Slot machine revenue at PA casinos totaled $203,643,986 in July, a nearly 3% bump over the previous month, but a 2.62% decrease year-on-year.
The state is coming off a stellar 2017/2018 Fiscal Year, which saw Commonwealth casinos eclipse their total all-time revenue record by nearly $20 million.
While July numbers did not exactly impress, players seem to be returning to slot machines after a long drought during the 2016/2017 fiscal year, with casinos raking in just short of $1.4 billion in slot revenue since January.
July winners and losers
As usual, Parx, with its eclectic offering of 3,500 slots, dominated in terms of pure revenue, banking $34,711,359 for the month, nearly $10 million more than Sands, its closest competitor. The figure is just slightly higher than what the casino posted during the same timeframe last year.
Sands, for its part, boasted $25,766,910 for the month, a 2.56% Y/Y decrease. Sands will soon be acquired by Wind Creek Hospitality, which will pry it away from the hands of previous owner, billionaire political activist Sheldon Adelson.
Surprisingly, Sands was one of the nine casinos to file an application for an online casino license last month, something that Adelson, a staunch opponent of iGaming, would have never allowed.
Taking the third spot in July earnings was Rush Street Gaming-owned Rivers casino, which raked in $24,403,665, just a tad bit more than it did during July 2017.
Valley Forge benefits from new law
In terms of year-over-year gains, Valley Forge was the only casino to post anything substantial. The resort-classified venue beat its last year’s take by nearly 5%, for a total of $7,616,720.
The win is a continuation of Valley Forge’s recent hot streak. The property also enjoyed the biggest Y/Y bump in slot earnings in June (18.15%) and boasted the biggest year-on-year 2017/2018 fiscal year gain as well (+8.05%).
The boost in fortunes can in part be traced back to favorable regulations included in the October 2017 gambling expansion law. Before the bill was passed, only guests of the resort were allowed to play in the casino. Now, the gambling floor is open to anyone over the age of 21. What’s more, the resort recently completed a $6 million renovation of its hotel, which no doubt has served to attract more gamblers to the casino.
The property also plans to jump in the online gaming ring, submitting its own iGaming petition in July. There are rumblings that the property will partner with GVC, which powers several online casinos in New Jersey, for its online gambling site.
Parx, Presque Isle Downs, The Rivers, and SugarHouse were the only other casinos to make small gains for the month.
Mount Airy took the unfortunate distinction of biggest year-on-year loser, raking in $13,163,220, 10.54% less than it did during the same timeframe in 2017. Mohegan Sun and Penn National had less than stellar months as well, posting 8.84% and 7.1% decreases respectively.
Nemacolin, Meadows, Sands and Harrah’s also saw their fortunes fall slightly during the month compared with last year.
Majority of PA casinos to offer virtual slots
Sometime later this year, PA regulators will give state casinos the green light to open their online gambling sites to those located inside the borders of the Commonwealth. In fact, nearly all of state’s casinos have applied for a license to offer not just slots, but table games and online poker.
The eagerness of so many casinos to offer all three verticals came as somewhat of a surprise, as licenses come with a price tag of a whopping $10 million. Not only that, but casino operators must overcome a crushing 54% tax on slot machine revenue, a burden which will make turning a profit extremely difficult.
The only casinos which did not apply for a license during the first wave of applications were Mohegan Sun, Nemacolin, the Meadows, and Presque Isle Downs.
Presque Isle will definitely be joining the party eventually, but might decide on buying licenses piecemeal. The property was purchased by U.S. gaming giant Churchill Downs earlier this year, which has already stated its intention to offer iGaming and sports betting. Sports wagering licenses won’t come cheap either, and will cost an additional $10 million.
Slots machines are the lifeblood of online and brick-and-mortar casinos, representing a large percentage of total gambling revenue. In PA, for example, slots accounted for almost 73% of the total casino take in June.
Total July 2018 slot revenue