COVID-19 forced Pennsylvania casinos to close their doors for several months during 2020, causing ripples from which not all have fully recovered.

Others have made complete comebacks, though, even growing beyond pre-pandemic revenue for slots, table games or both. What separates the best from the rest?

Let’s start with upgraded casino floors, retail sportsbooks, new machines and table games, and exciting dining and entertainment options.

Those succeeding have made many of these upgrades with the future in mind. Thus, they are geared toward younger players aged 21-44.

Younger players have different gambling behaviors and spending habits, which some casinos have identified more quickly than others. As time passes, more casinos will catch on and follow this trend.

In the meantime, keep reading to see which PA casinos are evolving to grow their bottom lines in one of the most competitive, dynamic and growing industries in the nation.

Table games are more popular than slots within the younger demographic

Slots continue to be the bread and butter of casinos worldwide, but younger players are increasingly frequenting casinos in search of a more comprehensive experience with retail sportsbooks, bars, restaurants and nightclubs/concert venues. Casinos are listening, too.

“While the slots clientele still slants toward an older demographic as has traditionally been the case, we are hearing casino GMs talk of younger customers’ social gaming behavior, which involves trying out any and all games on the casino floor. While that does include slots, younger gamblers and especially younger sports bettors, gravitate more toward table games,” Chris Imperiale, Managing Editor for PlayPennsylvania, told The Center Square.

Casinos like Wind Creek and Rivers Philadelphia are leaning into this knowledge head-first, installing more interactive table game experiences such as live dealer stadium gaming, which allows more players to sit at the “same table,” so to speak. Electronic tables are replacing traditional ones, giving players more betting flexibility.

“When you hear about new bars with lawn games, fire pits and Topgolf Swing Suites (Mohegan PA), you can bet they’re trying to reach a younger audience,” Imperiale added.

Even slots are beginning to appeal more to younger players, with many new games featuring larger machines and more immersive audio and visual features.

Wind Creek and Parx Casinos lead recoveries in 2022

By the end of 2022, statewide revenue surpassed its 2019 figures for both table games and slots. 

Second-half slot revenue was $1.2 billion in 2022, up 3.6% from $1.16 billion in 2019. Table games revenue grew even more, up 8.4% over the same time frame after reaching $487.5 million. In 2019, table games generated $449.8 million in revenue.

The two largest casinos in the state, Parx and Wind Creek, surpassed table games revenue from 2019 in the year’s second half. Wind Creek broke the state record in table games revenue in July 2022 ($23.6 million), contributing toward $122 million in cumulative revenue through December. In 2019, table games brought in $119 million for the same period.

Slots at Wind Creek came within 1% of 2019 levels, too. Second-half gross terminal revenue totaled $125.2 million in 2022, versus $125.7 million in 2019.

Parx’s 2022 second-half table games revenue also broke nine figures ($100.9 million), up 4.8% from 2019 ($96.3 million).

Mohegan Pennsylvania and Valley Forge also returned to pre-pandemic totals. In contrast, others such as Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, Harrah’s Philadelphia and Rivers Philadelphia have yet to recover.

Increased growth and competition coming to PA casinos in 2023

Pennsylvania’s retail casino industry is one of the healthiest and most established in the nation, growing more than 10% through November 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Its commercial casino revenue ranks second only to Nevada, unaffected by recent events such as New York’s mobile sports betting launch in January 2022.

Four new casinos opened between November 2020 and December 2021, adding more competitors to the equation. Parx Shippensburg is next, opening on Jan. 26.

All of these signs point to more growth throughout 2023. As a result, casinos will need to step up their games to win and maintain players’ business like never before.

This is especially true in the casino-concentrated areas surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Players across the state can look forward to the following as the year progresses:

  • Retail sportsbook upgrades
  • Remodeled high limit rooms
  • More bars and dining options
  • Added entertainment venues and events
  • New hotels and hotel renovations

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