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    Tuesday, April 16, 2024

    Mohegan Sun benefited from competitive landscape in July

    Spacing guidelines are enforced by removing seats and shutting down video slot machines on May 21, 2020, at Mohegan Sun Casino. Mohegan Sun posted a modest year-over-year gain in slot-machine revenue last month while Foxwoods Resort Casino’s revenue plummeted, newly released data show. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    Mohegan Sun posted a modest year-over-year gain in slot-machine revenue last month while Foxwoods Resort Casino’s revenue plummeted, newly released data show.

    Mohegan Sun reported it “won,” or kept, $47.5 million after paying out prizes, a 1.7% increase over the $46.7 million it kept in July 2019. Foxwoods kept $30.5 million, a 19.8% decrease over the $38 million it kept a year earlier.

    The numbers are posted on the website of the state Department of Consumer Protection.

    The casinos, striving to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, have been operating at less than full strength since reopening June 1 after an 11-week shutdown. Both posted modest year-over-year declines in June slots revenue, their surprisingly strong comebacks attributed to the release of pent-up demand among patrons and the lack of competition from out-of-state casinos that remained closed.

    In Massachusetts, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett partially reopened in mid-July. Encore, in particular, impacts Foxwoods’ business more than Mohegan Sun's, as does Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., which gradually started reopening in early June.

    Commercial casinos in New York state, including slots-only facilities in New York City and Yonkers and a resort casino in the Catskills region, remain closed. When open, they have a greater impact on Mohegan Sun than Foxwoods.

    July’s numbers show Mohegan Sun with 61% of the Connecticut slots market to Foxwoods’ 39%.

    Jeff Hamilton, Mohegan Sun’s president and general manager, said Saturday his casino’s performance in July reflected its ability to “create a safe, clean environment” and successfully market that environment.

    “Customers tell us they feel safer at Mohegan Sun than anywhere else they’re going,” he said. “They know that if people aren’t wearing a mask, we’re holding them accountable.”

    Hamilton acknowledged that the current competitive landscape favors Mohegan Sun over Foxwoods.

    Foxwoods announced its July slots revenue in a news release Saturday in which it touted its safety measures, “including temperature checks, mandatory face masks, (Plexiglas) installations and 24/7 sanitization of the property.”

    The casino recently announced it could safely reopen its HighFlyer Zipline, Cedar’s Steak & Oysters restaurant and Hard Rock Café.

    “COVID-19’s impact continues to be felt by most industries and gaming venues, but we are encouraged by guest response and traffic, and we feel our calculated and thoughtful approach in reopening Foxwoods in phases is the right move,” said Jason Guyot, the casino’s interim chief executive officer. “We have been doubling down on safety — that is the main focus — and we’re pleased that guests see Foxwoods as a secure, welcoming environment where they can stay, shop, game, and dine, all in a resort perfectly sized to allow for social distancing.”

    In the release, Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns Foxwoods, makes a push for state authorization of sports betting and online gaming.

    “As our local economy continues to rebuild, we must aggressively consider other ways to stabilize our great state and reconsider going all in on legalizing sports betting and modernizing online gaming in Connecticut,” he says. “Since 2018, authorized neighboring states around the region have collectively generated just under $100 million in tax revenue for their respective regions, and we believe $80 million can be generated from sports betting, internet gaming, iKeno and iLottery in Connecticut.”

    Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods contribute 25% of their slots revenue to the state. For July, Mohegan Sun’s payment was $11.9 million. Foxwoods’ was $7.6 million.


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