Study: Most Mass. gamblers use Conn. casinos
By Brian Hallenbeck
Published 10/29/2009 12:00 AMUpdated 10/29/2009 02:19 AM0
Massachusetts residents made more than 6 million visits to the Connecticut casinos in 2008, as well as about 1 million visits to slot parlors in Lincoln and Newport, R.I., and less than 10,000 visits to Maine's Hollywood Slots, according to the survey conducted by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
It is the exodus of gamblers to out-of-state facilities that some Massachusetts lawmakers hope to stem by approving casino gambling. The legislature's Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies is holding the first public hearing today on 16 gambling bills now before the legislature. The session is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the State House in Boston.
The survey released this week, titled "Playing the Odds II," was based on interviews with 3,981 New Englanders. It shows that the average "slot machine patron" at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun is a woman, 40 or older, with a high school diploma or associate's degree and an annual family income between $25,000 and $75,000. A secondary group of slot players consists of males with the same demographic profile.
"Both groups willingly travel 60 minutes or more - bypassing Rhode Island's slots parlors - to take advantage of additional gaming options, such as table games, nongaming and entertainment amenities, and because of the more appealing general atmosphere and physical attractiveness of a resort casino," the Center for Policy Analysis said in a press release announcing the survey results.
Bay Staters showed an overwhelming preference for Connecticut's resort casinos, the survey found, with 86 percent of their total gaming visitations dedicated exclusively to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
About three-quarters of the New Englanders who visited Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun reported that they did not visit the Rhode Island slot parlors - Twin River in Lincoln and Newport Grand in Newport - though most residents live closer to those facilities.
More than 1.1 million Massachusetts residents 21 and older visited Foxwoods an average of 3.3 times each, accounting for more than 3.7 million visits, according to the survey. More than 850,000 Bay Staters of legal age visited Mohegan Sun an average of 2.7 times, accounting for nearly 2.3 million visits. Nearly a quarter of Massachusetts' adult residents visited Foxwoods, while nearly a fifth visited Mohegan Sun.
Fifteen percent of those who visited Foxwoods and 22 percent of those who visited Mohegan Sun indicated they did not gamble at the casinos but instead spent money on nongaming amenities, including lodging, dining, shopping, concerts and entertainment, golf and spas
EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: What percentage of total income at the Mohegan Sun is generated from the "Bay State"? Is it worth building a new casino in Palmer, for a state that had 2.3 million (2,300,000) visitors from that state? Twenty two percent (22%) didn't gamble at all. How is spending between eleven and twelve percent (11% to 12%) in interest to build a $500 million to $1 Billion ($500,000,000.00 to $1,000,000,000.00) casino worth doing? Didn't the Mohegan Sun just pay that interest rate on borrowing $200 Million ($200,000,000.00)? At ll% to 12% interest how could Palmer ever be profitable? Is it another, Pocono Downs? Is it a worse deal than Pocono Downs? We need to tell our officials (the MTGA, the Mohegan Tribal Council) we don't want Palmer. What do you think?