Ending slide, casinos post year-over-year gain in October slots revenue

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino reported modest year-over-year gains in slot-machine revenue in October, ending a string of 15 straight months of declines.

Neither casino had posted a monthly gain since June 2018.

Mohegan Sun reported Friday that it “won,” or kept, $43.7 million in slots revenue after paying out prizes. The sum was $1.1 million more than the $42.6 million the casino kept the same month the previous year, an increase of 2.6 percent.

Foxwoods kept $34.5 million, an increase of less than half a percentage point over the $34.4 million it kept in October 2018.

Despite the gains, both casinos also reported that their October “handle” — total slots wagers before prizes are paid — was down from a year ago. Mohegan Sun's handle of $528.4 million was down from $546.9 million the previous year while Foxwoods' handle of $430 million was down from $436.4 million.

The downturn in the casinos’ slots revenue has coincided with competition from Massachusetts’ casinos, particularly MGM Springfield, which opened in August 2018. Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Resorts’ $2.6 billion facility that opened in late June in Everett, Mass., poses a more remote threat to the Connecticut casinos.

“We feel the Connecticut market is strong and we’re pleased with the October performance,” said Dave Martinelli, vice president and chief marketing officer for Mohegan Sun. “September 2019 can be viewed positively, as well, especially when considering there was one less Saturday than there was in September of 2018. Overall, performance continues to beat what was largely forecasted ahead of new competition."

Mohegan Sun's September slots win was $44.6 million, 5.5 percent less than the previous September.

Numbers released Friday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission show MGM Springfield kept $14.7 million in slots revenue in October, slightly more than the $14.6 million it kept the previous October. Encore Boston Harbor kept $22.3 million in slots revenue last month, the most it's kept in any month in its brief history.

MGM Springfield also kept $6.5 million in table-games revenue, bringing its total gaming revenue for October to $21.2 million, down 4.7 percent compared with the previous October.

Encore kept $23.5 million in table-games revenue, the fourth straight month in which it's kept more table-games revenue than slots revenue. Encore’s total gaming revenue of $45.8 million in October was the lowest it has recorded in any of its four full months of operation.

The Connecticut casinos do not share their table-games revenue with the state and do not report it on a monthly basis. They pay 25 percent of their slots revenue to the state. In October, Mohegan Sun paid the state $10.9 million, and Foxwoods, $8.8 million.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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