PA Slots Revenue Flat For The Year, But Hopes Are Sky-High For 2018

Written By Joss Wood on January 9, 2018 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
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[toc]Pennsylvania slot machine revenues from its licensed casinos came in at $187.6 million for December 2017. The results are just 1.2 percent higher than the figures for December 2016.

Grossed over the year, 2017 revenues were $2.336 billion compared to 2016’s $2.360 billion. That represents a drop of 1.02 percent.

Within those figures there were winners and losers, but none of Pennsylvania’s casinos experienced any really big changes in revenues. That will change in 2018 as the impact of the legislative changes signed by Gov. Tom Wolf at the end of October take effect.

Slot machine revenues will change in 2018

The H271 Gaming Bill making it onto the statute books sets Pennsylvania up as the fourth US state to legalize online gambling. Along with the new products, casinos will be allowed to offer such as online poker and casino games. Additionally, there are new licenses which will allow an expansion of slot machines in new locations around the state.

The upshot should be a substantial expansion of revenues for the casinos which opt to take part. The new licenses are up for auction at various dates during the first half of 2018. Even with a minimum bid price of $7.5 million, they should attract most if not all of the current licensees to take part.

Over the course of 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board which reports casino revenues from slots and table games, will continue to post monthly figures. These will provide an excellent record of how the new law is affecting the industry.

December 2017’s winners and losers

Based on December only, the Valley Forge Casino Resort posted the best figures of the month. It saw an 8.64 percent gain in revenues compared with the same period in 2016. The other casinos which picked up annual gains were:

The worst performer for the month was The Meadows Racetrack and Casino, where slot revenues fell by 3.7 percent.

2017 winners and losers

Winners for the year

Over the whole year, it was again Valley Forge which led the pack. Early in 2017 the casino finished a major room renovation project costing $6 million. The upgrade looks to have more than paid back the investment. Valley Forge slot machine revenues alone surged 6.37 percent compared to 2016, rising from $77.8 million to $82.8 million.

A look at the full list of casino performance for slot revenues in 2017 shows how even that single-digit gain constituted a real market outperformance.

Casino 2017 2016 % Change
Parx Casino $388,220,901 $389,843,195 -0.42%
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem $302,568,558 $305,036,579 -0.81%
Rivers Casino $269,751,527 $265,049,329 1.77%
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino $214,289,737 $221,620,054 -3.31%
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course $209,014,353 $209,885,267 -0.41%
Mohegan Sun Pocono $204,461,556 $216,247,247 -5.45%
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack $198,193,939 $206,845,371 -4.18%
SugarHouse Casino $177,837,718 $181,187,600 -1.85%
Mount Airy Casino Resort $147,803,674 $141,953,231 4.12%
Presque Isle Downs and Casino $111,164,968 $115,387,979 -3.66%
Valley Forge Casino Resort $82,760,824 $77,801,417 6.37%
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin $30,145,146 $29,326,854 2.79%
Statewide Total $2,336,212,902 $2,360,184,122 -1.02%

Losers for the year

Clearly the Mohegan Sun put in the worst performance over 2017, losing over five percent of its slot revenues compared to 2016, amounting to a revenue reduction of almost $12 million.

It will be fascinating to see which casinos can make the most of the new legislation to ramp up their revenues for 2018. The extra income isn’t coming for free. The upfront costs of the new licenses and the need to establish new venues will mean substantial capital expenses for the year, and there’s nothing to guarantee that every casino will see a positive return on their investment.

Nevertheless, across all the licensed casinos, the new laws should lead to a substantial revenue increase and for the state government a welcome increase in taxes.

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Joss Wood

Joss Wood has a master’s degree in organisational development from the University of Manchester as well as an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned. His writing primarily centers on international online gambling markets, though he also writes about the legal US online gambling industry in addition to sports betting and esports gambling.

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