Connecticut slot revenue down again amid growing competition
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Revenue generated by slot machines at Connecticut’s two casinos continued a steady decline in June, down for the 12th consecutive month amid new regional competition.
Foxwoods Resort Casino reports it made $35.3 million in slot machine revenue last month, almost 12% less than the $40.1 million it kept the previous June.
Mohegan Sun made $46.9 million last month, down from $49.4 million in June 2018.
The casinos give 25% of that win to the state under Connecticut’s gambling compact.
In the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30, the state’s share was $255.2 million, down more than 6% from the previous fiscal year. It has been dropped steadily since 2007, when the state took in $430.5 million.
State budget officials anticipate it will fall to $221 million by 2020, as regional casinos such as the MGM Springfield, which opened last August and the Encore Boston Harbor, which opened last month, become more established.
“The declining slot revenues are a reflection of increased competition in the region,” David Bednarz, a spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont, said Wednesday. “The administration remains committed to exploring realistic opportunities to increase gaming revenue for the state while at the same time leveraging potential gaming expansion in ways that will foster and complement a broader and more comprehensive economic development strategy.”
The Mohegan and Mashantucket tribes are hoping that means reaching a deal that would allow sports and online betting in Connecticut and would let them open a third jointly-run casino planned for East Windsor.
Others want the state to consider a fourth casino in Bridgeport.
New York on Tuesday joined a growing list of states, including New Jersey and Rhode Island in allowing sports wagering.
Chuck Bunnell, chief of staff for the Mohegan Tribal Council, said Connecticut must do something soon to remain competitive.
“A lot of smart people in a lot of different powerful places are looking at this and working together to figure out what we can do together to protect Connecticut, Connecticut jobs and revenue that funds much needed services for people in need in our state,” he said.
Democratic Sen. Cathy Osten, of Sprague, whose district includes both Connecticut casinos, is among those pushing for a special legislative session on casinos.
She said it’s not only about preserving the revenue coming to the state, but about maintaining the thousands of jobs at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun and creating more of them in the state.
“We should have done this two years ago,” she said. “I’m concerned about it. I think people are only now beginning to understand that this is something we have to do. We have to get this done. These casinos have been a salvation for the state of Connecticut and I think we should get this done.”