Coming off a record-setting month in March, the Pennsylvania casino industry showed no signs of slowing down in April. Total casino revenue was up nearly 4% for the month per the monthly revenue reports issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
April’s gains were largely on the back of table game revenue, which rose over 11 percent year-over-year. Slot revenue also rose YoY, but only by a modest amount compared to table games — 1.5 percent.
Overall, there weren’t any big gains or losses by the individual operators (the largest YoY increase was just over nine percent, while the largest decline was just over two percent), with most of the state’s 12 casinos posting small gains or losses.
With revenue continuing to rise, Pennsylvania is proving to be the exception to the rule in the U.S. casino market. The state is on an upward trajectory, and heading towards its best year to date.
Meanwhile the legislature is still mulling over a bill that would further strengthen the industry and increase revenue numbers. The measure being considered, HB 649, would among other things, allow video lottery terminals at select locations and authorize PA online casinos.
A look inside the YTD revenue numbers
April marks the eighth consecutive month the Pennsylvania casino industry posted year-over-year gains, and as noted above, the industry is on its way to its best year to date.
Here is a look at the year-to-date tally for Pennsylvania’s casinos:
- January 2016 gross gaming revenue – $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%)
Year-over-year, the industry as a whole is up 4.8% year-to-date:
- 2016 gross gaming revenue YTD = $1,094,633,311
- 2015 gross gaming revenue YTD = $1,042,241,985
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]: $3,326,128,788
Who’s up in PA
March 2016 revenue: $48,531,262 (2015: $44,452,844)
- YoY change +9.17
Parx had the best month of any Pennsylvania casino. The casino not only generated more revenue than any of its competitors, it also posted the largest year-over-year gain, 9.17 percent, and extended its lead over the No. 2 casino in the state, Sands Bethlehem.
Parx has topped the state’s revenue charts for seven consecutive months and beat Sands by 10% in April.
- March 2016 revenue: $26,299,934 (2015: $24,127,134)
- YoY change +9.01%
SugarHouse Casino has been one of the industry’s real success stories. The casino has gone from being in the bottom of the trail pack that is perpetually chasing Parx and Sands, to nearly leading it.
In April the casino saw its revenue rise over nine percent, and this trend could continue for quite some time, considering SugarHouse just recently put the finishing touches on a massive expansion project.
The Meadows Casino
- March 2016 revenue: $22,095,921 (2015: $20,283,534)
- YoY change +8.94%
Meadows followed up an impressive March, with an even more impressive April. After seeing GGR increase some six percent in March the casino posted a nine percent increase in April.
Meadows slot revenue was up nearly five percent for the month, the highest percentage increase of any operator in the state. Yet this pales in comparison to its table game revenue increasing an astounding 48%, also the highest percentage increase in the state.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
- March 2016 revenue: $15,862,020 (2015: $15,157,092)
- YoY change +4.65%
Mount Airy‘s ascent in the Pennsylvania casino hierarchy continued in April.
The casino is proving it can compete in the market despite the restrictions imposed on it by its category 3 resort casino license.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- March 2016 revenue: $23,461,903 (2015: $22,619,834)
- YoY change +3.72%
Mohegan Sun had a strong showing in April, with GGR up nearly four percent for the month. Most of the gains came from a nearly 14 percent increase in table game revenue, although slot revenue was also up, but by less than two percent.
Mohegan Sun is now on the verge of overtaking Harrah’s, a potential achievement that seemed unlikely just a year ago.
- March 2016 revenue: $43,877,133 (2015: $42,920,508)
- YoY change +2.23%
Sands Bethlehem posted modest gains in April, which wasn’t enough to keep the casino from losing even more ground to Parx. What used to be a two-horse-race to be the top revenue generator in the state (a race often won by Sands) has turned into a case of a clear cut No. 1, Parx, and a No. 1a, Sands Bethlehem.
- March 2016 revenue: $30,574,515 (2015: $30,016,628)
- YoY change +1.86%
Rivers remains one of the more consistent performers in the market, evidenced by its uncanny ability to generate about $30 million in total GGR each and every month. This is something Rivers accomplished in March of 2015 and 2016, as well as in April of 2015 and 2016.
Presque Isle Downs and Casino
- March 2016 revenue: $11,451,714 (2015: $11,268,063)
- YoY change +1.63%
Presque Isle Downs had an April like many of its competitors: fairly nondescript. Presque Isle’s slot revenue was static in April, but it did see a nice increase, 14 percent, in table game revenue YoY.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- March2016 revenue: $3,111,694 (21015: $3,065,834)
- YoY change +1.50%
Lady Luck continues to lag behind the rest of the Pennsylvania casino industry, posting just over $3 million in revenue for the month, which means Lady Luck accounts for a mere one percent of the state’s monthly revenue tally. On a positive note, the small casino has been consistently hovering around the $3 million mark and may have simply settled into its place in the market.
Who’s down in PA
Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- March 2016 revenue: $22,027,271 (2015: $22,068,278)
- YoY change -.19%
April was a relatively stagnant month for Hollywood Casino. The casino’s table game and slot revenue were both down incrementally, but were basically a wash.
- March 2016 revenue: $24,218,245 (2015: $24,703,433)
- YoY change -1.97%
Harrah’s Philadelphia appears to be the victim of SugarHouse’s success, as the two casinos are relatively close to one another. Following the completion of SugarHouse’s expansion project, Harrah’s revenue has been consistently ticking down.
If this trend continues, Harrah’s could find itself at the bottom of the trail pack in the near future.
Valley Forge Casino Resort
- March 2016 revenue: $9,694,886 (2015: $9,894,730)
- YoY change -2.02%
After bursting through the $10 million mark for the first time in the casino’s history, Valley Forge saw its monthly revenue dip back under $10 million in April. More troubling for the Category 3 resort casino is that revenue fell just over two percent YoY. This occurred on the heels of Valley Forge’s strong March, when the casino posted six percent growth.