Pennsylvania retail casinos have lost nearly 1,000 slot machines since 2021 for what could be multiple reasons, according to a report from Spectrum Gaming Group, an independent research group specializing in legalized gambling policy. The online vertical of casinos has gained tremendous traction since the pandemic and the increase in Pennsylvania skill games also has had some effect on land-based facilities.
Despite the adversity many brick-and-mortar casinos have faced, they have managed to remain stable, and in the last fiscal year, posted some of the best revenue figures in a decade.
Examples of Pennsylvania casinos removing slot machines
Since PA online casinos are doing so well in the Keystone State, it could be one of the driving factors in reducing slots in retail locations.
In August, Hollywood Casino Morgantown (30) and Lady Luck Nemacolin (100) removed 130 combined slots between the two establishments.
Last month, Mohegan Pennsylvania received approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to reduce its slot count by 120.
Reasons PA casinos eliminate slots
Spectrum Gaming Group hypothesized a few reasons as to why Pennsylvania casinos are removing slot machines:
- Growth of online casinos
- Increased number of skill games
- Competitive pressures in border states
All three explanations are valid.
Spectrum Gaming Group reported that online casinos have added the equivalent of 13,000 slot machines to the PA market. Operators are constantly upgrading their slot games with the most cutting-edge innovations. For example, BetMGM PA is debuting “The Godfather” slot, one of the most influential and popular movies ever made.
Skill games have been running rampant in Pennsylvania, as well. Mark Angelo, Mohegan Pennsylvania’s Director of Slot Operations, told the PGCB last month that skill games had a large hand in reducing its slot count:
“The skill games have proliferated and if you do a correlation between that and our volumes going down, there’s a direct correlation.”
Pennsylvania casinos definitely have competitive pressures, but much of that comes within the state itself. The Keystone State offers 17 casinos, with the following five in the Philadelphia metro area alone:
- Parx Casino Bensalem
- Valley Forge Casino
- Live! Casino Philadelphia
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
Hollywood Casino Morgantown resides in Berks County and Wind Creek Bethlehem sits in Lehigh County, both just outside the Philadelphia region.
There are also three more casinos located in the Pittsburgh metro area, which include:
- Live! Casino Pittsburgh
- Hollywood Casino at The Meadows
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
There’s a ton of competition within the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania casino revenue continues to remain stable
Despite the adversity PA casinos have faced over the years, which included a global pandemic, establishments have found a way to coexist.
The state recorded a fiscal-year record of $5.51 billion in 2022/2023 revenue, much in part to land-based casinos. Retail slots generated $2.45 billion, which makes up 44.4% of the state’s entire gambling revenue. It’s also the most since FY 2011/2012. Table games also recorded $974 million in FY revenue, the second-highest all-time.
Pennsylvania casinos have invested $250 million since the pandemic to reinvent themselves as more than gambling facilities. There is now more entertainment in casinos than ever before, such as restaurants, bars, hotels, comedy shows, concerts and more.
The Keystone State has proven that there is an appetite for both retail and online casinos. Despite casinos removing slot machines, the retail industry remains a huge factor within the state.