Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Weather bogs down slot revenue
Casinos report

For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted Mar 15, 2010 @ 11:19 PM

A stormy February helped keep slot win down 7.7 percent at Mohegan Sun compared to the same month a year ago.

The casino won $58 million, down from $62.8 million in 2009, according to figures released today to the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue. Handle — the amount of money wagered in slots — was just about flat. Free slot play inflates the handle results.

Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods reported that slot revenue for the month of February was $51.6 million, a decrease of 11.1 percent in slot win compared to February, 2009. Slot handle fell 9.9 percent.

Mohegan Sun paid the state $14.5 million for February. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods’ owner, reported a $13.4 million payment to the state. These contributions represent 25 percent of the slot win.

“The GDP indicates that we’ve bounced off the trough of the Great Recession, but it’s not likely that the performance of any service or retail industry will improve until unemployment rates decline, personal income and home values increase, and consumer confidence returns to non-recessionary levels,” said Clyde W. Barrow, Ph.D., director of the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Magazine.

The numbers, though, aren’t as bad as they seem, said Mitchell Etess, CEO of Mohegan Sun. Mohegan Sun retained the lead in market share in Connecticut.

“The numbers were negatively impacted by the weather,” Etess said. This was especially true for feeder markets like New York, which got hammered by more snow than Connecticut, he said.Despite the less than adequate showing in slot win, Foxwoods and MGM Grand at Foxwoods continue to experience hotel occupancy rates at or near 100 percent. Throughout January and February, more than 1 million people were on the property, even with the economy still not recovered.

“While our February results have seen a decline, we are optimistic about the coming months,” said Michael Speller, president of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises.Analyst Roger Gros points a finger at the weather. “It’s the same as Atlantic City for February. I expect single digit declines in both areas in March,” said Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business.
Copyright 2010 Norwich Bulletin.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Even though I don't think free play is a good idea, because it takes away from the bottom line, in this economic condition the casinos find themselves in, it's probably a very good idea. At least it looks like the casinos are fighting for their market share. What do you think?

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