Through gambling expansion, COVID shutdowns and increased competition, Parx Casino continues its reign as the highest grossing casino in Pennsylvania.
The Bensalem casino not only holds onto the top spot, but has maintained a steady market share for slot and table game revenue through the years. Also, Parx has gone completely smoke-free which is proving to be a case study for other casinos, showing that banning smoking does not have to impact a casino’s bottom line.
Parx Casino revenue and market share through the years
Total number of casinos in PA: 12
During the 2018-2109 Fiscal Year, Pennsylvania’s gambling industry looked much different. Sports betting apps and online casinos didn’t start to arrive in PA until the summer of 2019. There were no mini-casinos in Pennsylvania and Live! Casino Philadelphia hadn’t opened.
Parx was tops for slot revenue with $416.9 million, capturing a 17.5% share of PA slot revenue. Table game revenue for the year was $190.5 million (a 21.5% market share), second to Wind Creek.
Total number of casinos in PA: 12
In 2020, all PA casinos closed from March until early June and Parx Casino was closed 106 days during the Fiscal Year. More online casinos started arriving in the state which served as a source of tax revenue while land-based casinos were closed.
Parx led all casinos for slot revenue with $300.4 million (a 17.7% market share). They finished second to Wind Creek for table games revenue with $137.8 million and a 21.3% market share.
Total number of casinos in PA: 14
COVID closures had less of an impact, only shuttering most casinos for about two weeks. Live! Casino Pittsburgh opened in November 2020 followed by Live! Casino Philadelphia in February 2021. Aside from Valley Forge Casino which once had a resort fee to enter, the $700 million Live! Philadelphia represented the first nearby (22 miles) competition for Parx.
Parx remained the leader for slot revenue in the state with $373.4 million during the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year. Market share for slot revenue dropped slightly to 19.7%.
Parx took over the top spot for table game revenue from Wind Creek for the year reaching $174.4 million. Parx market share for table games increased to 24.1%.
Total number of casinos in PA: 16
The first mini-casinos opened in Pennsylvania. The closest, Hollywood Casino Morgantown, is one hour away from Parx Casino.
Of all 16 Pennsylvania casinos, Parx led with $407.9 million in slot revenue, representing about a 17% market share.
Wind Creek took back the top spot for table game revenue and Parx finished second with $213.7 million, a 21% market share.
Parx CMO talks economy, market share and what’s ahead
(Parx does not provide comment to PlayPennsylvania on any stories).
Chief marketing officer Marc Oppenheimer recently joined Casino Update host Tino Magnatta to discuss various topics around the casino industry including inflation and how it is impacting guest’s spending.
“We are probably seeing the same thing everyone is. Business is down some for us mainly on the slots side. We are not losing visitation. The spend-per-trip, especially for certain segments, is down significantly, and that’s where the loss in revenue is coming. People have to have discretionary income and discretionary time for us to do well and right now they don’t have discretionary income.”
Usually when a casino notices a drop in business is when the marketing department increases promotions. However, Oppenheimer says that is not the current situation.
“We are in a situation now where that is counterproductive. It’s not a matter of driving more people in. We don’t believe we are losing people to a competitor or other forms of entertainment.”
In June 2022, Parx led all casinos with $31.7 million in slot revenue, about a 9% YoY drop. They finished second for table games with $16.4 million, a 7.8% YoY drop. The June figures showed Parx had 16.4% of the slot revenue share, and Parx’ table games market share of 21.6% in June represented the highest market share of the past five months for Parx.
“The raw numbers were not good but market share was strong,” said Oppenheimer.
The summer is always a slower time for Pennsylvania casinos. However, over the past three weeks Oppenheimer has seen some encouraging signs.
“Unemployment numbers are good. Gas prices have come down. The stock market has rallied a little bit. If we get another few weeks of this through Labor Day weekend, I think there is a chance we pick up.
“For us, we will be in a good spot going into 2023 relative to other players. I have no clue what the overall market will be like going into 2023.”
Parx Casino goes smoke-free
Due to the COVID mask mandate in PA, smoking was banned at casinos until June 2021. However, some casinos like Parx chose to remain smoke-free. Smoking is permitted at Parx on patios outside of the Beer Garden. Guests do not need to leave the building to get to the smoking patios.
Oppenheimer told CDC Gaming Reports in Nov. 2021:
“We’ve done it for the health and comfort of both our guests and team members. We have received significant positive feedback from both constituencies. And (we) have continued our strong performance and gains of market share in the region. As of now, we hope to be able to continue to remain an indoor non-smoking facility. We will as long as feedback and results stay as they have been.”
At a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting in January 2022, Greenwood Gaming Chief Operating Officer John Dixon said that the mini-casino, Parx Casino Shippensburg, which is scheduled to open in November 2022, would be smoke-free.
“We found our customers actually prefer a non-smoking environment, so we plan to do the same thing in Shippensburg,” said Dixon.
Parx plans to open a hotel
PlayPennsylvania exclusively reported in January 2022 that Parx planned to add a hotel to its Bensalem property. An internal email from the fall of 2021 obtained by PlayPennsylvania stated:
“Right now we are contemplating a 250-300 room hotel with a bar, restaurant, night club, pool/spa complex and some modular meeting space,” the email reads. “This should take about 18-24 months.”
Parx CEO Eric Hausler spoke about the hotel plans during an interview with Wayne Kimmel on the SeventySix Capital Sports Leadership Show.
“We are in the process of designing a hotel. It’s amazing, given the size of the facility and the location, that we don’t have a hotel here so we are starting to work on that. It’s a few years out.”
Currently, the closest hotels to Parx Casino are Holiday Inn Bensalem (.4 miles) and Courtyard by Marriott (.4 miles).
Lead image by Katie Kohler.