Former Foxwoods CEO to head MGM Resorts' sports-betting expansion

Scott Butera, the former Foxwoods Resort Casino chief executive who became commissioner of the Arena Football League, has joined MGM Resorts International as president of interactive gaming, which includes sports betting.

Butera engineered the 2013 restructuring of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s $2.3 billion debt.

“Skill-based gaming is expanding exponentially and his experience will help us to dominate the field,” Corey Sanders, MGM Resorts’ chief operating officer, said Monday in a statement announcing Butera’s hiring. "As an industry leader in sports betting and cutting-edge interactive gaming offerings, MGM Resorts is well-positioned to bring our decades of experience and well-earned reputation to new markets throughout the country. Scott will play a key role as we continue to expand nationwide."

MGM Resorts, which expects to open a Springfield, Mass., resort casino in August, operates sports books at casinos it owns in Las Vegas and will seek to expand such operations in other states in the wake of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court repeal of a federal ban on sports wagering. MGM Resorts has casinos in Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi and New Jersey, where its Borgata Hotel Casino began taking sports bets last week.

MGM Resorts acquired Empire City Casino, a racetrack casino, in Yonkers, N.Y., late last month.

“We’re looking to be a leader across all interactive platforms,” Butera said in a phone interview. “This is something the company’s been involved in for some time. We’re a market leader in Nevada (which was exempt from the federal ban on sports betting), and we want to extend it.”

He declined to comment on MGM Resorts’ intentions regarding MGM Springfield, its soon-to-open Massachusetts casino.

Butera was replaced as AFL commissioner in a March shakeup of the indoor football league’s management. During his stewardship of the league, it shrank from 12 teams to the current four.

Butera left Foxwoods in 2014, after four years at the casino’s helm. He previously had led restructuring efforts at Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment and at Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. Before that, he spent 15 years as an investment banker.

After leaving Foxwoods, Butera continued to advise the Mashantuckets on financial and strategic matters.

Butera holds a bachelor's degree from Hartford’s Trinity College and a master of business administration degree from New York University. He’s a member of Trinity’s board of trustees, as is James Murren, MGM Resorts’ chairman and chief executive officer, who also graduated from Trinity.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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