Twin River cites winter weather for VLT revenue drop

Twin River cites winter weather for VLT revenue drop

LINCOLN - Though revenues from Twin River Casino's video lottery terminals have been declining in this fiscal year, officials are confident the cause is bad weather and not a trend in business.

Patti Doyle, Twin River spokeswoman, said while the Lincoln casino has seen a 1.3 percent decrease in VLT revenue in the past year, casinos in Connecticut have seen a drop of 5 percent.

"We believe the slight decline is due largely to a number of snowstorms this past winter, which impacted customer visitation, as well as a softening in the market throughout the region," Doyle said. "Believe it or not, when Boston teams such as the Patriots and Red Sox do well, we also tend to be impacted a bit."

Especially during the campaign to bring table games to Twin River last summer, officials said VLT play would increase alongside games like roulette and craps as couples or groups of friends with different gaming interests head to the casino together.

This seemed to be a selling point during the campaign, as Lincoln would receive nothing from table gaming revenue, but maintain its collection of 1.45 percent of VLT dollars annually.

Doyle said the casino is seeing the companion play factor in action.

"We're optimistic about how we will end the year," she said, adding that Twin River's performance compared to its Connecticut counterparts shows "we are doing a good job of managing a challenging economy and a difficult weather season."

VLT revenue to Lincoln peaked in Fiscal Year 2012 with $6.99 million, Lincoln Finance Director John Ward said, noting that there was $162,000 less in FY2013. With three quarters worth of data available for FY2014, Ward said the figures are down $59,000 from the same quarters in the previous year.

The town implemented a $5.2 million cap to the VLT commissions in 2009, with the excess funneled into a capital program fund, which has seen $5.78 million collected cumulatively since the start. The capital project fund has been budgeted with a $2 million increase in the next fiscal year.