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Detroit’s big three see business dip

Jan 21, 2003 12:43 AM

FROM GT STAFF / WIRE REPORTS

Revenues at Detroit’s three casinos increased 12 percent last year, but business dropped off shortly in December.

"Right now, with the properties we have, it’s just flattened out," MotorCity Casino general manager Rhonda Cohen told the Detroit News. "I think we’ve tapped the market until more opulent casinos arrive."

The 2001 revenues at the Detroit casinos slightly exceeded $1 billion. One executive said the market might not rebound until 2006 when the casinos are to open hotels, add conference space and offer more gambling options.

Total income at the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity and Greektown casinos slipped three percent in December from the same period in 2001. It was the third consecutive month that revenues were down and represented the worst monthly drop since gaming broke into Detroit in 1999.

AC busy despite loss

Atlantic City casino revenues were down 10.5 percent from a year ago, but play was the second largest on record for a December.

"It’s difficult to make comparisons this year because of the tough winter and loss of the three-day holiday weekend," Christa Short, gaming analyst for Bear Stearns in New York told the New Jersey.com website out of Hackensack.

The 12 Jersey shore gaming houses, which constitute the nation’s second largest casino market behind Las Vegas, brought in $311.4 million. That figure was down from $347.9 million in 2001.

"It’s easier to hop in a car and drive to Atlantic City than to shell out $800 for airline tickets to Vegas," Short said. "Atlantic City is arguably less exposed in a weak economy."

Mohegan tops Foxwoods

For the first time, Mohegan Sun posted more slot-machine winnings than rival Foxwoods in December.

Mohegan, however, was aided by the fact that more than 1,700 machines were out of service at Foxwoods for 16 days.

"Having those machines off line for almost three weeks had a definite impact on our business, particularly when you consider that all but 378 of those were quarter denomination machines," said William Sherlock, Foxwoods’ president and CEO. "The quarter machines are our most popular and not having them available had a considerable impact on our business."

WNBA, Mohegan talking

The Hartford Courant reported last week that the Mohegan Sun is in negotiations with the Women’s National Basketball Association for a franchise this season.

"Things are going well," a casino official said. "But, there are several legal issues sthat take time to finalize.

The plan would be for a joint venture where home games would be split between the casino and the Hartford Civic Center. The teams would not be called the Suns.

Kansas senators unite

Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback are encouraging Kansas legislators to reject an attempt to pass a bill allowing the Wyandotte Nation to build a casino in Edwardsville.

The act could have negative repercussions for 1,300 Fairfax-area landowners affected by a Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma claim currently filed in federal court.