HARTFORD - Mohegan Sun will expand non-gambling amenities at its flagship property in Connecticut as the company takes on new partnerships around the world amid growing competition in New England, the new chief executive officer said Monday.
Mario Kontomerkos was announced Tuesday as the CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the company owned by the Mohegan Tribe in Uncasville, Connecticut. He said a new expo center and convention space are expected to open at the casino next summer.
Kontomerkos has been the company's chief financial officer since 2011.
In an interview, Kontomerkos said the company's expansion from two properties to seven over the last half decade has been key to its emergence from a financial predicament following the Great Recession.
In addition to its own casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the company manages and is part owner of an Atlantic City casino, manages a casino in Washington state and is a consultant on a tribal facility in Louisiana. It is also developing a project in South Korea and is planning to build a new Connecticut casino with the tribe behind the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
“Being a partner is something that we've gotten pretty good at,” Kontomerkos said. “To the extent that more of those come along down the road I think we'd definitely be open to it.”
The company kicked off a search for a new CEO following the resignation in February of Bobby Soper, who said he was leaving to take on a new challenge. He stepped down amid an investigation of a money laundering scheme at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, but Soper and the company said he was not implicated in the theft.
Kontomerkos worked previously in financial and research roles with companies including Penn National Gaming, Lehman Brothers and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He said the company's expansion geographically was planned a long time ago in response at least partially to the competition expected from new casinos across the state line in Massachusetts. The mammoth Mohegan Sun casino in southeastern Connecticut also added a 400-room hotel last November.
“Continued expansion of non-gaming facilities definitely in our future,” he said.