In the confines of brick-and-mortar casinos, slots are more popular than table games. It’s long been the preference of players to sidle up to the slot machine instead of taking their turn at the table.
In terms of revenue in 2019, slot machines in Pennsylvania raked in $2.4 billion compared to table games’ $900 million.
However, with the arrival of PA online casinos, recent numbers hint at a shift.
More wagers recently at online table games
Table games have yet to surpass slots in terms of revenue. But in November and December, table games saw more action than online slots.
Total wagers for online casinos in November:
- Online table games: $176,459,102
- Online slots: $140,300,742
Total wagers at online casinos in December:
- Online table games: $209,993,140
- Online slots: $175,330,191
Perhaps it was just a matter of timing that the statewide numbers skewed this way. Initial offerings at casinos consisted of mostly slots. As rosters added table games, data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) shows that the players’ attention shifted to the tables.
Big things happened to the gaming industry in 2019
Five online casinos arrived in Pennsylvania in 2019.
- Hollywood Casino
- Mount Airy (PokerStars)
- Mohegan Sun (Unibet)
At Hollywood Casino, slots have outperformed table games each month. So far, it’s the only casino in PA where that is the case.
Table games topped slots three of the last six months at Parx. Parx was the only operator with online blackjack and gained an early advantage until the other casinos added the game in late August.
Fueled by progressive slot favorite Divine Fortune, slots ruled at SugarHouse. But in November, table games surpassed slots for the first time, and it did so by nearly $20 million. SugarHouse leads PA online casinos in revenue for both slots and table games.
Mount Airy (PokerStars) had the biggest gulf. In November, table games saw $37 million in action while slot play hit only $10.8 million. The numbers continued to grow the following month as table games ($54 million) widened the gap from slots ($19 million).
It has the benefit of being the only operator in Pennsylvania offering internet poker. Also, PokerStars Casino features 13 table games, which is more than Parx (10) and SugarHouse (seven).
Table games receiving more wagers than slots is an anomaly. Players prefer slots because they are easier to learn and play. Most table games require a level of skill. Pennsylvania has proven different (so far) when it comes to online play.
The PGCB publishes a monthly breakdown of online slot and table games. Since New Jersey does not split their report but rather lists online casinos as a whole, it’s difficult to see what is more popular there. But the best guess is slots are more popular.
For operators, the popularity of table games in PA is no doubt welcome news. A major reason is table games are subject to a much lower tax rate (16%) than slots (54%).
Parx already is upping the ante to capitalize on the clear interest in online table games that exist in Pennsylvania. They will soon become the first in the state to host online live dealer games, including roulette, blackjack and poker. With these additions, table game revenue could outpace slots, even more, going forward.