Slot revenue down at CT casinos

August 17, 2008 8:00:47 AM PDT
The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos both reported decreases in their July slot machine revenue, continuing a slump they blame on patrons' concerns about the weak economy and high gas prices.Foxwoods Resort Casino posted a 3.2 percent decrease in slot machine income compared to July 2007, or about $2.4 million.

At Mohegan Sun, slots slipped about 14.6 percent. That was down $16.1 million from July 2007, when the casino hit an unprecedented high point as more than $1 billion flowed through its slot machines.

"Comparing this against the last July, which was really spectacular for us ... this was expected," said Mitchell Etess, president and chief executive officer at Mohegan Sun. "There's no doubt that we're seeing the impacts of people's feelings on the economy."

The casinos had experienced eight months of declines in slot revenue until May, when they went up two-tenths of a percent at Mohegan Sun and 7.7 percent at Foxwoods. The Foxwoods spike was attributed to the opening of MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

With each monthly side, the casinos have cited rising energy prices, diminished consumer confidence and competition from other casinos.

"We continue to see softness in the market, which we believe is caused by the continued weakening in the economy, high gas prices and alternative choices for drive-in slot patrons in New York and Rhode Island," said Barry Cregan, interim president at Foxwoods.

The decrease in slot machine revenues in July translated into fewer dollars for the state of Connecticut, which gets a cut of that income.

Foxwoods, which is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, contributed $18.2 million to the state. Mohegan Sun, which is owned by the Mohegan Tribe, paid $18.9 million.