Casinos' slots declines not so steep in August

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun reported Friday that they experienced relatively modest declines in slot-machine revenues in August, another month in which New York City's Resorts World Casino overtook them.

Foxwoods, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, "won," or kept, $50.5 million of the total wagered on its machines last month, 3.3 percent less than in August 2011. Mohegan Sun's win of $56.3 million was down 6.0 percent.

A month ago, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun reported double-digit declines in their July slots revenues. They last posted year-over-year increases in December.

"Our August results demonstrate a trend toward market stabilization as our slot revenue steadies to within a narrow range of $50 million a month," Scott Butera, Foxwoods' president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Jeffrey Hartmann, Mohegan Sun's president and CEO, who also issued a statement, attributed the drop in his casino's slots revenue to "the additional gaming supply in the New York and New Jersey markets combined with reductions in guest spending as a result of the challenging Northeast economy."

Resorts World, which began operating slots-like video display terminals and electronic table games last October at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, reported an August win of $58.6 million, more than that generated by Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods.

Figures posted by the New York Lottery show Resorts World's win has surpassed Foxwoods' win every month this year. Resorts World also bested Mohegan Sun in April and May.

Although neither Connecticut casino executive mentioned it, last month's modest year-over-year revenue declines likely reflect in part the fact that August 2011 revenues were especially low due to the impact of Tropical Storm Irene.

The storm hit the Northeast the weekend of Aug. 26-28, disrupting power and some service at Foxwoods. Both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods reported double-digit declines in slots revenue that month compared to August 2010.

New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement cited the storm's effect on August 2011 revenues at Atlantic City's 11 casinos in reporting a 12.6 percent increase in their combined gaming revenues last month. Slots win was up 16.8 percent while table-games win increased by 3.3 percent.

Atlantic City casinos were closed for several days in August 2011.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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