Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun have best slot revenue month since August
Numbers still down compared to a year ago
For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jun 15, 2009 @ 11:27 PM
Last update Jun 16, 2009 @ 12:03 AM

Mohegan Sun won more than $69.9 million from slot machines in May, a less than 7 percent decline over the previous May’s revenue of $75.1 million, based on figures reported to the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue.

The figures come out to $10,362 per game, compared to $12,621 per game last May. Mohegan contributed $16.5 million to the state, representing 25 percent of the gross slot revenue.

Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods reported the property took in $62.2 million in slot machine revenue, a 14.2 percent decrease. This marked the first year-over-year comparison with MGM Grand at Foxwoods in the mix. The addition opened last May, with a heavy advertising and media blitz.

The slot handle — the amount of money played — fell 1.3 percent to $851.3 million. The handle at Foxwoods tumbled 9.6 percent. Still, both properties can take some comfort that May’s winnings were the best since August.

“Although our numbers are down from last May, we are pleased that May 2009 was our strongest month of this fiscal year,” said Michael Speller, president of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises.

In general, the industry has recalibrated expectations, said gaming analyst Robert LeFleur, with Susquehanna Financial Group in Stamford.

“Not getting worse is the new better,” he said. “If the rate of decline was higher earlier in the year that’s good news in a market that does not have much to offer in the way of good news. The economy is still weak, and spending is still down.”

Everyone is anxious to know what the new better really is, said Mitchell Etess, CEO and president of Mohegan Sun. “It’s hard to look and say we’re down 7 percent and that’s great. But the reality is, when you take a step back, for this month in general, with Atlantic City and our own competition it’s difficult not to feel that being down 7 percent is a good month. It is almost incredible to say that.”

Overall, such feelings don’t equate with stabilization relative to Mohegan Sun and the entire Northeast section of the country, Etess said. The 11 casinos in Atlantic City reported $351.3 million in revenues in May, a 15.4 percent decrease over the same month a year ago. Results reported to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission showed that slot revenue tumbled 14.9 percent, while table game win — not reportable in Connecticut — slipped 16.7 percent. For the first five months of the year, casinos won $1.62 billion, down 15.7 percent from the same period in 2008.

“We need a few months of some sort of stabilization in the year-over-year numbers,” Etess said.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: A loss compared to Atlantic City or any place, doesn't matter. A loss is still a loss. Losses on top of losses year after year. Mohegan Sun is doing better? How do you figure that one out? It is bad. It is not turning around. Palmer, Pocono Downs or any other deal that may come the way of the Mohegan Sun will not change the fact that the golden goose is no longer laying golden eggs. The MTGA should be leading the way. We need to fight. We need to do better. Are our leaders falling down on the job? What do you think?

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