Three PA Online Casino Applicants, Will More Apply In Time?

Parx, Stadium Casino, and Mount Airy all applied for the comprehensive online gaming licenses, but did any other casinos sneak in before the deadline?

Up until this past week, not a single Pennsylvania casino applied or petitioned for an online gambling license of any form.

That changed on Thursday when Philadelphia’s Parx Casino became the first of three casinos to apply for the $10 million all-in-one online gambling license.  It includes licenses for online table games, poker, and slots.

Casinos had until July 15 to apply for the all-in-one license. With the deadline now passed, casinos must pay the a la carte price of $4 million for a slots, table games, or a poker license.

The three applicants: Parx, Mount Airy, Stadium

One of the more interesting facets of the online gambling applications is the fact that the three casinos which applied reflect three different types of PA casinos.

Parx is the state’s flagship casino. Its revenue numbers consistently reach the top spot. This past June, it was the only casino to surpass $30 million in slots revenue ($34.84 million). It finished over $10 million ahead of over runner-up Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

Mount Airy, on the other hand, is one of the state’s lowest-grossing properties. The property brought in $12.85 million in slots revenue this past month. That is roughly 36 percent of what Parx earned in June.

The final applicant is a yet-to-be-constructed property owned by Stadium Casino LLC.

Applicants all have mini-casinos too

Parx, Mount Airy, and Stadium Casino have the distinction of being the only casinos to apply for both an all-inclusive gambling license as well as a satellite casino license.

This licensed triumvirate now has the luxury of earning revenue from three different sources: land-based casino, online casino, and satellite casino.

Exactly how much revenue they’ll earn through these two new streams is a figure yet to be estimated. There’s a good chance we’ll know the online gambling figures sooner than later. After all, neighboring New Jersey has shown that the path from licensure to a fully operational casino can take just a matter of months.

Satellite casinos are a whole different beast. Construction needs to begin, staff needs to be hired, permits need to be secured, and a litany of other small details need to be finalized.

There’s a good chance the first satellite casino won’t be open for at least 18 months.

Down the road: A la carte applications ahead?

With the deadline passed you have to wonder if any other PA casinos will make a move to get an individual license for table games, slots, or poker.

Likely candidates may be casinos who’ve yet to spend money on satellite casinos. These are:

Of these eight casinos, owners of some of these casinos have partnerships in other states with online gambling operators. Others also have deals in place with iGaming providers.

More PGCB Applications Raise More Questions About PA Sports Betting

A new round of applications are open for sports betting suppliers, but we are still waiting on a Pennsylvania casino to seek a sports betting license.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)  opened up the application period for sports betting operators, manufacturers, and suppliers.

A press release from the PGCB provided definitions of each category of applicant, essentially splitting the categories up into companies that operate sports betting systems, manufacture equipment that’s used in sports betting, or supply manufactured equipment.

Pennsylvania is in uncertain sports-betting times

At the time of publishing, no casinos had applied for a sports betting license, rendering the announcement of the new license application period relatively unimportant.

This absence of applications would lead one to believe that sports betting operations like William Hill, Kambi, and Bet365 won’t be filing their applications any time soon. And they certainly won’t be doing it if their partner casinos have no plans to get in the game.

It’s as if the opening of another application session is like announcing that rental applications are being accepted in a ghost town.

Many point to this lack of momentum as the direct result of Pennsylvania’s astronomically high sports betting tax rate — 36 percent — in addition to a $10 million licensing fee.

One of the more striking moments came early June when William Hill CEO Joe Asher told the Philadelphia Inquirer exactly why William Hill hasn’t jumped on the chance to enter the PA sports betting market:

“Pennsylvania is in a different bucket because of the tax rate. We can’t figure it out. Because of it, we haven’t spent the time or effort in Pennsylvania that we have in New Jersey. The tax rate is such a big challenge.”

Ashton’s reference to New Jersey is a popular one in discussions about Pennsylvania’s tax rate. The Garden State’s sports betting tax is eight percent.

High taxes another bill among many for casinos

Perhaps one of the unintended consequences of the historic 2017 gambling expansion bill was that several prominent casinos in the state — the kind at which you’d expect to see a sportsbook — spent considerable amounts of money on Category 4 (satellite) casinos licenses:

These licenses allow the casinos to run a satellite with 300-750 slots. It will cost them another $2.5 million if they want to add up to 30 table games, too.

