Several Pennsylvania Casinos Make AGA’s Top 20 Commercial Venues

Written By Corey Sharp on May 22, 2023
Three different PA casinos were named to the AGA's top 20 list for commercial venues.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) released a Q1 gaming report, which was favorable to the gaming industry and Pennsylvania casinos. The AGA recognized three PA casinos as Top 20 Commercial Casinos Outside Nevada:

  • Parx Casino (7th)
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem (11th)
  • Rivers Pittsburgh (16th)

The three casinos posted strong revenue figures and challenged other casinos from Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois to name a few.

The $16.6 billion in gaming revenue generated in Q1 marked the eighth consecutive record-breaking quarter for overall gambling within the US.

“After two full years of successive growth post-COVID, the U.S. gaming industry has never been stronger,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “With record growth across every gaming vertical—from brick-and-mortar casinos to mobile gaming—American adults continue to choose gaming as one of their top entertainment options.”

Pennsylvania casinos rank among top gaming locations in US

Land-based casinos across the country and in Pennsylvania are still holding their own despite massive online gaming growth.

The three PA casinos recognized, Wind Creek Bethlehem, Parx Casino and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, have been churning huge revenue figures in retail slots and table games. Here is the revenue each casino reported in Q1 2023:

  • Parx: $151 million
  • Wind Creek: $126.8 million
  • Rivers Pittsburgh: $92.2 million

The three PA casinos put together strong showings in Q1 against some major, and familiar, casinos. The top five commercial casinos consist of:

  • MGM National Harbor (MD)
  • Encore Boston Harbor (MA)
  • Live! Casino Maryland
  • Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (NJ)
  • Resorts World NYC (NY)

Live! Casino Maryland is one of the many properties owned by The Cordish Companies, which operates Live! Casino Philadelphia. Also, many Southeastern PA natives who escape to the Jersey shore are familiar with Atlantic City’s Borgata.

Growth among country-wide and PA casinos

The gaming industry produced another record-breaking quarter and experienced growth in almost every sector of gaming. Here is the gross gaming revenue (GGR) of each vertical and the percentage increase:

  • Total: $16.6 billion (up 15.5% from Q1 2022)
  • Slot: $8.83 billion (up 7.7%)
  • Table games: $2.5 billion (up 5.2%)
  • Sports betting: $2.79 billion (up 70.1%)
  • Online casino: $1.48 billion (up 22.7%)

Retail casinos generated a total of $12.30 billion, surpassing the previous high of $12.26 billion in Q3 2022.

As the gaming industry continues to grow, so have the three PA casinos listed as top commercial establishments.

Here are revenue stats from Q1 2022 for comparison:

  • Parx: $150.9 million
  • Wind Creek: $122.3 million
  • Rivers Pittsburgh: $91.8 million

While Parx and Rivers experienced modest growth, all three casinos are unique in their own way. Wind Creek’s success is even more impressive without relying on the population of a major city, though it does have a hotel.

Parx Casino also recently opened another property in Shippensburg. The company celebrated the expansion in February.

How retail casinos have stayed relevant as online gaming emerges

Now that players can enjoy the same exact casino games from the comfort of their own home, retail casinos had to get creative. Many casinos have invested in new amenities to reinvent themselves as entertainment venues.

Shawn Fluharty, Minority Whip in the West Virginia House of Delegates, was instrumental in bringing online casinos to West Virginia. At the East Coast Gaming Congress last month, Fluharty explained to PlayPennsylvania why retail casinos have stayed strong:

“I’ll go to the casino but I plan my casino trips around more things than just gaming. It’s more of an entertainment venue. I feel like the brick-and-mortars have been forced to evolve and it’s helped them not get cannibalized.”

Rivers Pittsburgh added The Landing Hotel last fall and reaped the benefits in Q1. Parx got approval from Bensalem Township earlier this year to start construction on a 300-room luxury hotel. With Parx Bensalem already one of the top grossing casinos in the country, in addition to opening another location, adding a hotel could make them an even more attractive destination.

Wind Creek just finished investing $160 million in a 23,000-square-foot ballroom, a second hotel tower and a new lobby. General Manager Kathy McCracken told PlayPennsylvania in February:

“Wind Creek Bethlehem’s high occupancy rates pre-pandemic, combined with the ability to accommodate larger events in a 23,000-square-foot ballroom, solidified the decision to move forward with this project. The property can now host larger events that previously required space only found in major metropolitan areas. We’re not only establishing the property as a regional competitor, but also bringing additional tourism opportunities to the Lehigh Valley.”

Wind Creek, Parx Casino and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh perhaps have been the best at reinventing themselves.

Other AGA Q1 2023 findings

The AGA dropped many facts and nuggets about the gaming industry in Q1 2023. Here is a list of interesting findings:

  • In the first quarter of 2023, retail casinos (including retail sportsbooks) made up 75.3% of commercial gaming revenue, while online sports betting and online casinos accounted for a record quarterly share of 24.7%, totaling $4 billion.
  • The industry posted a new single-month revenue record in March, closing out Q1, with $5.9 billion, an increase of 10.3% annually.
  • Eighteen states broke all-time quarterly records for total commercial gaming revenue, including Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania generated $1.5 billion in revenue in Q1 2023, second in the country behind Nevada’s $3.8 billion.
  • Retail casinos set an all-time revenue record of $4.35 billion in March.
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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