Trend Reversal Continues, As PA Slot Revenue Climbs While Table Games Falter

The PA casino industry has pulled a reverse in 2018, with slot revenue up consistently, and table games faltering.
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Revenue at Pennsylvania casinos was up just slightly in November, with the state’s 12 land-based gambling properties combining for $254 million, a 0.3% increase year-over-year.

Slot proceeds clocked in at a cool $183 million (+1% Y/Y), while table games contributed $71.2 million (-1.3% Y/Y).

The year-on-year contraction in table game revenue makes November the eighth month out of the year that the vertical has garnered less winnings than it did during 2017. The trend is surprising, due to the fact that last year, table games were on a hot streak, beating their Y/Y revenue totals during every month, save for February.

At the same time in 2017, slot operators were suffering, taking year-over-year losses for nine months out of the year. But 2018 has seen an increase in the popularity of the one-armed bandits, with slots making Y/Y gains during eight months so far this year.

Top-level November casino revenue rundown

  • November total: $254,355,932
  • Slots: $183,069,177
  • Table games: $71,286,755
  • Y/Y change: +0.31%
  • M/M change: +0.62%
  • YTD total: $2,971,323,852

Penn National casino win buoyed by sports betting?

PA now has three sportsbooks operating inside the state, but Penn National was the only one up and running in November. Today, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released the very first sportsbook revenue figures for the Keystone State. The numbers reveal that Penn National took in $1.4 million in total sports handle, for a gross revenue of $509k and a tax bill of $173k.

But did the sportsbook have any effect on casino revenue? When breaking down Penn National’s numbers for the year, it certainly seems possible that the sportsbook drove new players to nearby slot machines and table games.

In November, total revenue at Hollywood Casino was up by just a hair (+0.64%). However, that’s a much preferred outcome to the 6.2% contraction and 3.6% decrease it endured in October and September respectively.

While August was a positive month for the casino, July brought the worst results of the entire year, with the property absorbing a 7% Y/Y decrease. In total this year, Hollywood saw dips in eight months of the year, suggesting that the sportsbook may indeed already be boosting revenue for other casino games.

Rush Street properties Rivers Casino and SugarHouse where the other two venues to launch temporary sportsbooks in the state. The two debuted simultaneously last week, and are therefore not included in the November revenue report.

If Penn National is any indication, we expect that Rivers and SugarHouse will see a bump in casino revenue as well, due to increased foot traffic brought on by the sportsbooks. But it will be some time before we can properly gauge the impact of sports betting on casino gaming revenue.

Table game revenue winners and losers

As usual, Parx Casino led the pack in total revenue with $48.2 million. Sands and Rivers took the second and third spots with $40.3 million and $29.2 million respectively.

In terms of percentage gain, Presque Isle won the month with a 25.5% Y/Y table games increase. Harrah’s was close behind with a 23.4% bump, with Rivers gaining 15.4% Y/Y.

Lady Luck Nemacolin took a massive hit at the tables, suffering a 46.5% decrease compared with the same timeframe last year.

Lady Luck has so far not exercised its option to open up its casino floor to the general public. That privilege, which was written into law in 2017, comes at a cost of $1 million. Valley Forge, the state’s other resort-classified casino quickly paid the fee and has seen immediate and consistent gains ever since.

In fact, Valley Forge had yet another positive month in November, raking in 6% more than it did during the same time period in 2017. The gain is significant, considering that November 2017 was the first month in which the property welcomed non-guests into the casino for the first time.

In terms of overall revenue, Parx, Rivers and Valley Forge were the top three big gainers, posting Y/Y bumps of 9.8%, 9.6% and 6.1% respectively. Mohegan Sun had the unwelcome distinction of losing the most compared with its November 2017 total, taking in $17 million for an 11% year-on-year decrease.

November 2018 casino revenue totals

CasinoSlotsSlots Y/YTable GamesTable Games Y/YTotal Win
Sands Bethlehem$22,554,864.10-6.46%$17,763,193-11.68%$40,318,057
The Rivers$22,650,423.438.08%$6,566,23915.40%$29,216,662
Penn National$15,829,600.19-0.68%$2,979,2058.30%$18,808,805
Mohegan Sun$14,569,224.94-7.70%$2,467,812-26.15%$17,037,037
Mount Airy$11,227,162.44-5.05%$3,114,823-13.71%$14,341,985
Valley Forge$7,422,534.0418.83%$2,712,417-17.90%$10,134,951
Presque Isle$8,288,375.44-5.18%$1,255,62125.48%$9,543,996
Month Totals$183,069,1770.96%$71,286,755-1.31%$254,355,932

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