The bad news for PA slot revenue
Gross slot machine revenue for Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos down 2.4 percent in January of 2017 as compared to the same month in 2016. Revenue checked in at $180.3 million, a decrease from $184.8 million.
Tax revenue collected in January was $95.8 million.
That’s the fourth straight month in which revenue declined year over year, and the fifth out of the past six months.
The recent past for PA slots
Most months have brought bad news from PA’s casinos for slot machine revenue:
- August: Down $9 million.
- September: Up $5 million.
- October: Down $6 million.
- November: Down $8 million.
- December: Down $12 million.
That constitutes a trend that it’s not clear that Pennsylvania will break out of.
Some casinos hurt worse than others
While some individual casinos have been able to buck the trend and post flat or positive numbers, seven casinos saw their revenue dip in January.
The biggest impact last month — and in most recent months — hit Harrah’s Philadelphia. Harrah’s saw slot revenue drop more than 10 percent, or just under two percent.
Other casinos that saw noticeable drops included Mohegan Sun Pocono, The Meadows Casino and Mount Airy.
Valley Forge and Lady Luck Nemacolin experienced increases of about seven percent.
More regional competition for PA casinos
The climate for PA casinos, especially those near the New York and Maryland borders, isn’t going to get any better in the short term.
- MGM National Harbor opened near Washington, DC
- Two of New York’s four commercial resort casinos are now open, with two more on the way.
It all adds up to more regional competition that is likely to hurt the bottom line of the PA casino industry as a whole.
PA online gambling an answer?
The possibility of the state legalizing online gambling remains a viable option to help PA casinos moving forward.
With slot machines apparently in continual decline, PA online casinos and poker rooms could help stem the tide.
Online gambling helps the bottom line of casinos in terms of real revenue. It can also help casinos activate new patrons or connect with current and/or lapsed casino visitors.