For Pennsylvania’s casinos, slot machines helped fuel record revenue earnings in 2018. According to statistics released this month by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the slot machines and table games in Pennsylvania casinos produced a record gross revenue total of $3,248,681,377. That is the highest total ever in the industry’s 13 years of operation.
“We continue to see slots and table games produce significant revenue in this state,” Doug Harbach, a spokesperson for PGCB, told Harrisburg CBS affiliate WHP. “We’re No. 2 in the United States in casino revenue, No. 1 in tax revenue. Legal gaming in Pennsylvania, from a financial standpoint, has been very, very successful.”
Slot machines made more, but overall revenues varied widely
While overall, slot machine revenue grew 1.8 percent in 2018, the results of individual casinos varied widely. Half of Pennsylvania’s casinos recorded increased slot machine revenue in 2018.
The big winner was Valley Forge Casino Resort, which witnessed a slot machine revenue growth of more than 10 percent, boosting earnings from roughly $82 million to $91 million. Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and Parx Casino in Philadelphia also experienced healthy slot machine growth, recording increased slot machine revenues of more than 4 percent.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “the 2018 figures reflect how slot machines continue to be the dominant driver of patrons and finances for casinos, representing 73 percent of gambling revenue.”
However, in some locations, even slot machine revenue dipped in 2018. Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin saw a gross slot machine revenue loss of greater than six percent from roughly $30 million to about $28 million. In addition, Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino, had slot machine revenues dip more than 2 percent from about $204 million to $198 million.
Overall, slot machines brought in $2.37 billion for Pennsylvania casinos last year compared with $878.8 million from table games.
Table game revenue declined overall
Despite overall growth for slot machine revenues, table game returns dropped in 2018. Table game earnings in Pennsylvania casinos went from $890,697,914 in 2017 to $878,796,174 in 2018, a decline of 1.34 percent. In general, table game returns were extremely volatile in 2018 as some casinos encountered significant setbacks, while others posted solid gains.
The casinos experiencing the biggest declines in terms of table game returns included:
- Mount Airy Casino Resort (-16.35%)
- Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin (-11.32%)
- Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem (-8.74%).
However, other casinos posted more impressive returns. Rivers Casino grew its table game gross revenues more than 15 percent from $65,796,858 to $76,043,050 and Valley Forge Casino Resort gained nearly 11 percent on table games from $34,419,700 to $34,419,700.
Big money could arrive in 2019
Overall, the total returns posted by Pennsylvania’s casinos in 2018 were mixed. But the fact that total gaming revenue generated by slot machines and table games reached a record number in 2018 is significant. With sportsbooks and online casinos likely to make significant impacts this year, the revenue generated by casinos in 2019 could grow substantially.
And the biggest jackpots are likely yet to come.