After posting a tiny year-over-year increase in August slots revenue, Mohegan Sun resumed the downward spiral that's plagued Connecticut's casinos - and casinos throughout the country - in September.
Figures released Tuesday show the Sun's slots "win" - the amount of wagers the casino kept after paying out prizes - totaled $49.9 million last month, 8.8 percent less than it kept in September 2012.
Foxwoods Resort Casino, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, kept $44.8 million, a more modest 3.2 percent decline. It was Foxwoods' smallest monthly decrease since June 2012. The Mashantucket Pequot-owned casino last posted a monthly gain in December 2011.
September's totals were the last of each casino's fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
Mohegan Sun's slots win for fiscal 2012-13 came to $618.7 million, an 8.4 percent decline over the $675.1 million it won the previous fiscal year. Foxwoods' won $537.1 million in fiscal 2012-13, down 9.8 percent over the $595.7 million it won the year before.
The yearly declines were steeper than in the previous year. Mohegan Sun's 2011-12 slots win was down 5 percent over 2010-11, while Foxwoods' win was down 6.4 percent over the same period.
Typically, slot machines generate 70 percent or more of a casino's gaming revenue. The Connecticut casinos do not disclose their other gaming revenue - generated by table games - on a monthly basis.
Bobby Soper, Mohegan Sun's president and chief executive officer, said last month's slots revenue suffered by comparison to September 2012, in part, because there were three Labor Day weekend days last year when Labor Day fell on Monday, Sept. 3. This year, Labor Day fell on Monday, Sept. 2.
"Definitely, it was a tough month from a comparable standpoint," Soper said. "We also had a lighter entertainment schedule this September than last."
The casino was left with some open dates at Mohegan Sun Arena when the Connecticut Sun, the WNBA team that plays there, failed to make the playoffs, Soper said.
"Last September we had quite a few full dates (at the arena)," he said.
Mohegan Sun has revamped its rewards program, which enables gamblers to earn credits that can be redeemed throughout the casino.
"It had been almost 17 years since we changed our players' club program," Soper said. "We thought we ought to find out what our customers wanted, and what they wanted is more rewards and more flexibility."
Under the new program, dubbed Momentum, players earn points, or dollars, that are usable at the casino's restaurants, shops, hotels, spas and golf courses as well as "choice credits" that can be used for certain events and other amenities.
Mohegan Sun sent $12.7 million of its September slots win to the state Department of Consumer Protection's Gaming Division. Foxwoods' payment totaled $11.2 million.