The gains were thanks in large part to a near 12 percent increase in table game revenue compared to March of 2015. Overall the industry’s casino revenue (slots and table games) was up over 4 percent year-over-year.
Unlike most other locales, from Connecticut to Atlantic City to Las Vegas, Pennsylvania’s casino industry has thus far avoided the over saturation that has afflicted these other markets. After two consecutive years (2013 and 2014) of trivial revenue declines, Pennsylvania bounced back with a record-setting 2015, and is on pace for a second straight year of record revenue in 2016.
Interestingly, and likely not a coincidence, the Pennsylvania Legislature is one of the more proactive when it comes to keeping its casino industry healthy.
This is evidenced by the number of reforms it is considering, including online gaming and the addition of VLT’s at designated airports and off-track-betting parlors. These reforms and expansions are designed to further bolster the current operators.
A look inside the YTD revenue numbers
With revenue on the rise in January, February, and March, the Pennsylvania casino industry is on pace to tally $3.34 billion in CY2016, a number that would shatter last year’s all-time revenue record of $3.17 billion.
Here is a look at the year-to-date 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%)
Year-over-year, the industry as a whole is up 5.4 percent year-to-date:
- 2016 gross gaming revenue YTD = $813,426,814
- 2015 gross gaming revenue YTD = $771,663,075
Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania
- 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
- 2016 [on pace for]: $3,345,171,510
Who’s up in PA?
- March 2016 revenue: $49,994,112 (2015: $44,682,526)
- YoY change: +11.89%
In the race to the top, Parx out-pipped Sands Bethlehem for the sixth consecutive month, and its lead appears to be widening.
Falling just short of $50 million in revenue, Parx also posted the largest YoY gain of any of the state’s 12 casinos in March, thanks in large part to an incredible 28 percent increase in table game revenue.
- March 2016 revenue: $46,918,830 (2015: $43,344,923)
- YoY change: +8.25%
Sands Bethlehem had a terrific month, with slot revenue up 4 percent and table game revenue up 15 percent. But even with these gains, they slipped further behind Parx.
Valley Forge Casino Resort
- March 2016 revenue: $10,031,452 (2015: $9,434,213)
- YoY change: +6.33%
Valley Forge did it!
For the first time in the casino’s history, it eclipsed the $10 million mark in monthly revenue, something I predicted would occur in last month’s column.
The “resort” casino (visitors must be staying at the hotel or purchase a yearly membership in order to gamble) achieved $10 million in monthly revenue despite a slight YoY dip in slot revenue, thanks to a 28 percent increase in table game revenue.
The Meadows Casino
- March 2016 revenue: $22,949,317 (2015: $21,703,239)
- YoY change: +5.74%
Evidenced by a nearly 6 percent increase in YoY revenue, Meadows Casino continues to make progress in the market.
Even though Meadows may only be producing about half as much monthly revenue as Parx and Sands, the casino’s continued growth has allowed it to keep pace with the increasingly crowded trail pack of SugarHouse, Harrah’s, Penn National, Mohegan Sun, and Rivers Casino.
- March 2016 revenue: $26,519,098 (2015: $25,461,527)
- YoY change: +4.15%
With its expansion efforts wrapped up, including the opening of its Poker Night in America poker room, SugarHouse Casino continues to make gains in the market. March saw SugarHouse pass Harrah’s in revenue, and the casino now ranks fourth in the market, behind Parx, Sands, and its sister casino (both are owned by Rush Street Gaming) in Pittsburgh, Rivers.
- March 2016 revenue: $26,129,301 (2015: $25,606,034)
- YoY change: +2.04%
After a poor February (when it was the only casino to post a significant decline), Harrah’s bounced back with a solid March, posting 2 percent YoY growth, largely due to a 20 percent jump in table game revenue.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
- March 2016 revenue: $16,285,829 (2015: $15,996,923)
- YoY change: +1.81%
Mount Airy continues to creep up towards the crowded trail pack I alluded to above. Growth slowed to just under 2 percent in March, but growth is growth, and a number of casinos did worse.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- March 2016 revenue: $23,529,527 (2015: $23,346,717)
- YoY change: +.78%
Compared to March of 2015, March of 2016 was basically a wash for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as table game revenue bucked the industry trend (Mohegan’s table game revenue was down 20 percent), but this was offset by a 5 percent gain in slot revenue.
Who’s down in PA?
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- March 2016 revenue: $3,037,311 (21015: $3,048,461)
- YoY change: -.37%
Lady Luck remains an also-ran in the PA casino industry, hovering around the $3 million mark in monthly revenue after March revenue remained largely unchanged YoY.
- March 2016 revenue: $30,241,006 (2015: $30,460,711)
- YoY change: -0.72%
Rivers’ revenue remained pretty much unchanged in March, as it posted another $30 million month. Still, the casino continues to be the closest competitor to Parx and Sands.
Presque Isle Downs and Casino
- March 2016 revenue: $11,517,348 (2015: $11,806,003)
- YoY change: -2.44%
After a terrific February, Presque Isle fell back to earth in March… and then some. In February, the small casino was the top gainer when it came to percentage YoY growth, but it gave a little of that back in March, posting a near 2.5 percent YoY decrease.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- March 2016 revenue: $22,014,374 (2015: $22,591,559)
- YoY change: -2.55%
After a second consecutive month that can best be classified as the casino underperforming, Hollywood Casino continues to slip to the back of the Pennsylvania casino market. If the current trends continue, it could find itself falling out of the trail pack in the not-so-distant future.