Mohegan Sun casinos report flat 3Q revenue, doubled profit on gambling rise, cost-cutting

A spike in slot machine and table game use and cost-cutting helped significantly boost third-quarter profit at the Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the parent company reported Wednesday.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority also credited falling debt for its improving finances.

Profit of $28.1 million for the quarter ended June 30 was double the results of the same quarter last year, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority reported. Revenue of $325 million was about flat.

Robert Soper, president of the gaming authority, said its use of debt for financing, or leverage, has declined to its lowest level since March 2008. The trend will continue as debt is repaid and cost-cutting continues, he said.

Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the gaming authority, cited a "continued focus on efficiency" that has contributed to lower costs.

"We've proven we can manage costs and market effectively in tough markets without chasing business and this is evident also in our bottom line," he said in a conference call with financial analysts.

Slot machine revenue of $142.2 million at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut was up about 3 percent from the third quarter of 2014. Table game revenue of about $11.8 million at the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, casino rose 12 percent.

The Mohegan Sun expects to choose a site for a new casino in north-central Connecticut by the time the legislature begins its 2016 session in February, Soper said. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state lawmakers enacted legislation this year establishing a multi-step process that could lead to a new tribal casino near the state line to better compete with casinos set to open in Massachusetts.

Casinos have struggled with debt that was difficult to repay during the recession and weak recovery due to falling consumer spending on entertainment. Intense competition has also undercut casino business.