Foxwoods Resorts Casino can recover just $2 million in coronavirus-related losses from its insurer Factory Mutual, a Connecticut superior court has court ruled. That’s just a fraction of the $76 million the casino’s owner, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, had sought.
The Pequots were among dozens of casino operators, along with countless other businesses, to sue insurance providers over the widespread denial of claims related to the pandemic.
The tribe argued the $76 million should have been covered under the “all risk” policy it held with Factory Mutual which insured Foxwoods for up to $1.6 billion.
While the tribe claimed bad faith and breach of contract, Factory Mutual argued that losses caused by “viruses and contamination” were specifically excluded from the casino’s policy.
Insurers Hold the Cards
According to The Wall Street Journal, the insurers have the upper hand in these lawsuits, so far winning around 80 percent of at least 200 pandemic-related cases.
Typically, insurers are arguing that claimants need to demonstrate their business and properties have suffered actual physical damage from the pandemic. And courts are agreeing that the temporary shuttering of a property doesn’t cause physical damage in the way that a fire or a hurricane might.
The Pequots try to show that costs caused by a virus are directly resulting from other physical damage not excluded,” the ruling states. But “they can’t escape the fact that their damage was directly caused by the virus, not some other covered cause.”
Better Than Nothing
But at least the Pequots are coming away with something. That’s because the operator purchased additional communicable disease coverage which included money for cleanup and for communications, as well as communicable disease interruption losses, all of which translates into a $2 million payout.
Meanwhile, America’s largest casino operator, Caesars Entertainment, is currently suing a group of 60 insurers for $2 billion who are refusing to pay, despite Caesars making $25 million in premiums towards “a top-of-the-line, all-risk policy portfolio.”
Virus Resurgent but So Are Slots Players
Despite boasting a highly vaccinated population, Connecticut has experienced a resurgence of COVID cases since mid-July because of the highly transmissible delta variant. This has caused Foxwoods to reimplement the mandatory wearing of facemasks for all workers, regardless of their vaccination status.
Nevertheless, the casino reported last week that its slots revenues had hit $36.5 million in July, its highest monthly take since before the pandemic. Foxwoods is benefitting from the pent-up demand that followed the state’s phased economic reopening over the spring and early summer.
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