If Hollywood Casino were to add table games to their two satellite casinos, their overall costs just to buy licenses would be north of $62 million, and that’s not even considering the cost of building a new mini-casino.

What will future PA sports betting look like?

If Asher’s quote is any indication of how the global sportsbooks feel about the PA market, then it may be months before we hear of any big names applying for manufacturer, supplier, or operator licenses.

While Pennsylvania’s casinos seem to have cold feet, it may only take one casino to announce a partnership and subsequent sportsbook to convince casinos participating in sports betting is worth the monetary hurdles.

WaWa Wowie! Grocery Store Sells Biggest June Scratch-Off Winners In PA

In June, the Pennsylvania Lottery awarded $167 million in scratch-off prizes, including two $1 million winners who bought tickets at Wawa.

Let’s just say it was a good month to buy lottery tickets at WaWa.

The Pennsylvania Lottery sent out a press release this week announcing that scratchers surrendered $167,335,899 in winnings this past month, including two $1 million tickets sold at WaWas in Lower Macungie and Fairness Hills.

The release also noted that PA Lottery patrons also won four $300,000 prizes.

Power Payday leads the way

According to the PA Lottery’s official list of June $1,000+ winners, $1,000,000 Power Payday was the lucky man’s game.

The scratcher was responsible for a $1 million prize won by “Matthew S.”, a $100,000 prize for “Edwin G.” and a quartet of $10,000 winners.

Power Payday was also quite generous with $1,000 payouts. More than 200 people were listed as winners of $1,000, including three men named “Thomas K”.

Inside perspective on winning $1 million

The PA Lottery features some of their past winners, choosing to include short articles about some of the winners.

A good example of what it’s like to win a million dollars from a scratcher is Shari G., whose PA Lottery story notes she bought the winning ticket in Lebanon.

Shari told lottery representatives she was so excited she couldn’t sleep.

“I got all the way to the last number and when I saw there was a match, I shouted, ‘No way! I threw the ticket down and started pacing in circles. I picked up the ticket, checked it again and said, ‘I think I just won a million dollars!'”

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Eventful spring and summer for PA Lotto

This past June, the Lottery launched its iLottery games per the provisions state lawmakers provided in the historic 2017 gambling expansion bill known simply as “Act 42”.

Crossover between existing scratch-offs and online scratchers was prohibited and, therefore, the launch of the iLottery also was the launch of a variety of new games with dramatic names, including  Monster Wins, Volcano Eruption, and Super Cash Buster.

At the time of the launch, Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko had this to say in a press release about his organization’s online expansion:

“PA iLottery games are a fun, new way to play and win from home or while on the go. iLottery is a big part of our effort to meet our players where they already are while generating new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians. We’re partnering with our more than 9,400 Pennsylvania Lottery retailers to encourage players to sign up for iLottery.”

Casinos beefing with lottery

The new iLottery provides new avenues for gambling and is an attractive option for those who don’t want to lace up and head down to the corner gas station to get a couple of scratchers.

Casinos don’t seem too happy with the new iLottery games, though. Because the online instant win games can be played in rapid succession, casinos are arguing that they mimic slot machines, which would be a violation of Act 42, which has a provision to protect brick-and-mortar casinos by banning competing legal games.

Thirteen casino ownership groups signed a letter laying out their concerns for Gov. Tom Wolf. The group threatened legal action if Wolf didn’t take action earlier this month.

The state responded by requiring the Lottery to change its marketing campaign, which previously included comparisons to slot machines.

Surprise, Surprise: College And Pro Sports Don’t Like PA Sports Betting Laws

The pro sports leagues and Pennsylvania’s biggest colleges authored letters to the PA Gaming Control Board about changing the sports betting regulations.

To say the tides turned would be a nice way of putting it.

Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that have passed sports betting bills that, at one time, would’ve drawn the ire of the country’s top professional sports leagues and the NCAA.  That ire has now turned into an iteration of the leagues’ desire to control sports betting once more.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released their temporary sports betting regulations on May 31. Since then, the leagues and the NCAA have offered their opinions on why the temporary legislation isn’t sufficient.

Leagues say there aren’t enough consumer protections

One of the narratives that the leagues have pushed leading up to and after the downfall of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) this past May is consumer protection. How will states ensure that the information bettors are using to make their bets is accurate?

