PA table game revenue took a minor hit last month, with casino operators banking a total of $73,820,268, a 5.18% year-on-year decrease. With July slot machine earnings of $203,643,986 included in the mix, the state’s 12 casinos took in $277,464,254 total during the timeframe (-3.32% Y/Y).
With a few minor exceptions — last month being one of them — the table game vertical has been thriving over the past few years. In 2017, there was only one month during which earnings didn’t grow compared with the previous year. And in February 2018, casinos experienced an impressive 11.24% Y/Y bump at the tables. Total table game revenue for the year has already eclipsed half-a-billion dollars.
The trend was virtually the opposite on the slots side, with operators posting year-on-year decreases for nine months of the year in 2017.
As of late, though, slot machine play has been picking up in PA, with revenue far outpacing table games at nearly $1.4 billion so far this year.
Table games winners and losers
Sands Bethlehem was the clear winner in terms of straight revenue, banking $21,136,815 in earnings for a 2.52% Y/Y increase. Parx and SugarHouse trailed behind it, posting wins of $15,308,027 and $10,040,595 respectively.
All three casinos were amongst the first wave of operators to purchase a license to offer online table games, slots, and peer-to-peer poker, when iGaming goes live in the state.
While it sits on the lower end of the overall revenue spectrum, Valley Forge has been on a hot streak this year. In July, it experienced the biggest Y/Y bump of any PA casino (14.43%), taking in just over $3 million at the tables. With both slots and table games included, it boasted the biggest year-on-year gain of its competitors during the 2017/2018 fiscal year.
What’s behind the good fortune? The answer lies in the expanded gambling law passed last year. The bill not only legalizes online gambling, sports betting and satellite casinos, but also allows for non-hotel guests to play at casinos located on the property of venues classified as resorts (i.e. Nemacolin and Valley Forge).
On the flipside, several casinos experienced dramatic drops in table game revenue during the month. Mohegan Sun’s take decreased by a whopping 33.73%, while Harrah’s saw a decrease of nearly 30%. Nemacolin and Mount Airy were also big losers, posting table game contractions of 22.71% and 22.5% respectively.
Mohegan Sun recently felt another kind of financial sting, after it shelled out $12 million to offer the full suite of online gambling options allowed in the state. The thing is, since the casino failed to act in time, it overpaid for its trio of iGaming licenses by $2 million.
Regulators initially gave operators the chance to buy all three licenses at the “discount price” of $10 million if they acted within a certain window of time. After that point, properties could purchase permits piecemeal for $4 million each. It’s unclear why Mohegan Sun did not act in time, but its indecisiveness cost it a pretty penny.
All told, the state has locked up $110 million from online gambling licenses, with all but Nemacolin and The Meadows opting in to offer slots and table games.
At a cost of $10 million, sports betting licenses have been a tougher sell. During a recent PGCB meeting, we learned that only one casino, Penn National, has so far applied for a permit.
Parx and Sands’ new poker rooms not moving the needle
Both Parx and Sands completed major upgrades to their poker rooms this year, giving hope that the new digs would attract new players and grow the market overall. Earlier this month, we crunched the numbers, and found that overall poker revenue through June was down 5% from the same time period last year.
Things didn’t improve much in July, either, with PA cardroom operators taking in $4,803,695, a 7.26% Y/Y decrease. Sands contributed $900,087 of that total, which amounts to a 6.61% Y/Y drop. Parx saw red as well, raking in $1,473,559, a 3.23% decrease over July 2017.
Mount Airy, which recently revealed a partnership with poker behemoth PokerStars, took the biggest hit of the bunch. The property’s card room banked just $96,300, a significant 28.29% drop over last year. With PokerStars by its side, however, it is certainly possible that both on-property and online poker room revenue will see a big boost.
July 2018 table game totals
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