Revenue figures for PA slot machine operators released this week by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) show Valley Forge continuing to crush, making big year-over-year gains, with Sands’ unlucky October continuing into November.
In all, the Keystone State’s 12 gambling venues combined for a total of $183 million in slot proceeds last month, a 1% increase over the same timeframe last year.
Top level overview of November slot revenue
- November total: $183,069,177
- Y/Y change: +.96%
- M/M change: -1.71%
- YTD total: $2,167,044,769
- Total Y/Y change: +.86%
Valley Forge and the gift that keeps on giving
October 31 marked the first anniversary of Valley Forge opening its casino floor to the general public. Before the state’s wide-ranging gambling expansion bill was passed last year, Category 3 casinos like Valley Forge and Lady Luck Nemacolin were forced to charge non-hotel guests a fee for the privilege of playing at their on-property casinos.
But unlike Lady Luck, Valley Forge took advantage of a stipulation in the bill which removed that restriction for the price of $1 million. Since then, the property’s gambling profits have been consistently on the rise, more than covering the seven-figure initial startup fee.
In fact, compared with the same time period one year prior, the casino made just over $8 million more in slot revenue, most of which can likely be attributed to the new entrance policy.
In November, the venue saw its biggest year-over-year gains since the policy went into effect (+18.8%), and took in $7.4 million.
Lady Luck, for its part, has yet to follow suit and pay the fee, something it might want to consider, being that it saw a 2.5% decrease in slot profits last month, while consistently ranking as the lowest-earning PA casino.
Sands suffers again
Sands Bethlehem usually plays second fiddle only to Parx in terms of overall casino revenue in the Commonwealth. That said, in October, the property had the unfortunate distinction of taking the biggest year-over-year losses of any casino in the state (-11.3%). So far, November numbers haven’t given property execs any reason to celebrate either, with the casino taking a -6.5% Y/Y hit on slot revenue, banking $22.5 million total.
2018 has been somewhat of a disappointment for Sands in terms of slot earnings. Last year, through November, the property posted a $277.8 million slot win, while this year’s take is $4.6 million lighter. With table games added into the mix, the casino is down around $20 million total compared with its 2017 haul.
Only one casino performed worse year-over-year than Sands in November. Mohegan Sun was the biggest loser, dropping 7.7%, for a total win of $14.6 million.
Sports bettors and slots at Penn National
Last month, Hollywood Casino gained the honor of becoming the first PA property to launch a legal sports book in the state, opening the doors of its temporary facility on November 15.
Sports betting is normally considered to be a low-margin vertical, yet Pennsylvania regulators are charging a massive $10 million licensing fee and an eye-watering 36% tax on gross gaming revenue. With such an outrageous fee structure in place, it’s widely believed that PA casinos that participate will make little money off sports wagering, and instead are hoping to simply keep up with competitors or draw new customers into the property in the hopes that they move over to traditional casino games.
So did that actually happen at Penn National in November? Well, we only have about two weeks of data to play with, but it does seem possible that sports wagering has helped Hollywood’s slot revenue bottom line.
Last month, Penn posted a $15.8 million slot win, which comes out to about a .7% Y/Y decrease. However, the damage could have been worse. In October, the casino took a 6.9% hit on slot revenue, while showing a 3.7% decrease in September.
Of course, we are only dealing with half a month of sports bets, and the movement could simply signify normal fluctuations. In the next few months we should have a clearer picture as to whether sports is moving the needle for Hollywood’s other gambling verticals.
Total November 2018 slot revenue