Tribes see dip in slot machine revenues as rival opens new facility

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe saw declines in slot machine revenues in Connecticut last month, just as a rival opened a new facility in a neighboring state.

Slot revenue at Mashantucket-owned Foxwoods Resort Casino came to $41.4 million for the month of August. That represented a 1.6 percent drop from the year prior.

The Mohegan Sun took in $53.3 million in slot revenue for the same month. That was about 1.1 percent less than August 2017.

As of August 24, the tribes have a new competitor. MGM Springfield opened its doors in neighboring Massachusetts and saw $9.5 million in gaming revenues during its first week of operation, according to newly released figures.

Artist's rendering of a new casino to be jointly owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe in East Windsor, Connecticut. Image: CT Jobs Matter

Of that amount, $7.3 million came from slot machines, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported. That translates to $367 a day for every machine at the facility, one expert told The Associated Press.

"I expected higher," political science professor Paul DeBole told the AP. "Three hundred dollars is a good target, which MGM hit. I just thought with the hype and grand opening it would be higher."

September marks the first full month of activity at MGM, so future figures could offer more insight into the facility's effect on the two tribes, whose casinos are located more than an hour away on their respective reservations in southeastern Connecticut.

The tribes have previously expressed alarms about the new competitor, which led them to seek approval at the state level for a jointly-operated casino. They chose a site in East Windsor, less than 15 minutes from MGM in Springfield.

The tribes had hoped to have their development open by now but the Trump administration held up the project in Washington, D.C.. Following months of inaction, the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the Mohegan Tribe's Class III gaming compact in June.

But the agency has kept the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's agreement in limbo and claims it can do so indefinitely. The tribes are still hoping to debut their casino in the spring of 2020.

Read More on the Story
Casino in Springfield pulls in $9.5 million from gambling in first week (The Associated Press September 18, 2018)
Casinos' August slot revenues down 1 percent; MGM Springfield reports first numbers (The New London Day September 17, 2018)
Slot revenue at Foxwoods drops 2% (The Norwich Bulletin September 12, 2018)

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