And so it goes……according to Patricia Daddona of the Hartford Business Journal, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino saw their combined gaming revenue slide 7.5 percent between 2013 and 2015, but Connecticut still had the sixth largest tribal casino industry in the U.S., behind tribal casinos in California, Oklahoma, Florida, Washington and Arizona. Considering Connecticut has 2 compared to the rest with number far greater than two (California-69, Oklahoma – 124, Florida – 8, Washington – 32 and Arizona-25), the Mohegans and Pequots are getting along quite well.
This report is concerned with the years 2013-2015, but the CT casinos revenue decline since the recession of 2007 and before has been well documented.
This should be yet another wake-up call for speeding up the decision whether or not to build another casino or two, depending which bill (or both, or none,) are accepted. A reminder to the Nutmeg Legislators – that report’s stats reflected a time frame before Massachusetts’ first casino, after Rhode Island’s Twin River had begun table games, and Newport Slots moving to Tiverton.
Connecticut should take note of what happened to Atlantic City. AC did nothing when CT’s tribal casinos cut into revenue. AC did nothing when Pennsylvania and NY got into the game of casino expansion. Now, only seven casinos in AC remain. Just plug in CT for AC, switch PA & NY with RI, MA, & NY – same scenario?
The CT General Assembly has also urged legislators from Connecticut to approve the measure soon. Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the tribes, said: “When Rhode Island launched its industry, we did nothing. When New York got into the game, we did nothing. We’ve got a choice now, continue to do nothing, or fight and save good paying jobs.”
In recent years, the good news is that revenue has stabilized a bit in CT, more so at Mohegan Sun.
According to economist Dr. Alan Meister, “Indian gaming experienced strong growth in 2015, with revenues across the nation at reservation casinos surging 5.5 percent compared to 2014. It marks the fifth straight year Native American gambling income has increased, a stark contrast to Connecticut.”
Why that “stark contrast?” Saturation and convenience casinos. Connecticut’s loyal base is being pulled in every direction.
Rhode Island – Twin River still has no hotel, yet. Even though it is close to Providence, no hotel means it & Newport (moving to Tiverton) are both convenience casinos – albeit, TR is one mega-convenience casino! With hotels (Tiverton will include a hotel), they will become destination casinos, less than an hour away from CT’s tribal casinos.
Massachusetts – one slot parlor in Plainville, and two resorts with Wynn and MGM Springfield give CT reason to worry.
New York – there is still consideration for a casino to be built in the Meadowlands area outside of NYC. Just over the NY/CT border, there are now four casinos within a 20 minute drive, including the new Rivers casino just northwest of the CT/MA border.
Since the waiting game hasn’t paid off in the previous ten years, it certainly not the time to wait now.