MASHANTUCKET, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A former Mashantucket Pequot Chairman and visionary behind Foxwoods® High-Stakes Bingo and Foxwoods Resort Casino, Richard A. “Skip” Hayward, was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Hall of Fame yesterday as an Industry Pioneer—a distinction considered to be one of the gaming industry’s highest honors. Hayward’s vision and determination pioneered the way for today’s Indian Gaming industry—with over 480 tribal gaming operations generating nearly $30 billion each year.
Hayward served as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s Chairman for 23 years (1975 – 1998), and then Vice Chairman for an additional 6 years. He led the effort to gain state recognition for the Mashantucket Pequots in 1974, followed by federal recognition in 1983, which was enacted by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan. Hayward’s efforts paved the way for community development planning on the reservation.
“Skip Hayward is the type of visionary that most people never encounter, and he’s incredibly deserving of this award,” says Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. “With tenacious zeal, Skip led the effort to develop a thriving community through a vision focused on preserving Pequot history and culture for many generations. That vision was realized through the development of Foxwoods Resort Casino. On behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, we send Skip our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude for his leadership, dedication, and determination.”
After pursuing several business options to help secure the tribe’s economic stability, Hayward championed the construction of a High Stakes Bingo Hall, which opened in 1986 and far exceeded revenue projections by generating nearly $30 million per year. Following the Bingo success, Hayward secured the investment capital to construct the first full-service casino ever built on an Indian reservation--Foxwoods Resort Casino.
During the late eighties’ economic recession, the Mashantucket Pequot High Stakes Bingo Hall and Foxwoods Resort Casino resulted in hundreds of construction jobs and more than ten thousand new employment positions. Throughout much of the nineties, Foxwoods remained the largest and most profitable casino in the western hemisphere. Today, it is North America’s largest--reaching a 25th Anniversary milestone in February, 2017.
To date, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has contributed nearly $4 billion to the State of Connecticut through a first-of-its-kind slot revenue sharing agreement, which became an example for similar agreements nationwide. The Tribe also provided millions of dollars to non-profit charities and social service organizations throughout the local area since 1992. And it all began with Skip:
Richard A. “Skip” Hayward Acceptance Speech
Tonight I wish to thank this year's Board of the American Gaming Association and all its members for the privilege of being inducted into the AGA Gaming Hall of Fame. This is an award that I never expected, and an honor I could never have imagined when I started down the path to preserve my Grandmother's home and our ancestral land and to bring Mashantucket Pequots home to build a successful and stable community -- one that is founded on our shared history, culture and unity.
That path has led me to this evening, and the privilege of being chosen to stand with past inductees to recognize and honor our industry. While for me it has always been, and always will be, about my Tribe, Foxwoods Resort Casino has been the engine which has driven our prosperity and our economic development.
When you pioneer a vision to do something no one has done before, it is impossible to predict how things will turn out. This journey has been long and challenging -- with many extraordinary rewards and unexpected outcomes. But, as I reflect back on everything, I am deeply honored to have experienced it all, and to have experienced it with you as part of this industry. Thank you again for this honor, and may God bless you all.
About the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Located in southeastern Connecticut, the Mashantucket Pequots are a Native Algonquin people who endured centuries of conflict and survival around one of North America’s oldest Indian reservations (Est. 1666). As the first Native Americans to survive a genocidal massacre (1637) in what would become the continental United States, Pequot history is an unprecedented story of redemption and restoration, featured at the world-class Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (www.pequotmuseum.org). As pioneers of today’s Indian Gaming industry, the Mashantucket Pequots own and operate the first Class III gaming enterprise ever built on an Indian Reservation, Foxwoods Resort Casino (www.foxwoods.com ), which is also the largest in North America. The Tribe’s other businesses include Lake of Isles Golf Course (www.lakeofisles.com), Pequot Pharmaceutical Network (www.prxn.com), and The Spa at Norwich Inn (www.thespaatnorwichinn.com). All together, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is one of Connecticut’s largest employers and highest taxpayers, having contributed nearly $4 billion dollars to the state through the first-ever tribal slot revenue sharing agreement (est. 1993) and hundreds of millions in donations and sponsorships to support charities throughout New England. For more information, contact us at MPTNCommunications@mptn-nsn.gov.
About Foxwoods Resort Casino
Foxwoods Resort Casino is the premier resort destination in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in seven casinos; AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to quick service, world-renowned spas, award-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers. Perfect for both recreation and business, Foxwoods provides modern and versatile convention and meeting space to infuse new life into any meeting or event. Foxwoods Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. For a comprehensive look at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation visit Foxwoods.com.