Slot machine revenue at PA casinos was up slightly year-over-year in September, with gaming venues combining for a total take of $196,209,618. While minor, the 0.42% increase is welcome news for the industry, which suffered through 11 consecutive months of Y/Y losses starting in the winter of 2016 and running through the fall of 2017.
Valley Forge surges along
Once again, Valley Forge, one of the state’s two Category 3 casinos, posted the biggest gains (+9.56%), raking in $7,386,452. The resort property’s fortunes increased dramatically after a change ushered in by the recent expanded gambling law allowed it the option of opening its casino floor to the general public, not only hotel guests.
Since October 31, the date the policy went into effect, the casino has increased its take by nearly $6.7 million compared with the same time period the previous year. To remove the restrictions, the casino was forced to hand regulators a $1 million check, something the state’s only other resort property, Lady Luck Nemacolin, has yet to do.
Lady Luck, for its part, struggled last month, banking the least slot revenue of its 11 competitors ($2,525,760) and suffering a 1.04% Y/Y decrease.
Parx Casino, one of four properties to have already paid a $10 million fee to offer sports betting, had a very solid September. Not only did the casino top the list in terms of slot revenue ($33,908,479), it posted a 4.68% year-on-year gain.
Sands, which traditionally takes second place in terms of slots, banked $24,210,274, a 2.45% Y/Y decrease.
The two PA properties owned by Rush Street Gaming, Rivers and SugarHouse, both had positive months. The Rivers took in $22,995,461 (+2.04% Y/Y), while its companion casino raked in $14,923,607 (+1.89%).
Both venues recently joined Penn National and Parx in submitting licenses to offer sports betting, both on-site and through online and mobile apps. Their entry into the space was not much of a surprise, considering that their parent company’s interactive branch already operates a fully functional online and mobile sportsbook in neighboring New Jersey.
In September, seven casinos saw their fortunes drop compared with last year, with Penn National taking the biggest percentage beat of them all at -3.67%.
So far in 2018, Keystone State gambling venues have raked in nearly $1.8 billion in total slot machine revenue, outpacing 2017 by 1.12%. Tack on table game earnings and PA casinos have made just under $2.4 billion total this year, 0.82% more than during the same timeframe last year.
2016 and 2017 were tough years for PA slot operators, however, with the vertical seeing very little growth during that time. On the other hand, during the same period, table game play increased dramatically; in 2017, revenues at the tables surpassed their previous year’s figure every month save for one.
With the $102,279,882 in tax revenue generated by slot machines in September included, the state has now reaped somewhere in the vicinity of $1 billion this year for state coffers. Slots are taxed at an eye-watering 54%, the bulk of which goes toward easing the burden of property taxes for Commonwealth residents. Table game revenue carries a 16% rate, and goes directly into the state budget general fund.
September 2018 PA slot revenue totals