Both casinos' slots revenues down by double digits

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun reported Tuesday that they experienced double-digit declines in slot-machine revenues in June, the last month of the state’s 2013-14 fiscal year.

As always, the casinos sent 25 percent of their slots “win” — the amount of wagers they kept after paying out prizes — to the state, bringing their combined 2013-14 contribution, unofficially, to $279.9 million, which would be 5.6 percent less than their 2012-13 contribution of $296.4 million.

In the seven years since the 2006-07 fiscal year, when the casinos’ combined contribution peaked at $430.5 million, the annual payments have fallen, unofficially, by $150.6 million, or 35 percent.

State officials said the final numbers for 2013-14 would not be available until the first week of August.

Foxwoods’ slots win for June totaled $37.7 million, down 13.1 percent over the $43.4 million it won in June 2013. Mohegan Sun’s June win of $45.3 million was down 10.3 percent over the $50.5 million it kept the same month the previous year.

The June numbers reflect “a continued softness in the economy, not only in this market but in most, if not all, mature gaming markets throughout the country,” said Bobby Soper, Mohegan Sun’s president and chief executive officer.

Foxwoods sent $10.1 million of its June win to the state, while Mohegan Sun contributed $11.7 million.

The state’s budgetmakers had assumed the casino’s 2013-14 contribution would be $285.3 million. In a letter last month to the comptroller, the state Office of Policy and Management reduced the estimate to $281.3 million, according to Gian-Carl Casa, the OPM’s undersecretary for legislative affairs.

The adopted state budget for 2014-15 includes $278.5 million in casino slots revenue.

June’s dismal numbers were worse than those the casinos had reported for May, when Foxwoods was down 9.3 percent and Mohegan Sun was down 6 percent. Both casinos had reported double-digit declines in April and March.

Still, Soper offered a positive outlook.

“June’s always a fickle month,” he said. “The weather was extraordinarily nice, and people have graduations and things, which can hurt us. We’ve got some great entertainment this month and we’re optimistic that July and August — traditionally our peak months — will produce better results.”

Amid the continuing erosion of the Connecticut slots market, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have pursued casino projects in other Northeast states.

Mohegan Sun has proposed a $1.3 billion resort casino in Revere, Mass., one of two projects vying for the Greater Boston casino license the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to award by early September. Mohegan Sun is partnered with a New York developer on a $550 million project in Thompson, N.Y.

Foxwoods has been interested in partnering on a project in southeastern Massachusetts. It withdrew from a project it had proposed in Liberty, N.Y.

Aside from economic conditions, the casinos have been affected in recent years by growing competition from slots parlors in New York City and Yonkers, N.Y., and the expansion of gambling in Rhode Island. Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., added table games to its slots last year, and voters in Newport, R.I., will decide in a November referendum whether the Newport Grand slots parlor should be allowed to similarly expand.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com



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