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Casinos' slots 'win' tumbles again in September

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published October 16. 2012 4:00AM
Foxwoods announces bondholders' support for debt restructuring

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun on Monday reported significant year-over-year declines in their September slot-machine revenues.

At Foxwoods, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, the slots "win" - the amount of wagers the casino keeps after paying out prizes - totaled $46.3 million last month, a 13 percent decline over September 2011. Mohegan Sun's win last month, $54.7 million, was down 8.5 percent over the same month a year earlier.

Also Monday, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns Foxwoods, announced a milestone in its bid to restructure $2.2 billion in debt. In a press release, the tribe said a sufficient number of bondholders have signed a restructuring support agreement, or RSA, reached between the tribe and steering committees for each of several classes of creditors.

"As of today," the tribe said, "holders of 84 percent of the outstanding principal amount of special revenue obligation bonds, 90 percent of the outstanding principal amount of subordinated special revenue obligation bonds, and 72 percent of the outstanding principal amount of 8.5 percent notes have executed the RSA.

"The tribe is continuing to work toward implementing its plan in accordance with the agreement."

The RSA required the support of holders of 50.1 percent of the SROs and SSROs and holders of 66.7 percent of the 8.5 percent notes.

"Reaching our RSA threshold is a significant milestone, one that is testament to the hard work and thoughtfulness that all of our constituents put into the restructuring," Scott Butera, Foxwoods' president and chief executive officer, said. "We can now move ahead confidently with our strategic plan, which focuses on maximizing our long-term profitability in this challenging economic and competitive environment."

The success of the restructuring plan hinges in part on Foxwoods' ability to tap new revenue streams in the face of growing competition for the gaming dollar.

September's slots numbers, the last of the casinos' 2012 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2011, show Foxwoods' slots win for the year was down 6.4 percent, falling from $636.7 million in fiscal 2011 to $595.7 million in fiscal 2012.

Over the same period, Mohegan Sun's slots win declined 5.0 percent, dropping from $710.9 million in fiscal 2011 to $675.1 million in fiscal 2012.

"These are the results of some of the same trends we have been seeing," Mitchell Etess, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's chief executive officer, said of September's decline in slots revenue. Late last month, Etess cited the effects of recessionary trends and growing competition from Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct racetrack in New York City in explaining Mohegan Sun's need to lay off more than 300 employees.

Resorts World again posted more slots revenue than either of the Connecticut casinos, reporting a September win of $57.5 million.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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