From their perspective, a team or individual could hide and injury that could influence betting. If consumers don’t have the correct information, they are betting without what should be complete confidence in the data.

Protecting that information is paramount to running a legit sportsbook, the leagues said.

The NFL, MLB and NBA have been the most outspoken about “official data”. Sometime over the past three weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers signed a  joint letter to the PGCB. In that letter, in they said the current laws lack clear regulations for official data.

They requested that the laws include provisions for “fan access to official, reliable league data.” In other words, the leagues would most likely work with a contractor to provide “official data” to sportsbooks.

The continuity aspect of the argument has some merit. That is, assuming the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and PGA use the same data provider.

However, in a practical sense, it is a tough sell to say that official data is necessary. After all, sports sites like Yahoo already provide millions of fantasy sports players in-depth and instant updates on player health, game conditions and other factors that would influence roster decisions or, in this case, betting decisions.

University of Pittsburgh asks for money

What makes this round of letters unique is that the University of Pittsburgh is asking for compensation to cover the cost of staffing and operations to protect student-athletes from gambling scandal.

The compensatory payments are known as “impact fees“.

Pitt’s ask for impact fees is similar to what the Pittsburgh Pirates asked for in their letter to the PGCB earlier this month.

While the Pirates certainly have the revenue to cover the extra hires it would need to protect the integrity of Pirates baseball, don’t get caught up in thinking Pitt is cash poor.

According to a 2017 press release from the university, their endowment stood at $3.52 billion, putting them at #26 among the nation’s colleges and universities.

Pennsylvania Built A Sports Betting Industry And Nobody Came

Pennsylvania has temp regulations in place for sports betting, but so far no casino is interested in the $10 million license to take bets.

Thin margins and high fees; they could be the death of sports betting in Pennsylvania.

On May 31, the state released its temporary sports betting regulations and the following day the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) started accepting petitions for sports betting from the existing 12 casinos and one casino to come.

Nobody submitted a petition and while it’s hard to say exactly what’s keeping casinos from applying, they may have 10 million reasons why.

High fees could be deterring casinos

Per the state’s sports betting legislation, casinos must pay $10 million and complete an application in order to secure a sports betting license. Once their sportsbooks are up and running, the state will take another 36 percent of each casino’s revenue.

Pennsylvania is, historically speaking, a tax-heavy state. Casinos pay a 54 percent tax on their casino revenue. The revenue money is split four different ways:

  • State tax: 34%
  • PA race horse development fund: 12%
  • Economic development and tourism fund: 5%
  • Local share assessment: 4%

When it comes to sports betting, Pennsylvania will charge a 36% tax on gambling revenue.

This is significant considering that margins are already thin for sports books and Nevada and New Jersey have significantly lower tax rates on sports-betting revenue.

36% tax is steep based on revenue

Nevada sportsbooks have a historic win of around 4.5 percent. While it’s hard to predict how much money sports betting in PA will bring, we can theorize that the average win will be similar to Nevada.

A 36 percent state tax on a 4.5 percent win would drop that win down to 2.8 percent. In terms of dollars, that’s the difference between, say $100 million in revenue and $64 million.

36% tax is steep based on other states’ rates

Aside from the implications, a 36 percent tax has on overall revenue numbers for PA sports books, there’s the issue of other states’ rates.

Nevada charges a 5 percent tax while New Jersey’s tax is scheduled to be 8 percent. The PA sportsbook tax is more than seven times higher than Nevada and more than quadruple New Jersey’s rate.

Comparing satellite casino fees to sports betting fees

Another aspect of the PA gambling expansion was satellite casinos (“Category 4 casinos”). Licenses for these casinos require a minimum of a $7.5 million bid in the PGCB’s auctions.

While the first two licenses went for more than $90 million combined, the past two have dipped below $10 million each, which leads to the question: Why are casinos hesitant to submit sports-betting petitions for $10 million when satellite casinos licenses are just a few million cheaper, have higher tax rates, and require funding for construction and all the expenses related to building a new facility?

The issue may be projected revenue. Satellites will most likely bring in more revenue than sportsbooks.

It seems as though the casinos believe this is the case, as five satellite licenses are off the board with just five remaining. Meanwhile, at the time of publishing, no sports-betting petitions had been filed.

Photo Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

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PGCB Taking “Daunting” Gambling Expansion Process Slow And Steady

David Harbach of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board talks about the complicated new Sports Betting Certificate petition process.

