On the heels of a disappointing August, the Pennsylvania casino industry bounced back — to borrow a word from Donald Trump — bigly in September, with total casino revenue up nearly three percent year-over-year, and both slot handle and table game revenue posting YoY gains.
The September rebound makes August’s decline look even more like an outlier, as total gross gaming revenue (GGR) has been up in seven of the nine months. The only other month where the industry posted a YoY decline was June, when total GGR was down just 0.2 percent.
The September numbers
September saw most casino post year-over-year gains, and of the four casinos that posted losses, three of the four were under two percent. The worst YoY loss was just -2.68 percent, posted by Rivers Casino.
Two casino posted solid gains in September:
Here’s a look at the industry-wide breakdown of slot revenue and table game revenue in September:
- September 2016 slot machine revenue: $192,150,329.51 (+2.43%)
- September 2016 table game revenue: $68,787,147 (+4.35%)
A look inside the YTD revenue numbers
Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue tally for Pennsylvania’s casinos:
- January 2016 GGR -$255,905,078 (+3.6%)
- February 2016 GGR – $268,354,231 (+8.6%)
- March 2016 GGR – $289,167,505 (+4.2%)
- April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
- May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
- June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
- July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)
- August 2016 GGR – $260,904,471 (-4.28%)
- September 2016 GGR – $260,937,476 (+2.93%)
Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is on pace to blow past its previous high water mark, set last year when the state’s casinos tallied $3.17 billion.
- 2006: $31,567,926
- 2007: $1,039,030,723
- 2008: $1,615,565,758
- 2009: $1,964,570,480
- 2010: $2,486,408,061 (table games introduced)
- 2011: $3,024,772,959
- 2012: $3,158,317,863
- 2013: $3,113,928,591
- 2014: $3,069,077,597
- 2015: $3,173,787,012
A casino-by-casino look at the numbers
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $24,761,852.36 (-.55%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $19,403,808 (+3.46%)
After reclaiming the top spot from Parx Casino during the summer, Sands Bethlehem slot revenue dipped for the second consecutive month, allowing Parx to jump ahead of Sands as the highest revenue generator in the Pennsylvania casino industry for the second consecutive month.
Sands is believed to be considering a $40 million table games expansion, but the project appears to be contingent on certain legislative actions not occurring. That would include a gaming reform bill that might see slot machines introduced at off-track-betting parlors in the state.
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $31,812,334.95 (+6.05%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $14,091,154 (+19.98%)
September was a spectacular month for Parx Casino. With solid gains in slot (over 6 percent) and table game (nearly 20 percent) revenue, Parx maintained its lead over Sands Bethlehem.
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $14,475,186.66 (+11.37%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $8,762,325 (+21.94%)
SugarHouse continues to make gains across the board, and based on its current rate of growth, and the size of the facility following its expansion project, SugarHouse is likely to find itself competing with Sands and Parx for No. 1 in the not too distant future.
The casino is still a ways off at the moment, but SugarHouse’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down, and with the launch of a New Jersey online casino, they could start seeing an extra several hundred thousand dollars of revenue coming in each month.
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $20,878,476.49 (-.54%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $5,300,662 (-10.28%)
Despite declines in both slot and table game revenue in September — only one of two casinos that was down on both counts, Lady Luck was the other — Rivers Casino is still the third highest grossing casino in the state. But the Rush Street-owned Rivers continues to lose ground to another Rush Street property, SugarHouse.
If the current trends continue, SugarHouse should overtake Rivers sometime in 2017.
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $16,582,481.25 (+1.42%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $4,330,848 (-11.12%)
It was good news/bad news for Harrah’s in September, with slot revenue ticking up by about 1.5 percent, while table game revenue dropped by over 11 percent.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $17,901,962.72 (+1.01%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $3,630,620 (+16.94%)
Mohegan Sun posted solid gains in September, as slot and table games revenue both grew significantly, particularly table games.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $12,069,155.59 (+3.85%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $3,859,988 (-2.12%)
Mount Airy stopped the bleeding on the table game front, as revenue was down just two percent in September. You may be wondering how a decline in what was a good month industry-wide is good news, but compare September’s small dip to the massive declines over the course of the summer and you’ll see why Mount Airy would be happy with a small decline.
During the past three months, table game revenue was down 17 percent in June, 12 percent in July and 29 percent in August.
Even more promising, Mount Airy’s slot revenue jumped by nearly four percent YoY.
Valley Forge Casino Resort
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $6,579,073.10 (+10.81%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $2,428,132 (-20.34%)
It was a tale of two months for Valley Forge as slot revenue was up by over 10 percent, and table game revenue was down by nearly twice that much.
The Meadows Casino
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $18,001,682.59 (+2.61%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $2,036,221 (-16.27%)
September was a pretty stable month for Meadows, as the casino’s slot revenue gains offset a significant drop-off on the table game side of the business.
Presque Isle Downs and Casino
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $9,874,109.80 (+.16%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $1,648,283 (+53.69%)
Presque Isle saw its slot revenue hold steady, but the casino managed to post a significant year-over-year increase thanks to table game revenue surging over 50 percent.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $16,712,849.50 (-3.20%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $2,977,838 (+6.07%)
The Hollywood Casino trend of volatility continued in September, as slot revenue dropped off substantially, while table game revenue ticked up slightly.
The Penn National property has been up and down all year, with little rhyme or reason to the ups and downs.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- Slot revenue, September 2016: $2,501,164.50 (-.42%)
- Table game revenue, September 2016: $317,269 (-12.28%)
The smallest casino in the state continues to struggle for market share. Lady Luck is also struggling with consistency, as the casino’s monthly revenue ebbs and flows seemingly at random.