Ahead of legalized sports betting and online gambling, Pennsylvania’s land-based casino industry is showing positive signs.
Last month, the state’s 12 gambling venues banked $275,010,802, a 2.82% increase over the same timeframe in 2017. The solid win throughout August was mostly driven by a rare growth in slot machine revenue, which topped out at $201,729,431, a 4.42% year-on-year (Y/Y) expansion. Table game revenue, released this week by the PGCB, was down slightly compared with last year, with casinos taking in $73,281,371 for a 1.33% Y/Y decrease.
The healthy August numbers were enough to push PA casinos past the $2 billion mark for the year, up to $2,195,658,215 to be exact. Removing their 54% chunk of slot revenue and 16% of table games, regulators have raked in somewhere in the vicinity of $900 million in casino gaming taxes so far this year.
The Meadows and Lady Luck see red
The Meadows, one of only two casinos to forgo purchasing some category of online gambling license, had a disastrous month on the table games front, posting a year-on-year loss of nearly 59%. The property, recently acquired by Penn National, banked just $1,437,556 in August, less than half of its July take. However, with slots included, total gaming revenue at Hollywood Casino was down just 4.91% Y/Y.
Resort property Lady Luck Nemacolin had a similarly ugly month, with most of its losses coming at the tables. The Category 3 casino — the other property to opt out of online gaming — saw a 25% Y/Y decrease at the tables for a total take of $300,906. In terms of total gaming revenue, the casino was down 4.19% compared with August 2017.
Following Valley Forge’s example
Lady Luck might do well to follow the example of Valley Forge, which spent $1 million for the right to open its casino floor to the general public. The option was made available by the wide-ranging gaming bill passed late last year, but has not been taken advantage of by Lady Luck.
Valley Forge, on the other hand, has seen its revenue bolstered since making the investment. From the time the policy went into effect last November, the property has reaped nearly $11 million more than it did during the same timeframe last year, an 11.27% gain. Valley Forge revenue was up 6.93% in August, to $10,683,577.
The casino plans to take even more advantage of the new expanded gambling laws, recently announcing it would add an additional 250 slot machines to its facility (for a fee of $2.5 million). What’s more, Boyd Gaming, which recently finalized its purchase of the property, announced this week that in addition to opening an online casino, it would be exploring plans to purchase a sports betting license. The gaming giant already has a partnership deal in place with DFS-behemoth FanDuel, which has been busy inking sportsbook deals throughout the U.S.
Apart from Lady Luck and the Meadows, Mohegan Sun, Presque Isle, Mount Airy, Valley Forge and Sands Bethlehem all performed poorly at the tables in August, failing to beat their 2017 totals.
On the flipside, there were five casinos that did beat their previous-year table game figures. Penn National showed the biggest gains (+16.71%), with Rivers up 15.67% and SugarHouse up 11.4%.
The poker report
While total slot and table game revenue has been trending mostly positive for several months, the same cannot be said for the state’s poker rooms. August marks the fifth month in a row in which PA card rooms have posted year-on-year decreases.
Not even Parx or Sands’ lavish new poker rooms have been able to grow the market. Parx has only experienced two months of Y/Y growth since opening its new room, eking out only a .08% gain in August.
Sands’ poker room hasn’t met previous year expectations for the past 11 consecutive months, something that its new room hasn’t been able to reverse.
The only other two cardrooms to beat their last year totals in August were SugarHouse and Penn National.
All combined, the state poker industry brought in $4,758,722 in revenue last month.
While things are starting to look a bit gloomy on the poker side, there is a good chance that traffic at PA poker rooms could pick up as a byproduct of online poker, which should go live sometime in the near future.
Ten casinos have purchased an online poker license, which, if poker compacts are sealed with other states, could lead to a thriving online industry. It might also motivate Internet players to venture out of their homes and try out live poker at one of the state’s casinos.
Total August revenue
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