These Two Factors Took A Toll On Connecticut Tribal Casinos In January

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New England casinos were the beneficiaries of an unseasonably warm December, but they weren’t as fortunate in January.

The return of typical New England weather, coupled with the addition of the MGM Springfield and relocation of Newport Grand to Twin River Tiverton led to mixed revenue results at the region’s existing casinos.

The declines at the Connecticut casinos are largely the result of cannibalization from the new properties, MGM Springfield and Twin River Tiverton.

That said, total slot and table game revenue was up across the region (thanks to the addition of the new casinos).

Rhode Island sports betting is firing on all cylinders

The fledgling sports betting industry in Rhode Island added another $160,000 to the total revenue tally.

The paltry revenue numbers belie Rhode Island’s sports betting performance.

Sportsbooks across the country reported subpar January revenue numbers (it happens), so the $160,000 in revenue off of nearly $20 million in handle is well below the normal expected outcome. In a normal month (with around a five percent hold), Rhode Island sports betting revenue would have been around $1 million.

West Virginia, a state with a population double Rhode island and online sports betting, generated just $17 million in handle in January.

So how is Rhode Island doing it?

Being first to market coupled with the small size of the state. A significant percentage of Connecticut and Massachusetts residents live in close proximity to Rhode Island’s two Twin River properties, which explains Twin River’s outsized slot and table game numbers, as well as Rhode Island punching above its weight when it comes to sports betting revenue.

A closer look at New England slot revenue

New England slot revenue January 2019:

  • Mohegan Sun Casino – CT: $40,708,275
  • Foxwoods Casino – CT: $31,032,368
  • Twin River Lincoln – RI: $32,468,284
  • MGM Springfield – MA: $13,096,336
  • Plainridge Park Casino – MA: $12,379,114
  • Twin River Tiverton – RI: $7,329,500
  • Oxford Casino – ME: $5,288,251
  • Hollywood Casino – ME: $2,630,360

Here’s how each facility stacks up:

 # Slot MachinesAverage RTP
MGM Springfield2,55092%
Plainridge Park1,20092%
Foxwoods4,10092%
Mohegan Sun4,80092%
Twin River Lincoln4,20092%
Twin River Tiverton1,00092%
Oxford Casino95090%
Hollywood Casino72590%

A closer look at New England table game revenue

Table game revenue January 2019:

  • Twin River Lincoln – RI: $12,831,054
  • MGM Springfield – MA: $6,601,717
  • Twin River Tiverton – RI: $2,136,454
  • Oxford Casino – ME: $1,271,179
  • Hollywood Casino – ME: $535,163

Here’s how each facility stacks up:

 # Table Games# of Poker Tables
MGM Springfield12023
Plainridge ParkN/AN/A
Foxwoods250100
Mohegan Sun30042
Twin River Lincoln93 +48 Stadium Games23
Twin River Tiverton32+18 Stadium GamesN/A
Hollywood Casino184
Oxford Casino28N/A

The New England casino market is a tough one to analyze

The New England casino industry is a work in progress.

In the past year the region has seen:

The changes make year-over-year comps extremely difficult, and it’s only going to get tougher.

The opening of Encore Boston Harbor is just months away, and the continued spread of sports betting (retail and online) is inevitable across the region.

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State-by-state casino revenue breakdown

Massachusetts

MGM Springfield is being framed as something of a flop, but that seems to have more to do with outsized expectations (partly due to MGM’s own projections) and mass media framing month-over-month changes as significant.

The truth of the matter is that we won’t know what MGM Springfield is capable of until the summer.

As I wrote when it opened, the property seems to lack an identity, and that’s something MGM won’t be able to get to work on until the weather changes and the full scope of the property (particularly the outdoor entertainment and gathering spaces) can be utilized.

Connecticut

Connecticut’s two tribal casinos took a beating in January.

Considering Plainridge and Twin River are holding steady Y/Y, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun appear to not only have lost customers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island to MGM Springfield, they’re also losing Connecticut customers.

The current cannibalization is only going to get worse when Encore Boston Harbor opens.

Rhode Island

It’s certainly not the swankiest property in the region, but Twin River Lincoln could very well be the most successful.

Twin River’s slot revenue surpassed Foxwoods in January. And in a month when most casinos saw revenues dip Y/Y, Twin River’s slot and table game revenue were up.

Maine

Maine’s two casinos remain unaffected by the expansion in southern New England, with revenues falling within historical norms.

 

Steve Ruddock

About

Steve Ruddock is an avid poker player and a veteran member of the gaming media. His primary focus is on the regulated US online casino and poker markets. He writes for numerous online and print publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

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