The regulatory plates continue to spin.

This past week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced that it would begin accepting petitions from its 13 casino license holders for sports betting licenses. The move came a day after the PGCB announced temporary regulations for sports betting.

Of note is the fact that satellite casinos, at this point, cannot apply for a sports betting license.

The basics of PA’s sports betting regulations

At the time of publishing, the temporary regulations for submitting a petition for sports betting included many of the typical requirements for a gambling license.

The petitioner must provide information about all the key employees and principals that would be involved in the sports betting operation. This also includes manufacturing or operating firms whom the casino will hire.

In addition to this, the petitioner needs to tell the PGCB approximately how many jobs the launch of a sportsbook creates.

Other items of note from the regulations include the fact that PA casinos can offer land-based, mobile, and interactive sports wagering. Properties can do so either individually or in combinations of two or three.

If the petitioner wants to run an offsite sportsbook — i.e. not on their property — then they have to provide the location at which they’ll operate their book.

The licenses cost $10 million and allow the casinos to run a temporary sports book for up to 18 months.

Harbach: Methodical approach, intelligence key to managing unprecedented workload

Often lost in the discussion about new regulations is what goes on behind the headlines and press releases.

When asked about what it takes for the PGCB to efficiently manage three different application/petition rounds, Doug Harbach, director of communications for the board, expressed pride about and confidence in the PGCB’s skill set.

“It is indeed a daunting process, one that a gaming agency has never been asked to undertake (all) at once, but we will handle it well through a methodical and intelligent approach, not launching these games to the public until we have the oversight process set up correctly.”

He also noted that the PGCB is also handling all the administrative and regulatory responsibilities that come with VGTs, mini-casinos, and airport gaming.

Intentional, intelligent course the safe bet for PA

The PGCB’s commitment to navigating the regulatory nuances of the state’s myriad new gambling avenues isn’t just a “nice-to-hear” proclamation. It’s also a necessity for a state that many see, along with New Jersey, as the tip of the regulatory spear in a post-PASPA world.

Rather than aiming for a strict deadline, the PGCB seems to be taking an approach that emphasizes getting it right. They would rather take extra time than launch VGT’s, airport gaming and sports betting first and then cleaning up weaknesses later.

Among the early successes of the regulatory process following the Oct. 2017 gambling expansion bill (Act 42) are the Category 4 license auctions for satellite casinos.

The PGCB has sold five of the licenses so far, earning more than $125 million in winning bids from Philly Live!, Mount Airy, Parx, and two from Penn National.

PA Lawmaker Urges State To Hurry Up With Those Sports Betting Regulations

Pennsylvania Rep. Frank Farry is urging state lawmakers to get on the stick when it comes to adopting sports betting in PA and accepting wagers.

There’s no shame in being eager.

This past week, Rep. Frank Farry sent an official letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) dated May 23 asking the board to implement the proper regulations for sports betting as soon as they can.

“I strongly encourage the Gaming Board to adopt the appropriate regulations as soon as possible. Legalizing sports wagering will serve as a job creator in the Commonwealth as well as provide much-needed revenue to Pennsylvania,” Farry said in the letter.

Farry sees revenue opportunity in wagering

One day after his letter, Farry posted an article on his website providing some more insight. His initial letter was brief and did not elaborate on the reasoning behind his request.

The article indicated that Farry’s PGCB ask was based on two things: the

  • Revenue that sports betting brings
  • Lost revenue being gambled illegally

“Between license fees and tax revenue, sports betting has the potential to be a lucrative revenue source for the budget and priority programs such as education, human services and public safety,” Farry said in the article. “It will also serve as a job creator in the Commonwealth.”

The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that legalized sports betting will create around 152,000 jobs nationwide. The organization also projects $5.3 billion in tax revenue.

Pennsylvania will most likely be among the states with the highest tax revenue dollars from sports betting. Act 42, the legislation that expanded gambling in Pennsylvania, provided a preliminary framework for sports betting that could make the state one of the first to implement sports betting.

As for curbing illegal gambling, Farry said “millions of dollars are being wagered illegally on sporting events in Philadelphia,” and that it’s important to end that with legal betting.

He concluded his quotes with another strong admonition for the PGCB:

“We have an opportunity to be on the forefront of a sustainable revenue option that would benefit the state and our communities, and I encourage the Gaming Control Board to act quickly in establishing the necessary guidelines.”

