By Ken Davison
In an attempt to stem declines in slot revenues that first began to drop two years ago, the Mohegan Sun has been giving away free slot play since November 2007. Despite the promotion, the year over year slot revenue declines have continued.
Foxwoods began the free slot play promotion in September 2006, 14 months before Mohegan Sun began using the same promotion.
Mohegan Sun's slot machine revenue declined 14.6 percent in March (when compared to March 2007) despite giving away $2.3 million in free slot play to customers. The free slot play redeemed at Mohegan Sun in April was the highest amount given away since November 2008, when customers redeemed $2.7 million worth of free slot play.
Foxwoods gave out $4.3 million in free slot play during the month of March, the most it has given out since October 2008. Foxwoods slot machine revenue increased about 1 percent in March when compared to the month of March in the prior year.
Foxwoods has been much more agressive in its free slot play promotion. While Mohegan Sun has given away a total of about $37 million in free slot play over 17 months, for an average of $2.2 million per month, Foxwoods has given away about about $137 million over 34 months, averaging about $4 million per month in free slot play.
In the month of December 2007 alone, Foxwoods gave out $23 million in free slot play. The next highest monthly giveaway was last October, when Foxwoods gave out about $9 million in free play to its customers.
Both tribes are disputing the state of Connecticut's assertion that the state is due 25 percent of the coupon amount lost by customers in slot machines, the same percentage that the tribal casinos are required to pay the state on slot revenues. Both tribal casinos have deposited disputed amounts in an escrow account pending a court decision.
Note: A link to the 58-page compact between the Mohegan Tribe and the state of Connecticut has been posted on this site, just below the 'Tribal Calendar' section on the right-hand side of this website page. Tribal members may be interested in page 48 and 49 of the compact regarding the controversial health standards and alcoholic beverage regulations agreed upon by the parties.
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