The 25-year-old Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut is the largest resort casino (by overall casino space) in North America — larger than any of its competitors in Las Vegas. Like most casinos, Foxwoods, too, is feeling the pressure to modernize and look at the nascent online gambling space. To do this, Foxwoods launched its free-to-play site last year, for example, and it’s now teaming up with Victory Square Ventures to launch a new project, the aptly named “Foxwoods and Victory Square Ventures Living Lab,” to develop and market new gaming and betting-related entertainment technology.
This partnership, which was first announced at the Traction Conference in Vancouver last week, and which Victory Square and Foxwoods describe as a “first-of-its-kind” deal, marks an interesting moment for the gaming industry, which hasn’t typically worked with outside VCs and accelerator programs. Owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, Foxwoods is willing to experiment, though. In part, this may be due to the fact that while its geographic location between Boston and New York City was a major boon to its revenue in its early years, the fact that a number of new casinos are set to open in upstate New York, for example, puts a bit more pressure on Foxwoods. In that environment, it only makes sense for the casino to want to innovate as it looks to expand online, especially as a number of states are now looking to legalize online gambling.
Victory Square Ventures uses a studio approach and provides early-stage funding to startups in the web, mobile, gaming and film industries. It has launched about 40 startups in 24 countries and the team says these companies have generated more than $100 million in sales so far.
“Foxwoods is thrilled to partner with Victory Square Ventures, joining two of the most innovative minds in the gaming industry,” said Felix Rappaport, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. “The Living Lab is an exciting enterprise that represents not only the next step in Foxwoods’ gaming evolution, but our commitment to leading the transformation of the industry as a whole and continuously giving guests unique experiences that excite. This is the future of gaming.”