Friday, January 23, 2009

The Tribe In The News: Mohegan Sun Rakes In Most Slot Revenue On East Coast Despite Profit Concerns

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This installment of the The Tribe In The News series is an article from The Day newspaper on the rankings of East Coast casinos by slot machine revenue.

Region's 2008 slots wins lead East Coast pack
By Brian Hallenbeck
The Day
January 23, 2009

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino continued to rake in far more slot-machine revenue than any other East Coast location last year, according to a report by a research firm that monitors the gaming industry.

Mohegan Sun's $842.9 million in 2008 slot winnings puts it first among the 41 state-regulated casinos, racinos and slot parlors listed in the Gaming Industry Observer's East Coast Slot Report, which came out this week. The report is published by the Linwood, N.J.-based Spectrum Gaming Group.

Foxwoods, which includes MGM Grand at Foxwoods, ranks second in the listing, with 2008 winnings of $728.1 million.

The totals for Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods reflect year-over-year declines of 6.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. In fact, virtually all of the established sites on the list experienced year-over-year declines, particularly the 11 Atlantic City casinos, which, collectively, took in 12.3 percent less than they did in 2007.

Still, East Coast slot machines generated $9.65 billion in winnings, up 3.7 percent over 2007, an increase attributable to the introduction of new gaming venues and expansions, the report says.

”Without exception, the only operations that posted revenue growth were either newer, recently improved or expanded, and/or enjoyed some form of legislative or regulatory relief in 2008 that allowed enhanced marketing,” Bill LaPenta, Spectrum's director of financial analysis, said in a press release accompanying the report.

After Connecticut's casinos, the highest-grossing facility was Empire City at Yonkers (N.Y.) Raceway, a racino that features horse racing, live and via simulcasts, as well as slots. Empire City, which introduced slots in October 2006, had $486.5 million in slot winnings last year. Twin River in Lincoln, R.I., a racino featuring greyhound racing in addition to simulcast horse racing and slots, had slot winnings of $407.5 million last year.

Not surprisingly, the report shows a strong link between winnings and the number of slot machines. The Foxwoods casinos operated an average of 7,736 machines per day during 2008, the most of any East Coast location. Mohegan Sun was next, with 6,300 machines and Empire City was third with 5,339.

The 41 locations operated 109,656 slot machines at year's end, the report says. Each machine won, on average, $245 a day, a decline of 4.8 percent over 2007. Philadelphia Park, a racino in Bensalem, Pa., generated the highest daily win per machine at $386, followed by The Meadows, a racino in Washington, Pa., near Pittsburgh, and Mohegan Sun at $366 each. Foxwoods' daily win per machine was $257.

On average, East Coast slot machines paid out 91.13 percent of the money wagered on them, according to the report. Delaware Park, a Wilmington, Del., racino, offered the highest average payout at 92.53 percent, followed by The Borgata in Atlantic City, 92.29 percent, and Monticello (N.Y.) Raceway, 92.25 percent.

The report does not include results from the 14 tribal casinos in Florida, New York and North Carolina, which do not make their gaming revenues public.