After October’s Revenue Decline, PA Casinos Ready For Sportsbooks

Written By Steve Ruddock on November 19, 2018 - Last Updated on December 11, 2023
sad pumpkin

October was more trick than treat for the Pennsylvania casino industry.

The state’s 12 casinos collectively saw significant declines in slot revenue, table game revenue, and total casino revenue during the month.

As bad as October was, the future looks pretty bright for the state’s gaming industry. November’s revenue numbers will include a new offering: sports betting.

Penn National will henceforth be the answer to a trivia question, following the Nov. 17 opening of the state’s first licensed sportsbook at the company’s Hollywood Casino.

In addition to sports betting, Pennsylvania will soon be adding revenue from online gambling, and further down the line, satellite casinos.

Top line numbers for October 2018

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

  • Slot machine revenue: $186,255,556.07 (-1.73 percent)
  • Table game revenue: $66,534,318 (-8.12 percent)
  • Total gaming revenue: $252,789,874 (-3.49 percent)

12-month slot revenue trend

October was bad, but the larger picture is still positive for PA casino operators. Slot revenue declined for just the second time in the last eight months.

  • 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)
  • September 2018 slot machine revenue: $196,209,617.90 (+.42 percent)
  • October 2018 slot machine revenue: $186,255,556.07 (-1.73 percent)

Who was up and who was down in August

It should come as no surprise that only four of the state’s 12 casinos posted year-over-year revenue gains in October. The gainers were once again led by Valley Forge, one of the state’s two “resort” casinos.

On the other side of the ledger, three casinos had revenues decline by double digits in October.

Market share and revenue comparisons

PA market analysis

Time to declare a winner in the Sands vs. Parx rivalry?

It might be time to push the panic button at Sands Bethlehem.

The battle for the title of top revenue generating casino in Pennsylvania between Sands Bethlehem and Parx is no longer as competitive as it once was. Some months Parx would get the better of Sands and some months Sands would come out on top.

That rivalry seems to be a thing of the past.

Sands revenue has been going in the wrong direction for months, and the property suffered its second consecutive month with a double-digit Y/Y revenue drop.

Valley Forge continues its hot streak

Valley Forge is pushing its way into the third tier of the Pennsylvania casino market, and it could soon be challenging the likes of Mount Airy, Meadows, and Mohegan Sun.

Total casino revenue at Valley Forge has been up in 11 of the last 12 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
  • September 2018: +10.48 percent
  • October 2018: +10.40 percent

A year ago, Valley Forge paid the state $1 million to remove its $10 ameinty fee, which boosted revenue. More recently, Valley Forge applied to increase the maximum number of slot machines it can possess for a one-time fee of $2.5 million.

Hello sports betting

As noted in the opening, the era of Pennsylvania sports betting is officially upon us.

Penn National is first, but expect its competitors to quickly follow suit.

Three casino expect to open their sportsbooks next month:

Two more should open in early 2019:

However, with Penn National already live, don’t be surprised to see several casinos accelerate their timeline.

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,, and many others.

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