High taxes ahead for PA sportsbooks

Pennsylvania has long had a reputation for being a high-tax state for casinos. According to numbers from the AGA, it’s typically in the top two for tax revenue from commercial casinos.

The state charges a 54-percent tax on slots and video poker. Meanwhile, Nevada charges a 6.75-percent tax on gambling wins.

The proposed tax rate for sports betting is 34 percent. These high taxes will make life a little more difficult for sportsbooks, especially considering that Nevada sportsbooks’ average win is around 4.5 percent.

A 34 percent tax on that win rate would reduce a sportsbook’s take to 3.02 percent.

In years where big underdogs win on the big stage, that 34-percent tax could sting. For example, it’s estimated that Las Vegas sportsbooks could lose $5 million if the Las Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup.

Rush Street Teams Up With Kambi For Sports Betting

Rush Street Gaming, which owns two Pennsylvania casinos, is partnering with gambling software company Kambi to prepare to offer sports betting now that it is legal in the Keystone State.

Rush Street Interactive is ready for sports betting.

This past week they announced via press release they have launched a partnership with global sportsbook supplier Kambi Group PLC. The move marks Rush Street’s first major play toward sports betting. The company owns two Pennsylvania casinos, SugarHouse and Rivers Casino.

In the release, Kambi Cheif Executive Kristian Nylen said Kami’s top-notch products are a good fit for the American gaming group.

“This agreement with Rush Street Interactive, one of the most respected gaming companies in the U.S., is recognition that Kambi not only has online premium sports betting services ready to appeal to American sports enthusiasts, but those services will help protect the integrity of sports.”

Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz also noted that the company has full confidence that the partnership will produce an excellent product that preserves the integrity of each bet.

Kambi partnership may be a sign that PA tax isn’t a big issue

One of the key issues of sports betting in Pennsylvania is the proposed 36 percent tax on sportsbook revenue.

Greg Gemignani, an attorney with Dickinson Wright who specializes in gaming law, said in an interview that sportsbooks could face financial difficulties if state taxes are enough that they take a significant chunk of the operation’s win.

He pointed out that Nevada sportsbooks have, historically speaking, averaged a 4.5-percent margin. Should Kambi and Rush Street implement sports betting via SugarHouse and Rivers, a 36-percent tax revenue would drop that 4.5-percent win to 2.88 percent.

We don’t know yet whether or not PA sportsbooks clear 4.5 percent. However, the Rush Street-Kambi deal reveals that both parties understand the cost and the taxes involved with running a sportsbook in Pennsylvania. And even with the potentially low margins, they are moving ahead regardless.

Competition a foregone conclusion

What will be interesting as Pennsylvania’s regulators determine the path and scope of sports betting is the concept of competition.

New Jersey’s Supreme Court of the United States win was somewhat of a formality. Atlantic City casinos were prepping for sports betting long before a decision came in.

For example, Borgata announced this past November that they were planning to open an $8 million sportsbook.

Atlantic City will no doubt provide serious competition with Pennsylvania’s eastern casinos. One of those is Philadelphia’s SugarHouse. It’s worth nothing the drive from Philly to Atlantic City is about an hour on the weekend without traffic.

Will Philadelphia residents choose to head to Atlantic City for its glamour and sportsbooks? Or will they stay “local” and go to Philadelphia to place their bets?

What is certain is that Kambi is ready to implement their sportsbook operations in the United States.

The company published a response to the SCOTUS repeal of PASPA this past week, saying the following:

“Kambi believes it is well positioned to enter the US as and when local laws permit, and is excited by the prospect of US sports fans being able to enjoy the Kambi Sportsbook.   As previously communicated, Kambi has been proactive to ensure it is ready to launch in the US on day one of a legal market, and remains confident it will be able do so.”

Xpress Sports Virtual Wagering Hot On Keno’s Heels

Next up in the expanded offerings from the Pennsylvania Lottery is Xpress Sports, a virtual sports offering from Inspired Entertainment.

Pennsylvania sports fans, year-round action is on its way.

Inspired Entertainment Inc. announced in a press release this past week that the company is partnering with the Pennsylvania Lottery. The company will provide virtual sports games that will launch sometime in the near future.

Inspired Entertainment Executive Chairman Lorne Weil expressed enthusiasm in a quote featured in the release.

