The day of reckoning has come for Connecticut’s two gambling casinos as neighboring Massachusetts is a governor’s signature away from approving three, full-scale, resort casinos plus one additional slot parlor.
Just how much the new casinos in the Bay State will affect Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods—and when—is still in question. However, a report released in September by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Policy Analysis spells trouble for the casinos. The report, which delves into many areas of those who gamble in New England casinos, has some startling numbers that come even more into play now that Massachusetts has rolled the dice.
How many residents of Massachusetts and even Rhode Island will not be going to the Connecticut once the Massachusetts venues are built and operating? From the UMass-Dart report:
•In 2010, approximately 1 million Massachusetts residents visited Foxwoods Resort Casino and approximately 638,000 Massachusetts residents visited Mohegan Sun Casino (see Table 3). The number of Massachusetts visitors to Foxwoods Resort Casino increased by 3 percent from 2006, while the number of visitors to Mohegan Sun Casino increased by 12 percent over this period, although both figures have declined since 2008.
•In 2010, approximately 212,000 Rhode Island residents visited Foxwoods Resort Casino and approximately 132,000 Rhode Island residents visited Mohegan Sun Casino (see Table 3). The number of Rhode Island visitors to Foxwoods Resort Casino declined by 8 percent from 2006, while the number of visitors to Mohegan Sun Casino increased by 2 percent over this period.
Of course, the state of Connecticut has a vested interested in how well the two casinos do. The state gets a quarter cut of all slot revenue Mohegan and Foxwoods take in. State budget watchers should be concerned.