Still Playing and Staying at Mohegan

Casinos show signs of life during recession.

We all know times are tough, but it might not seem like it by looking at the state's two casinos. 

Gambling numbers are down across the board, but people are still trying their luck and staying overnight. 

Mohegan Sun's hotel occupancy is actually up 3.2 percent in the first quarter of the 2009 fiscal year while occupancy fell for the quarter nationwide and tumbled by double digit percentages in the state.

So why is Mohegan seeming to defy the recession?

Well, for one thing, casinos tend to give away a lot of rooms, and have dropped their room rates to entice visitors. 

“We’re giving gamers more discounts to enjoy a mid-week getaway,” Joe Jiminez, senior vice president of casino marketing at Foxwoods, told the Norwich Bulletin.

Or maybe it's all got to do with Massachusetts.

Despite the economy, Massachusetts residents continue to flock to New England's casinos.

According to a report from the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, our neighbors to the north spent $709 million at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in 2008 and spent another $211 million at Rhode Island's two racinos. That figure is down from how much Bay Staters spent in the region, but it's still contributing.

”Even though Massachusetts residents have reduced their spending at the region's casinos over the last two years, spending by Massachusetts residents is still sustaining the region's gaming industry, especially in Connecticut and Rhode Island,” Clyde Barrow, director of the center, said in a statement to The New London Day.

That report could hurt Connecticut in the long run. 

Pro-casino forces in Massachusetts are likely to use it to try and lobby the state to license casinos in the Bay State, which could only stand to hurt business for us Nutmeggers.

Copyright NORBL - Norwich Bulletin
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