February 17, 2017

As Soper departs, Mohegan discloses Pa. casino irregularities probe

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Outgoing Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority President and CEO Bobby Soper.

As the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority searches to replace its president and CEO, Bobby Soper, federal regulators are investigating financial irregularities at the Mohegan's Pennsylvania casino.

Soper resigned suddenly Tuesday, and did not disclose future plans.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) made a public disclosure Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in which they reported Soper's departure and acknowledged a pending review of "possible operational control deficiencies" at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

In the filing MTGA Chairman Kevin Brown wrote that the authority has delayed filing its quarterly report for the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31 so it can "review and investigate" issues identified by the Office of Enforcement Control of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The operational control deficiencies, which MTGA says it is remediating, relate to "among other things," a "system of tracking and reporting the issuance of certain customer incentives such as free slot play," the SEC filing states.

On Feb. 14, Brown writes, in connection with its ongoing review of Mohegan Sun Pocono operations, the MTGA in January had terminated Mohegan Sun Pocono's business relationship with ReferLocal. The marketing and advertising company did business with Mohegan Sun Pocono since 2011. Soper had a 5 percent equity interest in ReferLocal, which he had not disclosed to the MTGA, according to the filing.

"ReferLocal is not registered with the [Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board] as a gaming service provider, and we cannot predict whether OEC will conclude that such registration was required or that one or more other aspects of our prior business relationship with ReferLocal was not in compliance with applicable gaming regulations," the filing states.

Meantime, MTGA praised Soper in a press release about his departure.

"Having served as general manager of both our Connecticut and Pennsylvania properties, Bobby actively pursued the growth of the Mohegan gaming enterprise to ensure its viability and survivability in an ever-increasingly competitive industry, and he helped us achieve important gains across the country and around the world," the MTGA stated.

Mitch Etess, the former CEO, is acting as interim CEO "subject to necessary regulatory filings or approvals," MTGA said in its press release announcing Soper's resignation.

MTGA did not respond to an email seeking comment. Soper could not be reached for comment.

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