Casinos' slots took another big hit last month

For the second consecutive month, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun posted significant declines in slot-machine revenue in May, further evidence that the economy is sputtering, casino executives said.

At Foxwoods Resort Casino, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, slots "win" - the amount or wagers the casino keeps - was down 9.8 percent compared to the same month the previous year. Mohegan Sun's win was down 9.1 percent.

The results were not quite as bad as those reported for April, when Foxwoods' win tumbled 13.4 percent and Mohegan Sun's fell 10.8 percent. After posting gains in December, the casinos have experienced five straight months of declines in slots revenue.

Foxwoods' May win was $50.4 million; Mohegan Sun's was $55.4 million.

At Foxwoods, the "handle" - the total amount wagered on slot machines - declined 13.3 percent last month. Mohegan Sun's handle was down 10.1 percent.

"There are obvious signs of weakness in the economy," Jeffrey Hartmann, Mohegan Sun's president and chief executive officer, said, citing such data as poor "new jobs numbers."

In a statement, Scott Butera, Foxwoods' president and CEO, said much the same thing: "Weak and uncertain economic conditions continue to impact our customers and our slot business."

Hartmann said Mohegan Sun's May slots numbers may also reflect the impact of Resorts World Casino, the slots parlor that opened last fall at Aqueduct race track in New York City. He said Mohegan Sun has lost some Asian clientele based in New York to Resorts World.

"Our table games business continues to be strong," Hartmann said.

Both casino chiefs said they expect big-name entertainment acts to drive business at their properties in the summer months.

Foxwoods forwarded $13.5 million of its May win to the state, while Mohegan Sun contributed $14.6 million to state coffers.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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