Posted on: January 30, 2021, 01:02h.
Last updated on: January 29, 2021, 11:58h.
Foxwoods Resort Casino paid more than $700,000 out of its own pocket in order to meet its gaming revenue share obligation with the State of Connecticut.
The Mashantucket Pequot Indian Tribe’s state gaming compact requires Foxwoods to share 25 percent of its slot machine revenue with the state. The minimum payment is $80 million in each fiscal year.
Through six months of the 2021 fiscal year, which began July 1, Foxwoods’ gross gaming revenue (GGR) from its slot machines totaled $157.13 million. Its 25 percent tax liability on that figure equates to $39,283,234.
The tribe’s memorandum of understanding mandates that the least amount the Foxwoods casino can deliver the state every six months is $40 million, half of the annual gaming share minimum. The Day newspaper reports that the Mashantucket tribe made up the difference — $716,766.
Mohegan Sun, owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe, is bound by identical gaming compact terms. Mohegan Sun contributed $57.5 million on more robust slot play at its casino during the six-month period.
Slot Revenue Continues Falling
The days of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods holding a monopoly on casino gambling in New England are long gone. Today, there are casinos in neighboring Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and upstate New York.
With closer options, New Englanders don’t travel to the two Connecticut tribal casinos in the masses that they once did. Slot revenue, and the state’s cut, have declined as a result.
2006 was the best year on record for Connecticut in terms of gaming tax revenue received. The government collected roughly $433.6 million in slot machine money. In 2020, that figure plummeted to $164.2 million.
Even prior to the pandemic, Connecticut was receiving far fewer slot dollars than it once did. The state collected $245.4 million in 2019.
State Considering Gaming Expansion
Despite the 2020 hardships, executives at the two Connecticut casinos are optimistic that business will return once the coronavirus is better contained and the vaccine sufficiently distributed.
“Looking beyond the virus, we remain positive, as our business has been optimized to benefit from what we foresee to be significant pent-up demand for leisure consumption in the months and years ahead,” Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE) said in a filing with the SEC.
Along with visitors returning, the tribes could see revenues improve by way of expanded gambling. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) voiced his support in December for allowing the tribes to conduct sports betting and online casino gambling.
This feels like the stars are aligning,” explained Mashantucket Pequot Chair Rodney Butler.
In December, the tribes jointly folded on their proposed satellite casino in East Windsor. The gaming project was conceived in order to prevent Connecticut residents in the central and western part of the state from traveling across the border to MGM Resorts’ $960 million casino in Springfield.
Instead of East Windsor, the tribes and state lawmakers are now focusing on sports betting and online gaming, two things Massachusetts does not have.