Mohegan: “Along with cashless and digital gaming, AI will be another area that will garner a lot of attention over the next year”

Gaming and hospitality firm Mohegan went through several major developments in 2023, among them the first step towards Asian expansion by soft-launching its INSPIRE resort in South Korea in November. However, the company is also working towards growth opportunities elsewhere, including the digital gaming segment, where Mohegan is seeking to secure a premier position by leveraging the latest technological advancements.

In a special interview with Yogonet, Ray Pineault, President and CEO of Mohegan, highlights the company’s strategic investments in 2023, discusses the adoption of emerging trends and AI’s significance in the gaming industry, and reveals some of the company’s plans for 2024. 
2023 was a period of tremendous growth for the gaming industry in the US. What is your assessment of the year, and what were the main highlights for Mohegan over the past 12 months? Do you think the industry’s momentum will continue in 2024?

2023 was remarkable for the US gaming industry, witnessing substantial growth and innovation, a trend mirrored by Mohegan’s developments. A key highlight for Mohegan was the soft opening of the Mohegan INSPIRE resort in South Korea on November 30th, marking a pivotal moment of our expansion into the Asian market. This significant step included unveiling multiple facilities like a hotel arena, MICE facilities, and signature restaurants.

The momentum in the gaming industry is being fueled by technological advancements, along with consumers’ growing appetite for both traditional and digital gaming experiences, and it is expected to continue in 2024.

As you mentioned, the year marked Mohegan’s expansion into South Korea through the soft launch of its INSPIRE resort, its first property in the Asian market. What is the significance of a launch of this scale for the company, and what should we expect from it in 2024?

The soft launch of Mohegan INSPIRE signifies a significant milestone for Mohegan as it ventures into the Asian gaming and entertainment market for the first time. This inaugural phase featured attractions like hotel towers, Korea’s first multi-purpose arena, and a digital entertainment street.

The resort’s full opening, planned in phases through the first half of 2024, is anticipated to position INSPIRE as a leading entertainment destination in Asia, offering exceptional and diverse experiences to a global audience.

In addition to its land-based operations, Mohegan also continues to grow its digital segment footprint. What were the main takeaways for Mohegan in this sector this year, and how does the company plan to continue this momentum?

We are very encouraged by the performance of our digital gaming business and by the guest adoption. We anticipate that this business will continue to experience growth as it is still in its infancy.

In addition to continuing to grow the business in the current jurisdictions where we operate, we will also opportunistically explore other jurisdictions for our digital product and expansion of the Mohegan brand. Mohegan’s interest in expanding its digital offerings alongside traditional operations aligns with the broader industry trend of integrating digital technologies into gaming experiences.
Which trends, verticals, and technologies, such as cashless gaming and the steady expansion of digital, do you expect to dominate the conversation next year, and how is Mohegan prepared to leverage these?

We anticipate that along with cashless gaming and digital gaming, AI will be another area that will continue to garner a lot of attention over the next year and beyond. We are always talking and meeting with our multitude of partners to stay current on advancements and new technology advancements.

With Mohegan’s strategic investments and commitment to innovation, the brand is well-prepared to leverage emerging trends. The development of Mohegan INSPIRE and other digital initiatives indicates the company’s readiness to adapt to and capitalize on these future technological advancements, ensuring it remains at the forefront of the gaming and entertainment industry.