Pennsylvania Casino Revenues Bounce Back From July Decline

Posted on September 19, 2018

In August, the Pennsylvania casino industry bounced back in a big way from a July the state’s 12 casinos would like to forget.

Despite a slight year-over-year dip in table game revenue, August was a strong month on the slot side of the ledger. A Y/Y slot revenue increase of 4.4 percent propelled total casino to over $275 million. As a result, total casino revenue rose nearly three percent.

Top line numbers for August 2018

Here’s a look at the top line August numbers:

  • Slot machine revenue: $201,729,430.81 (+4.42 percent)
  • Table game revenue: $73,281,370 (-1.33 percent)
  • Total gaming revenue: $275,010,801 (+2.82 percent)

12-month slot revenue trend

Following a year-long period of decay during 2016/2017, Pennsylvania slot revenue is now officially growing.

Slot revenue has increased five of the last six months. Zooming out even further, the last 12 months resulted in eight months of slot revenue gains and just four months of declines.

  • September 2017 slot machine revenue: $195,396,966.03 (+1.69 percent)
  • October 2017 slot machine revenue: $189,527,493.24 (-1.21 percent)
  • November 2017 slot machine revenue: $181,329,655.27 (+1.08 percent)
  • December 2017 slot machine revenue: $187,614,378.63 (+1.22 percent)
  • January 2018 slot machine revenue: $177,795,127.32 (-1.39 percent)
  • February 2018 slot machine revenue: $189,056,194.76 (-1.67 percent)
  • March 2018 slot machine revenue: $221,350,220.10 (+5.41 percent)
  • April 2018 slot machine revenue: $206,178,527.52 (+.23 percent)
  • May 2018 slot machine revenue: $203,993,259.02 (+.37 percent)
  • June 2018 slot machine revenue: $197,763,672 (+4.9 percent)
  • July 2018 slot machine revenue: $203,643,985.78 (-2.62 percent)
  • August 2018 slot machine revenue: $201,729,430.81 (+4.42 percent)

Who was up and who was down in August

Seven of the 12 casinos posted Y/Y gains in August. More importantly, five of the casinos posted gains of more than six percent.

Of the five casinos with revenue declines Y/Y, only three did so by more than four percent, and no casino posted a Y/Y decline of more than 5.5 percent.

Market share and revenue comparisons

PA market analysis

Parx is pulling away from Sands

What was once a close competition for the top spot in the PA casino market is now a one-sided fight. Parx Casino has pulled away from Sands and is the clear-cut market leader in the state.

August was more of the same for the two casinos, Parx continues to grow, while Sands goes in the opposite direction.

Valley Forge continues its hot streak

Valley Forge is approaching post-expansion SugarHouse Casino territory (when SugarHouse went from a middling casino to one of the top casinos in the state).

Revenue has been up in nine of the last 10 months at Valley Forge.

  • November 2017: +12.4 percent
  • December 2017: +6.4 percent
  • January 2018: +13.9 percent
  • February 2018: +15 percent
  • March 2018: +10.5 percent
  • April 2018: – 5.64 percent
  • May 2018: +25.18 percent
  • June 2018: +15.84 percent
  • July 2018: +7.44 percent
  • August 2018: +6.93 percent

The gains at Valley Forge can be traced back to the gaming reform law passed last October.

Among the reforms were several Category-3-casino-friendly policies, including the ability to remove the amenity fee requirement that acted like a door charge for non-guests. Valley Forge quickly coughed up the $1 million payment to do away with the amenity fee. Based on the results, it could very well be the best million bucks anyone has ever spent.

Remaining online gambling licenses are up for grabs

Another round of online gambling licensing has concluded in Pennsylvania, and when all was said and done the state has a small surplus of online gaming licenses.

11 of the 13 casinos eligible for online gambling licenses have submitted applications.

 Online SlotsOnline Table GamesOnline Poker
ParxXXX
SandsXXX
SugarHouseXXX
RiversXXX
HollywoodXXX
Meadows
Mount AiryXXX
Mohegan SunXXX
Presque IsleXX
Valley ForgeXXX
Lady Luck
StadiumXXX
Harrah'sXXX

That leaves two slot licenses, two table game licenses, and three poker licenses.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will now open the licensing process up to qualified outside entities.

According to the PGCB, the winners of the licenses will be drawn at random during a single drawing among all companies that submit applications.

The drawing will not be for a slot license or a poker license. Rather, the PGCB will select one of the applicants.

If the first selected applicant wants all three licenses it will receive them, thereby reducing the number of available licenses to one slot, one table game, and two poker licenses. This would continue until all of the licenses are awarded.

A couple notes on the process:

  • If a company is selected that wants a slot license and only a poker license remains they would be passed over.
  • If a company is selected that wants all three licenses but only a slot license remains it could either accept it or turn it down.

A historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock has been a well-known writer and analyst in the world of regulated US online gambling. He contributes to a number of online publications focused on online poker and online casino, including OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, and many others.

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