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Casino Slot Revenues Hammered by Weather

Slot machine revenues at Connecticut's two Indian casinos fell in January, according to monthly results reported to the state. At Eastern Connecticut’s two casinos, slot machine revenue fell last month as record snowfall depressed business. Other local enterprises were also hurt by the storms.

Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods reported slot machine revenue of $48.5 million for January, down 5.9 percent over the total for the same month in 2010. In the Uncasville section of Montville, slot revenues at Mohegan Sun were down 12 percent in January compared to January 2010. Slot revenues at Foxwoods in Mashantucket were down 6 percent. for the past five Januaries, both casinos have seen decreases in year-over-year revenues.

The property had increased its year-over-year slot revenue for four of the previous six months; therefore, the drop was particularly notable. When the casino had 2,000 fewer slot machines, its slot win of $48.5 million was the lowest for a January since 1997.

Foxwoods was convinced by the positive feedback from slot machine customers, which resulted in extending a ticket printing agreement with Hamden-based TransAct Technologies Inc. To all of the 1,100 slot machines at MGM Grand at Foxwoods, TransAct’s Epicentral system is being expanded from about 300 now.

Going from $5.2 million in December to $4.8 million in January, Foxwoods decreased its free slot play, usually a sign that business is stabilizing. Offering $5.7 million in free play for January compared with $3.4 million in December, Mohegan Sun went the other direction. Mohegan Sun gave away more slots play than Foxwoods and it was the first month in nearly a year.

During the month, Foxwoods operated 6,571 machines compared to Mohegan Sun's 6,372. For Mohegan Sun, the average was $276.11, while Foxwoods' machines averaged a daily win of $238.31.


Revel Casino Project Back From Dead

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Revel casino project in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is close to raising $1.15 billion to help complete construction, putting it on track to open in 2012, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The Journal said that Revel would get $850 million from a private placement that gives lenders a first-lien claim on the 1,100-room resort. According to the newspaper, in mezzanine financing, it would also obtain $300 million.

Revel is projected to contain 1,900 to 3,800 hotel rooms, 150,000 sq ft. of gaming space, 500,000 sq ft. of entertainment space. At 47 stories (710 ft), the hotel tower is the tallest structure in Atlantic City and the second tallest in the state of New Jersey. The property will house a 5,000-seat arena, 40 "upscale" retail shops and 20 restaurants. In the United States, the tower is also the second tallest casino tower.

Mr. Christie, a Republican who built a reputation on spending cuts, hopes to revitalize the economy by slashing the regulation. Christie also signed bills, which should result in a much larger sports betting industry that could rival that of Las Vegas and allow exchange betting in the state. An Atlantic City tourism district is being created by Christie, which is aimed at making the area more appealing to visitors.

The unfinished Revel Casino project is one of the casinos that will benefit the most from Christie’s actions. The credit markets dried up and Revel Entertainment Group ran out of funding for the project, in the height of the recession, which resulted in stalling the construction in January of 2009. In 2012, the casino resort was slated to open, but without the funding, completion of the casino no longer seemed a certainty.

Political leaders, who have anguished about Atlantic City's loss of its monopoly on East Coast gambling, get fresh hope after the project's resurrection since December. However, some analysts and operators fear that an already depressed gambling market will be cannibalized by resuming construction on Revel.

The outcome for Morgan Stanley will not change the outcome by infusion. The project was spear headed by Morgan Stanley and it wrote down nearly its entire $1.2 billion investment. The New York firm will cash out with a mere $30 million, as a part of the restructuring.