Pennsylvania Table Games Revenue Cools While Slots Take A Nosedive In January

Table game revenue at PA brick-and-mortar casinos fell by 2.17% in January, interrupting a glowing 10-month long streak of year-over-year gains.
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Table game revenue at PA brick-and-mortar casinos fell by 2.17% in January, interrupting a glowing 10-month long streak of year-over-year gains, according to data recently posted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

Slots experienced a tough start to 2018 as well, yielding their lowest win in years. All told, the industry took in a total of $248,827,400 for the month, an overall year-on-year decrease of 1.62% and a stinging 5.55% dip from its December haul.

Table game growth stalls

While slot machine revenue has slid consistently over the past year and a half, table games have somewhat picked up the slack. In fact, in 2017, the state’s 12 land-based casinos set a revenue record, taking in a combined $3.23 billion, beating out their previous all-time best by .42%.

Last month, though, table game growth cooled. Operators reported $71,032,273 in earnings, the first negative year-over-year growth figure in 10 months.

Sands, with its ample selection of 200 table games, beat out the competition in January with a respectable $18,125,762 take. Even so, the total is a disappointing start to the year for the casino, which raked in nearly $3 million more at the tables the previous month.

Parx was a relatively distant second place at $14,638,273, with SugarHouse taking the third spot with $10,827,635.

Table gaming at PA online gaming sites

Table games are set to play an outsize role at PA’s forthcoming online casinos, due to being taxed at a relatively low 16%. Virtual slots, on the other hand, will be subject to a brutal 54% rate, which will likely push operators to deploy games with payback percentages that are less-than-favorable to consumers.

The popularity of table games at B&M venues is a good sign for the state’s potential online gambling operators. Since their introduction in 2010, table games have increasingly claimed a larger chunk of the total gaming pie, reaching their peak in 2017 with 27.6%.

But while table games might be padding the state’s revenue numbers, any shift from slots to table games is bad news for the state, which receives a far lower cut from the latter. Due to the crushing online slots tax rate, the discrepancy could be made bigger online, where operators don’t have as many extra revenue-generating opportunities as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Lawmakers may have done well to heed the advice of gaming analysts, who predicted that such a high rate would be counterproductive and only serve to hamper the growth of the industry.

Slots take a dive in January

The year started off even worse for PA slot operators, who banked a total of just $177,795,127 in revenue for the month, a 1.39% year-over-year decrease. More worryingly, the take is nearly $10 million less than the previous month and is the lowest posted by PA casinos in recent memory.

Parx was the big winner in January, with its $30,960,203 score, with Sands in second ($23,004,850) and Rivers shoring up the third spot ($21,078,973).

Both Parx and Rivers will likely launch their own branded online casinos later this year, offering players an eclectic mix of hundreds of titles. Parx has already confirmed a partnership with platform provider GameAccount Network, while Rivers is all but certain to launch using its own proprietary software.

January’s less-than-stellar slot totals give no respite to the vertical, which has only seen a handful of year-over-year monthly increases in the past 16 months.

Weather is to blame

It should be said that last month’s less than stellar tallies can be justified by a blizzard and unseasonably cold weather in the early part of January. By contrast the two January’s prior were exceptionally warm, resulting in increased foot traffic. Atlantic City in nearby New Jersey also saw its revenue ravaged by the inclimate weather, with revenue dipping nearly 10% despite a record breaking month from online gambling.

Given this, we see no real reason for PA land-based operators to hit the panic button just yet. But there’s little denying that it was a woeful start to the new year.

Total 2018 PA Casino Revenue

CasinoSlotsTable GamesTotal Win
Mohegan Sun$15,587,226$3,149,599$18,736,825
Parx$30,960,203$14,638,273$45,598,476
Harrah's$15,736,121$5,513,122$21,249,243
Presque Isle$7,896,763$1,212,307$9,109,070
Meadows$14,853,503$1,518,994$16,372,497
Mount Airy$10,649,830$3,266,639$13,916,469
Penn National$15,374,218$2,912,561$18,286,779
Sands Bethlehem$23,004,851$18,125,762$41,130,613
The Rivers$21,078,973$5,820,242$26,899,215
SugarHouse$13,887,887$10,827,635$24,715,522
Valley Forge$6,730,652$3,689,303$10,419,955
Nemacolin$2,034,900$357,836$2,392,736
2018 Totals$177,795,127$71,032,273$248,827,400
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