“We are delighted to announce this key milestone for the Pennsylvania Lottery and Virtual Sports fans in the state. We’re introducing the thrill of Virtual Sports betting for the first time to Pennsylvanians, and we’re gratified to have been chosen by the Pennsylvania Lottery to deliver these new gaming entertainment products to its valued players with our high-quality Virtual Sports graphics and animation.”

According to the release, Inspired’s various virtual sports contests will be branded as “Xpress Sports“. The offering will operate through the Lottery’s central gaming system.

Football, stock car races will be rolled out first

The release noted that two games will be available at launch: Rush Stock Car Racing and 1st Down Virtual Football. These virtual competitions will take place at restaurants, bars, and taverns and will be transmitted through a pair of television monitors.

The contests are entirely fictional and computer-generated. Bettors can place their money on which team they think will win and who will win or finish first-second-third in the stock car race.

The random nature of the contests makes them similar to draw games. You choose a sequence of numbers — or in this case, a driver or team. Then all you can do is hope that your picks match the outcome.

A promotional video from Inspired gives bettors a sense of what the Pennsylvania game could look like. In this particular example, there are 12 cars in the race. Each car is designated by a car number and a driver’s last name.

Bets are cut off a certain amount of time before the race starts. When the green flag falls, the cars leap off the line and complete two laps around the track. A fictional announcer adds staccato commentary about which cars are in the lead at each turn.

While existing videos of Inspired’s virtual football game are limited, what has been revealed shows crisp graphics, stats, and play-by-play action.

Keno first to launch in PA

Over the past few months, exactly which games would be offered by the PA Lottery was a mystery.

That uncertainty cleared up quickly when, on May 1, Keno launched at lottery terminals in restaurants and bars. The terminals provide new games every four minutes.

Players can put down $1-$20 per game, choose up to 10 numbers from one to 80 and then sit back as the game selects 20 random numbers.

According to the PA Lottery’s website, matching all 10 numbers will earn you a $100,000 prize, but the chances of hitting all 10 numbers are one in 8,911,711.

Could The Pennsylvania Slots Be Having A Winning Season?

April slots revenue was only up slightly over last year, but it marks the second-straight month of year-over-year growth for Pennsylvania casinos.

New numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) indicate the state’s 12 casinos grossed 0.2 percent more in April 2018 than they did in April 2017.

While April’s growth was slight, it marks two months in a row that PA slots revenues have risen over the previous year.

Breaking down the numbers: Winners and losers

Of the 12 casinos in the state, only four posted gains over April 2017:

Parx and Rivers are two of the top three revenue earners in the state. The April bottom line benefited from this fact, as the two casinos steadied the losses sustained by other properties.

In fact, April marks the second-straight month that all four casinos on the list have posted positive numbers.

In March, the gains were as follows:

  • Valley Forge: 13.64%
  • Presque Isle: 11.53%
  • Rivers: 9.45%
  • Parx: 9.01%

Meanwhile, the other eight casinos struggle through April. Here’s a rundown of their slots revenue losses:

The good news for the Mohegan Sun, Sands, and SugarHouse is that their March gains trumped their April losses, putting them ahead in slots for the past two months.

The good news about the April numbers is that they represent two consecutive months of positive YOY growth.

According to PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach, the average swing in YOY slot revenue ranges from 2 percent growth to 2 percent decline and has been steady for the past few years.

“Our slots numbers have remained consistent over the past number of years even with growing competition … we have seasoned operators who do a very good job of meeting the market demands. They also continue to grow the amenities at the facilities which, in turn, can give patrons more reason to visit and stay longer.”

Looking ahead: How will online slots play out?

A downturn of brick-and-mortar revenue isn’t out of the ordinary during January and February, as inclement weather tends to roll in and keep people away from casinos. As the weather warms and steadies out, slots revenue should level off and continue an upward climb.

However, once the bad weather rolls around next year, brick-and-mortar slots revenue may take an extra hit from the online slots that presumably will be available in January and February.

New Jersey is a good test case for this, as January and February were tough months for land-based casinos as historic rainfall and storms barrelled through the state.

However, the losses casinos experienced weren’t as bad as they could be. Gamblers who didn’t want to brave the bad weather stayed and home and gambling on New Jersey’s online casinos. The revenue from those online gamblers tempered Atlantic City’s losses.

Online slots act as an extra source of revenue but, when it comes to temperamental New England weather, the extra online revenue sources act as insurance against anything that would keep people out of land-based casinos.