Harrah’s Philadelphia Cleared To Reduce Nearly 150 Slot Machines

Written By Corey Sharp on June 29, 2023
Image of Harrah's Philadelphia Casino for a story about two Harrah's Philadelphia employees speaking at the PGCB meeting on Wednesday in regard to a potential strike over fair wages.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) granted Harrah’s Philadelphia’s request to modify its gaming floor. Harrah’s Philadelphia plans to reduce slot machines and some table games, which isn’t expected to affect revenue.

Harrah’s Philadelphia general manager, Zara Alayan, made a presentation during the PGCB meeting on Wednesday to discuss the changes to the PA casino.

Harrah’s Philadelphia to reduce slot machines and gaming floor

Alayan presented some changes Harrah’s Philadelphia intends to make on the gaming floor:

  • Reducing the slot count from 1,672 to 1,527
  • Gaming floor reduction from 104,561 square feet to 86,661 square feet
  • Reducing table games from 71 to 66

The 145 slot games Harrah’s Philadelphia is going to remove are more than 12 years old and are its least profitable machines.

Alayan told the PGCB that the number of workers or hours would not be affected by the change.

Because of the reduction in slot machines and the gaming floor, the smoking section slightly increases its portion of the area from 47.5% to 48.4%.

Harrah’s Philadelphia’s study influences reduction decision

Since the Chester casino opened in 2008, revenue has declined in almost every year since. Harrah’s Philadelphia produced $332.8 million in revenue in 2008, compared to $141.8 million in 2022. In that span, Harrah’s Philadelphia has faced competition from the openings of Rivers Casino Philadelphia (2010), Valley Forge Casino (2012) and Live! Casino Philadelphia (2021). Harrah’s Philadelphia also noted the first of six Maryland casinos to open in Perryville, starting in 2010.

The Philadelphia location conducted a year-long study from February 2022 to January 2023 to monitor attendance. The highest occupancy the casino faced was 51.6% on March 26, 2022, at 7 p.m. At that time, there were still 813 gaming units available. After the reductions, there would still be excess capacity of 668 available units.

Alayan ensured a comfortable and fun customer environment with the new changes.

“Right now, our floor is too big,” Alayan told the PGCB. “We’re trying to reduce 18,000 square feet from the back which will create more energy on the floor. It will be a really great environment for our customers.”

Timeline of PA casino gaming floor changes

Alayan gave Harrah’s Philadelphia a three-month deadline to finish making changes to the gaming floor. However, Alayan told the PGCB its goal is to complete the project by the NFL season. That gives Harrah’s Philadelphia slightly more than two months.

Because of the gaming floor changes, Harrah’s Philadelphia is moving the sportsbook closer to the front of the establishment. The casino is also investing $1 million to relocate the sportsbook.

Though Harrah’s Philadelphia is reducing slots and table games, it still plans to spend $1.25 million in 2023 on new games.

Alayan did not have plans for the empty space. When asked by the PGCB, Alayan said she’s “exploring opportunities” to fill the area.

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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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