Southeastern Connecticut is poised to become one of the most popular gaming destinations in the Northeast — with a little help from Mohegan Sun.

On September 25, Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn., opened the first phase of its $1 billion “Project Sunburst” expansion, the largest private development project on the East Coast. The 115,000-square-foot Casino of the Sky, which complements the resort's Casino of the Earth, gives the resort 315,000 square feet of gambling space. This makes it the world's second-largest gambling destination, after Foxwoods, nine miles up the road. Phase I also includes the 10,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Arena and 300-seat Cabaret; 16 new restaurants, and an array of upscale retail shops.

The expansion will be completed in mid-April with the opening of a 1,200-room luxury hotel, a 22,300-square-foot spa, and 143,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space. The meeting space will feature the Northeast's largest ballroom (40,000 square feet); it can be divided into 10 meeting rooms.

Mitchell Etess, vice president of marketing, says the resort will attract groups big and small. Mohegan Sun expects to draw 14 million visitors annually once the project is completed. For more information go to www.mohegansun.com.