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State's slump in Indian-run casinos worst in nation in '12

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published March 27. 2014 4:00AM

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun combined to generate $1.85 billion in gaming revenue in 2012, an 8 percent decline over the $2.01 billion they generated in 2011, an annual survey of Indian gaming shows.

Released Wednesday, the 2014 edition of Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report found that nationally, Indian gaming experienced modest gaming-revenue growth in 2012, increasing 2 percent to an all-time high of $28.1 billion.

That marked a slowdown from 2011's 3.4 percent growth.

In Connecticut, the decline at the casinos owned by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes was the greatest, percentage-wise, of tribally owned casinos in any of the 28 states that had them in 2012, according to the survey. At the other end of the spectrum, Alaska's casinos posted a 20 percent revenue increase.

As the survey noted, 2012 was the sixth straight year of revenue declines at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the much-documented result of struggling state and national economies and growing competition in the Northeast.

That competition comes "namely from commercial casinos and racinos in Pennsylvania, commercial casinos and racinos in Ohio, Indian casinos and racinos in New York, commercial casinos in Atlantic City and racinos in Maine and Rhode Island," the report said.

In the years ahead, more competition is expected to come from New York and Massachusetts, where casinos have been authorized, and possibly New Hampshire, which has considered authorizing casinos.

Despite the revenue declines at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, Connecticut ranked fifth among the states in Indian gaming revenue, trailing California, Oklahoma, Washington and Florida.

California, where Indian gaming facilities experienced a 1 percent increase in revenue, accounts for about 25 percent of Indian gaming revenues in the United States.

Alan Meister, an economist with Nathan Associates Inc., authored the report.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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