May was another good month for the Pennsylvania casino industry. Ten of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos posted year-over-year gains. Collectively, gaming revenue rose 2.59% for the month.
That’s good news considering the state is still waiting for a number of gaming expansions passed in 2017 to go live. That includes the much-anticipated launch of PA online casinos.
Those expansions and reforms were sold as a way to bolster the state’s existing gaming operators, and put some extra money in the state’s coffers. Even though we’re nearly two years removed from the passage of the law, and only a handful of those reforms and expansions have been implemented, gaming revenue has been posting steady but small year-over-year gains.
One of the reforms has been partially implemented: sports betting. With the inclusion of sports betting, year-over-year growth rises to 3.5%.
Say hello to online sports betting
May also saw the long-awaited arrival of online sports betting.
In just four days (most of which a testing phase) the PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook tallied $573,163. Despite dealing with the Apple app store‘s legal online gambling app issues, PlaySugarHouse managed to pull that number.
Sports betting’s impact on casino revenue numbers should continue to rise as online sports betting options increase.
Topline revenue numbers
According to the revenue reports issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state’s gambling operators generated nearly $290 million in gambling revenue in May.
May 2019 Pennsylvania casino revenue numbers:
- Slot machine revenue: $209,579,851 (+2.74%)
- Table game revenue: $76,559,198 (+2.2%)
- Sports betting revenue: $2,861,852 (no year-over-year comp)
- Total gaming revenue (including sports): $289,000,901
12 month slot revenue trend
Slot revenue rose for the sixth time in the last seven months in May.
- May 2018 slot machine revenue: $203,993,259.02 (+.37%)
- June 2018 slot machine revenue: $197,763,672 (+4.9%)
- July 2018 slot machine revenue: $203,643,985.78 (-2.62%)
- August 2018 slot machine revenue: $201,729,430.81 (+4.42%)
- September 2018 slot machine revenue: $196,209,617.90 (+.42%)
- October 2018 slot machine revenue: $186,255,556.07 (-1.73%)
- November 2018 slot machine revenue: $183,069,176.86 (+.96%)
- December 2018 slot machine revenue: $202,840,435.32 (+8.12%)
- January 2019 slot machine revenue: $179,842,150 (+1.15%)
- February 2019 slot machine revenue: $189,976,151.61 (+.49%)
- March 2019 Slot machine revenue: $226,597,681.24 (+2.37%)
- April 2019 slot machine revenue: $200,359,402.90 (-2.82%)
- May 2019 slot machine revenue: $209,579,851 (+2.74%)
A look at who was up and who was down
As noted in the opening, 10 of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos posted Y/Y revenue gains in May. Only Wind Creek (formerly Sands Bethlehem) and Harrah’s Philadelphia experienced revenue decline.
The two biggest gainers were Rivers and SugarHouse, which also happen to possess the top two retail sportsbooks in the state. More on that in a moment.
|Presque Isle Downs||$11,619,442||3.29%|
*Doesn’t include sports betting
PA market analysis
Sports betting’s impact goes beyond direct revenue
With its fledgling mobile product, Pennsylvania sports betting revenue has been underwhelming compared to neighboring New Jersey. That said, the retail-only approach is providing some solid evidence of the secondary impact sports betting is having at Pennsylvania casinos.
As noted above, the casinos with the highest year-over-year revenue increases are the state’s top two revenue generating sportsbooks.
That backs up what, Richard Schwartz of Rush Street Interactive told the ICE North America conference. He says sports betting is driving across every casino sector, including table games, slots, poker, and food and beverage.
Online casino launch is less than a month away, maybe
It’s looking less and less likely Pennsylvania online casinos will meet their target launch date. The tentative launch for online casino and poker is July 15, but considering the lack of marketing, or even announcements, that could be wishful thinking.
Several factors might be contributing to the delay:
- The Apple app store issue mentioned earlier.
- The improving, but still uncertain nature of the DOJ’s Wire Act opinion.
- The ultra-conservative approach Pennsylvania has taken toward online gambling all along.