Foxwoods, Mohegan: Where is everybody?
By Thomas Grillo
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - Added 7h ago
The once hot resort-style casinos have turned ice-cold as the economic downturn lowered gambling proceeds by double digits last month, capping another miserable month where slot revenues have plummeted.
Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand reported yesterday that slot revenues in August fell by 13.3 percent to $63.1 million, down from $72.8 million, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
Mohegan Sun saw slot returns slip to $68.9 million last month compared to $77.5 million one year ago, an 11 percent dip and the 15 consecutive month of declines.
“Casinos rely on discretionary income and that’s one of the first things that people cut back on in a recession,” said Clyde Barrow, director of the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. “And this (recession) is the worst one since the Great Depression.”
Barrow also noted that increased competition from Twin River Casino in Rhode Island and the Empire City Raceway in Yonkers have siphoned off gamblers who would have spent their cash at Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods.
Michael Speller, president of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises, the company that operates Foxwoods, said that, while the economic downturn continues to present challenges to the gambling industry, hotel occupancy rates are at or near 100 percent.
Barrow said occupancy is up at both casinos because hotel prices have been lowered and the casinos are providing more free rooms to customers.
EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: More grief for the Mohegan Sun Casino? When is the leadership of the Mohegan Tribe (the Mohegan Tribal Council) going to do something about this situation? Are the members of the Mohegan Tribal Council helpless, in fixing this situation for the Mohegan People? Are they (the MTGA) lost souls? Have they lost their way? Will things get worse for the Mohegan Tribe because of their actions or possible lack of leadership? What do you think?
Where is everyone? The economy is in terrible shape. The MTGA did not plan for this. They had no DOOMS DAY PLAN. The facts are the MTGA didn't pay down the casinos debt when they had a chance. Now the moment is gone. What do you think?