As Connecticut casinos begin to report their earnings for fiscal year 2021, a more robust picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic emerges.
In the case of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, it is clear that their decision to open up earlier than other casinos in the Northeast was a lucrative one.
Even with June 2021 revenue numbers actually lower than the same month last year, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods collected $800.7 million during the past fiscal year — nearly $38 million above the 2020 totals.
CT casino revenue actually down from June 2020
For June 2021, Foxwoods reported slots earnings of $29.4 million, while Mohegan Sun clocked in at $40.9 million. Surprisingly, these figures were decidedly lower than the revenue each property pocketed in June 2020. Even with casinos that month dealing with COVID-19 safety protocols, public hesitation and restrictive travel bans.
Looking at the year-over-year comparison, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun earned $33.6 million and $45.5 million, respectively, this time last year. This 10% to 13% decline, while certainly unexpected, can be explained in a number of ways.
Both casinos reopened their doors June 1, 2020, after closing for 11 weeks. Competing establishments in the Northeast continued to remain shuttered. This funneled customers through the doors at the only available casinos in the region: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
Jeff Hamilton, Mohegan Sun’s president and general manager, commented on the year-over-year comparison.
“If you look at last June, it’s very difficult to compare,” Hamilton told The Day. “We were just coming out of the worst of the pandemic and nothing else was open. Market conditions were very, very different than this June.”
Though the numbers were down in June 2021, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun enjoyed three straight months of revenue increases for their slot games through May. That month, the best for slots since the beginning of the pandemic, Mohegan Sun raked in $44.9 million from their slots games, and Foxwoods a respectable $32.7 million.
Significant state contributions from Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun weathered a fair bit of criticism for choosing to re-open during the height of the pandemic. This despite taking exhaustive measures to ensure a sanitary and safe playing environment for visitors. It seems that their “gamble” paid off.
Importantly, slot revenue generated from these two casinos led to significant revenue to the state of Connecticut that otherwise would have been reduced to zero.
Both CT casinos contribute 25% of their slot revenue to the state. In June alone, despite being a relatively down month financially, Foxwoods ponied up $7.3 million, while Mohegan Sun kicked in a whopping $10.2 million.
While lower than last fiscal year, any contribution is significant for the Connecticut state budget. After all, the state had taken a massive hit as a result of the pandemic. To illustrate the value of the casinos’ contributions, in fiscal year 2019 (pre-COVID), Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods together contributed over $255 million to the Connecticut general fund. For 2021, that contribution came in at just shy of $200.2 million.