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Mohegan Sun casinos post fall in 4Q revenue as profit rises significantly on cost-cutting

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HARTFORD, Connecticut — Fourth-quarter revenue at the parent company of the Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania fell from the same period last year, but profit jumped significantly on cost-cutting, the casino operator announced Thursday.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates casinos in Uncasville, Connecticut, and Pocono Downs, Pennsylvania, posted revenue of $338.6 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30. That's down from $345.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Net income was $23.2 million, up from $4.8 million in the year-ago period.

"Our results for the fourth quarter, which reflect what appears to be a stabilizing revenue environment, are certainly encouraging," said Mitchell Grossinger Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.

However, the authority posted a $20.6 million loss for the year compared with a profit of $50.3 million for 2013. Revenue of $1.29 billion in the tribal authority's 2014 fiscal year was down slightly from $1.34 billion in 2013.

The Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and its neighbor, Foxwoods Resort Casino, have faced steadily falling revenue as competition in the Northeast becomes more intense and the weak economy is keeping gamblers from spending money.

Etess said consumer sentiment may be turning around as the stock market strengthens and gas prices fall, putting more money into gamblers' pockets.

"All those things together, we feel, are bringing it in," he told investor analysts on a conference call.

Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said the Mohegan Sun and Connecticut rival Foxwoods Resort Casino support a joint casino to compete with Massachusetts, but no specific proposal is being considered. Such a project might be in northern Connecticut near Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, about 20 miles from Springfield, Massachusetts, where MGM Resorts International is proposing an $800 million resort casino.

A few state lawmakers have raised the issue as a way to stem the state's falling share of revenue that accompanies a drop in slot machine revenue, he and Etess said.

"We're way out in front of the headlights to talk about what a joint venture would look like," Brown said.

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