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Slot revenues take a dive in December

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: theday.com

Published January 15. 2014 10:00AM   Updated January 15. 2014 11:53PM

Casino slot-machine revenues, which had shown signs of stabilizing in recent months, changed course in December.

Foxwoods Resort Casino reported Wednesday that its "win" — the amount of wagers it kept after paying out prizes — tumbled by 14.8 percent year-over-year, falling to $37.6 million from $44.2 million in December 2012. Mohegan Sun's December win of $45.9 million was down 8.3 percent over the $50.0 million it won the same month the previous year.

Only a month ago, Foxwoods reported its first monthly increase in win in nearly two years, having kept 2.1 percent more in November 2013 than in November 2012. The Mashantucket Pequot-owned casino had reported a 1.9 percent decline for October and declines of less than 4 percent for September and August.

"The numbers are on par with what our expectations were for December … in this highly competitive market," Scott Butera, Foxwoods' president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Wednesday. "Weather and the holidays always factor into the numbers for December."

Before last month's sharp decline, Mohegan Sun had reported a 1.4 percent decline for November, a 1.0 percent increase for October, an 8.8 percent decline for September and an increase of less than a percent for August.

Foxwoods' December "handle" — the total amount wagered at its machines — was down 21.3 percent while Mohegan Sun's fell 7.4 percent.

"It's a combination of variables," Bobby Soper, Mohegan Sun's president and chief executive officer, said of last month's drop-off. "Certainly, the weather was a factor. We lost a weekend to a snowstorm. And there was one less Saturday in the month than in the previous December."

Soper said similar numbers posted in other gaming jurisdictions suggested a "general softness" in the industry.

"Clearly, consumer confidence is still not strong," he said.

The 12 casinos operating last month in Atlantic City reported a combined 7.6 percent decline in December slots win, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Closer to Connecticut, Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct racetrack in New York City reported a December win of $64.5 million, a 7.9 percent increase over the same month the previous year. Empire City at Yonkers (N.Y.) Raceway, reported a December win of $41.2 million, a 9.1 percent decline.

The Rhode Island Lottery had yet to post December revenues for Twin River Casino in Lincoln.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com





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