Mass. oldest and newest casinos struggle, Connecticut stops slide


massachusetts-newest-oldest-casinos-strugglingMassachusetts’ newest and oldest casinos struggled to make a buck in October, while MGM Resorts’ property had its best showing in six months.

Figures released Friday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission showed the MGM Springfield casino generated gaming revenue of $21.2m in October, about $1m shy of October 2018’s result but the property’s best showing since May 2019. The $1m decline was entirely due to MGM’s table games, as slots revenue reported a mild bump.

Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor has been claiming the lion’s share of the state’s table game action since its late-June opening, but the property had its worst table showing to date at $23.5m, down by $3.5m from September. The slide negated Encore’s best slots showing to date ($22.3m), leaving total gaming revenue around $3.1m below September’s figure.

Things were even grimmer at Plainridge Park Casino, the slots-only venue run by Penn National Gaming (PNG). Plainridge’s gaming revenue totaled a mere $11.25m, about $300k less than the previous month and nearly $2.3m less than it earned in October 2018. It’s the lowest full-month total since the property opened in June 2015.

The impact of Wynn’s “heavy promotional spending” to introduce Encore to Massachusetts gamblers has had an undeniable impact on Plainridge’s visitation and was blamed for PNG failing to meet its Q3 earnings target. PNG execs said they expected the worst-case top-line impact on Plainridge from Encore’s opening would be in the “low-teen percentage” but admitted last month that “it’s been closer to 20%.”

Speaking of poaching customers, MGM Springfield was expected to siphon off gamblers from neighboring Connecticut’s two tribal casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. And sure enough, slots revenue at both Connecticut venues had been on a downward trajectory since MGM Springfield’s mid-2018 opening.

Well, stop the presses, because the slide is over. On Friday, Mohegan Sun reported slots revenue of $43.7m in October, up 2.6% from the same month last year. Foxwoods reported both a smaller slots take ($34.4m) and a smaller year-on-year rise (0.4%) but a win is a win, right?

Well, maybe not. Both properties also reported falling slots handle, with Mohegan Sun down 3.3% to $528.4m while Foxwoods dipped 1.4% to $430m. Neither venue shares its table game figures, as their gaming compacts with the state require them to only remit a share of slots proceeds.