The end of 2019 brought some bad news for Connecticut’s casinos with revenues dropping at both of the state’s locations. The two tribal run casinos, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s (MGE) Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, which is operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, report a modest decrease throughout 2019.
However, the year-on-year decreases still make for concerning reading as competition from outside of Connecticut continues to eat into their business. A bad year for business. According to a report in The New London-based paper The Day, net revenues at both casinos were down for the financial year ending Sept. 30.
According to that report, Mohegan Sun’s net revenues for the fiscal year were $992 million, 7.2% lower than the $1.07 billion it took in the previous fiscal year.
Elsewhere Foxwoods’ net revenues were down by a total of 5% at $787.8 million, compared to the $828.9 recorded a year ago. It was not all bad news for Connecticut casinos however, with the announcement that Mohegan Sun’s parent company, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, posting overall net revenues of $1.39 billion - an increase of 2.4% year-on-year.
The employment records for both locations also made for concerning reading, with evidence that the casinos were cutting costs in the face of falling revenues. According to the report from The Day Mohegan Sun employed 4,500 full time staff and a further 2,000 seasonal, part time and on-call employees as of Sept. 30. That represents a significant decrease from the same period a year earlier when the casino employed 4,810 full-time staff and 2,140 other staff.
The story was similar at Foxwoods, which currently employs 5,144, down from the 5,700 employed the previous year. The fact that both casinos are cutting their payrolls suggests that they are beginning to feel the effects of the slumping revenue.
So what’s causing the slowdown at Connecticut’s casinos?
Increasing competition is partly to blame for decreases. In particular, Massachusetts’ MGM Springfield (opened in August 2018) and Wynn Resorts’ $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino (opened in June 2019) are being pointed as significant factors in the Connecticut casinos’ poor performance.
Rhode Island and New Hampshire might also be pulling from Connecticut’s betting pool after each state passed legal sports betting bills. Opinions are divided in Connecticut about how to stem the tide. Some believe the solution is as simple as opening more casinos. Others see full-scale sports betting as the answer.