March is typically a good month for Pennsylvania’s casinos, but March 2018 was a particularly good month. In fact, March was a record-setting month.
A nearly four-percent increase in total gaming revenue led to the first $300 million month in the 14-year history of casino gaming in the Keystone State.
The gains were entirely on the slot machine side of the ledger. Slot revenue saw its largest year-over-year increase in more than two years. By contrast, table game revenue experienced a slight Y/Y decline.
Top line numbers for March 2018
Here’s a look at the top line March numbers:
- Slot machine revenue: $221,350,220.10 (+5.41 percent)
- Table game revenue: $79,165,791 (-.48 percent)
- Total gaming revenue: $300,516,011 (+3.79 percent)
12-month slot revenue trend
After suffering through a yearlong slump, slot revenue has risen in four of the last seven months.
- April 2017 slot machine revenue: $205,702,752.11 (-1.58 percent)
- May 2017 slot machine revenue: $203,248,175.70 (-2.68 percent)
- June 2017 slot machine revenue: $188,520,750 (-.77 percent)
- July 2017 slot machine revenue: $209,124,965.58 (-2.01 percent)
- August 2017 slot machine revenue: $193,190,477.69 (-.39 percent)
- 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)
A look at who was up and who was down in March
In a record-setting moth it’s not surprising to see that nine of the state’s 12 casinos posted Y/Y gains, with four casinos achieving double-digit growth (if we round Parx’s 9.9 percent growth up to 10 percent).
On the flip side, three casinos, Sands, Harrah’s, and Mount Airy saw revenue tick down in March.
- Rivers Casino: 11.08%
- Presque Isle Downs and Casino: 11.02%
- Valley Forge Casino Resort: 10.54%
- Parx Casino: 9.90%
- The Meadows Casino: 4.07%
- Mohegan Sun Pocono: 4.06%
- SugarHouse Casino: 3.62%
- Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin: 2.31%
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course: 1.75%
- Harrah’s Philadelphia: -1.15%
- Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem: -3.31%
- Mount Airy Casino Resort: -5.88%
Market share and revenue comparisons
Who won and who lost
Parx dominates in its battle with Sands
A bad month for Sands in an otherwise good month for the industry is a rare occurrence, but that’s precisely what happened in March.
The industry saw revenue rise by 3.8 percent while Sands revenue fell by 3.3 percent.
Sands struggles could stem from:
- Its eastern location and some severe March weather that hit the Northeast in March (Mount Airy and Harrah’s are also eastern area casinos);
- Its ownership being in a state of flux after the sale to Wind Creek Hospitality; and/or
- Normal variance in the casino industry.
Whatever the reason(s), Parx easily defeated Sands in March, as the battle between the two powerhouses continues for the top spot in the Pennsylvania casino industry.
Another good month for Rush Street
Both of Rush Street Gaming’s Pennsylvania casinos, SugarHouse in Philadelphia and Rivers in Pittsburgh, did well for themselves in March.
With a combined $62 million of revenue, Rivers and SugarHouse have the eastern and western part of the state covered for Rush Street.
Valley Forge continues to grow
After falling behind the surging Category 3 casino a couple months ago, Presque Isle managed to surpass Valley Forge in March. However, that was due to a really strong month by Presque Isle and not a poor performance by Valley Forge.
In fact, Valley Forge’s revenue was up by double-digits for the fourth time in the last five months.
- November 2017: +12.4 percent
- December 2017: +6.4 percent
- January 2018: +13.9 percent
- February 2018: +15 percent
- March 2018: +10.5 percent
Valley Forge’s hot streak can be traced to the provisions in the gaming reform law passed in October that allowed Valley Forge (and other Category 3 casinos in the state) to eliminate the amenity fee requirement imposed on non-hotel guests for a one-time payment to the state of $1 million.