Mohegan Sun's announcement Thursday that it is laying off more than 300 employees comes as no great surprise since the casino, like nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino, faces growing competition from gambling halls in surrounding states.
With slot revenues declining steadily over the past several years - in part because of new casinos in New York and New Jersey, and also because of a general economic slowdown - the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority is doing what any other business must to when revenues tumble: lower its overhead by reducing the work force.
In its heyday, Mohegan Sun employed more than 10,000. After the layoffs - 282 were let go immediately; another 46 will be let go next month when the casino closes Birches, a tribe-owned restaurant that will reopen under new ownership - the work force will number about 6,400.
The cutbacks, coupled with similar reductions at Foxwoods, underscore the need for this region to continue diversifying its economy.
Southeastern Connecticut has been taught this painful lesson several times in the past - when layoffs at Electric Boat at the end of the Cold War crippled an economy so dependent on military contracts, when rising gas prices cut into tourism and, most recently, when Pfizer scaled back on its pharmaceutical manufacturing and research.
Rhode Island and Massachusetts could eventually have their own full-scale casinos, which would further diminish revenues and employment at Connecticut's two gambling institutions.
This region can't gamble that casinos will continue to be its dominant employer. Putting all your chips on the table is always a risky bet.