Salon and Spa and an overnight hotel stay ranged in price from $116 to $186.

Joe Jimenez, Foxwoods’ senior vice president of casino marketing, the casino had near-capacity occupancy rates at its hotels in February.

“We’re more cognizant than ever of the need to provide great value for the entertainment dollar,” Jimenez said. “We’re focusing on three things: providing great value, better than in Atlantic City; great customer service; and providing more entertainment, more promotions.”

The Sun also has been careful not to cut corners on service and amenities, said Anthony Patrone, the casino’ senior vice president of marketing.

“We wanted to do our cost containing on things customers don’t see,” he said. “That’s why we didn’t lay off people. You don’t want employees who are anxious about their jobs interacting with customers.”


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