Online betting and sportsbooks have added a nearly one-third premium to slot revenue generated by Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun casinos since expanding gambling in Connecticut last year, encouraging officials tribals who fought to strengthen their gambling businesses.
Revenue is a much-needed boost for casinos battling inflation, especially as gas nears $5 a gallon, making players think twice about heading to casinos .
“We’re tracking better than we thought,” said Rodney Butler, president of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates Foxwoods.
The two casinos together generated $126.2 million in online gambling revenue from October through May, according to the state Department of Consumer Protection. Sports betting brought in another $48.6 million. Both forms of play represent a 31% premium to slot revenue of nearly $559 million in the same eight months.
“We are following the plan,” Rich Roberts, president of Mohegan Digital told the Mohegan Sun. “It meets our expectations.”
More money, always welcome, is particularly helpful as soaring inflation keeps some casino visitors at home. Phone apps, tablets, and laptops offer players a way to fulfill their interest without changing location.
“Gambling is always a leading indicator of the economy,” Butler said. “The price of gas matters. Foot traffic began to slow. »
Foxwoods slot revenue generated by casino visitors fell more than $700,000, or 2%, from March to April. The decline accelerated to $1.2 million from April to May, down 4%.
Slot revenue also fell in the same two months at Mohegan Sun.
Roberts said Mohegan Sun customers use the casino’s brand through the app “and then walk into the property.”
“What we see is our overall plan kicking in,” he said. “Digital is an extension of retail.”
David Sacco, professor of finance and economics at the University of New Haven, said the threat of recession could have a bigger impact on casinos than inflation. But sports bettors are unaffected by recessions, shrugging off economic downturns to seek lucrative opportunities tied to their favorite teams, he said.
Players have to make a “relatively large commitment” to go to a casino, but anecdotal evidence indicates that players are going online “to empower themselves,” Sacco said.
The state has a stake in casino revenue, claiming more than $30 million in tax revenue from October through May for online gambling, sports betting and retail sports betting run by the lottery. Connecticut also collected $80.5 million as a share of casino slot revenue this year.
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Income diversification was a key argument in the battle to bring gambling and sports betting to laptops, phones and tablets, Butler said.
“That’s all we discussed, why we needed it,” he said. “It balances everything.”
Governor Ned Lamont, whose administration negotiated gambling expansion last year with the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots, had said he wanted to update Connecticut gambling rules that previously did not allow gambling. online access. He also lobbied for sports betting as a way to compete with other states for revenue.
As gambling has grown, so too have bettors struggling with addiction and financial issues. Calls and online chat communications with the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling have increased an average of nearly 150% since October. the organization does not disclose the number of calls and chats.
Executive director Diana Goode said advisers were hearing for the first time from players who did not report a problem but expected to get into trouble due to an inability to stop playing.
“It’s not a problem, but it will be,” she said. “Ease of access can really run into issues. Before, you had to get up and go out. We had to think about it. Now you don’t need to think about it anymore.
Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]