Foxwoods' slots 'win' down 9.1 percent in April

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Mashantucket - Foxwoods' slot-machine revenue tumbled 9.1 percent in April to $52.3 million, the third straight hefty decline in the casinos' year-over-year take.

Compared to the same months in 2009, slots at Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods were also down in March (10.8 percent) and February (11.1).

Statistically speaking, Foxwoods is paying for the relative success it enjoyed a year ago.

"Certainly, how you did this year is a function of the previous year," Michael Speller, Foxwoods' president, said Friday after Foxwoods released its monthly slots report. "We had some very good results at this time last year, so the comparisons (this year) are not easy."

Foxwoods posted year-over-year gains of about 1 percent in February and March 2009 and a decline of less than 1 percent in April 2009.

Speller said 2010's economic conditions continue to put a damper on the overall gaming market and that Foxwoods is "performing within those parameters." He said Foxwoods' staff is working hard to drive as much business as possible to the casinos and noted that slot revenue is only "a partial indicator" of how the casinos are faring.

"We're still near 100 percent (hotel) occupancy and up to 40,000 customers a day," he said.

Mohegan Sun is expected to release its April slot results Monday.

Speller said he is looking forward to the boost that summertime typically provides casinos, adding that Foxwoods' ongoing diversification of its offerings and entertainment will kick into high gear then. A luxury bowling alley and a comedy club are among new attractions scheduled to debut by late summer, he said.

Foxwoods' April payment to the state Division of Special Revenue topped $13.9 million, putting the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe's all-time slots contribution to the state over the $3 billion mark. The tribe celebrated the milestone earlier in the week.

Figures released Friday also showed Foxwoods' slot players redeemed more than $6.2 million in coupons for free play during April. Foxwoods "held" or kept nearly 8.1 percent of the $645.1 million wagered on its 7,033 slot machines. The casinos' daily win per machine was $247.80.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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