Pennsylvania Casinos Set New Revenue Record In 2016, But Trouble Could Be Brewing

Pennsylvania’s casinos bested last year’s record setting revenue tally, but a downtrend during the Q4 has some analysts feeling uneasy.

Pennsylvania built up strong revenue tallies during the first three quarters of 2016, and following a demoralizing fourth quarter, the state needed virtually every dollar of it.

Still, a sharp decline in total gaming revenue in December wasn’t enough to stop Pennsylvania casinos from posting their best year to date, as total casino revenue exceeded $3.21 billion in 2016. The previous record was set last year when the industry tallied $3.17 billion in total casino revenue.

Despite setting a new revenue record, a potentially worrisome trend emerged during the last few months of 2016. Slot revenue experienced a pronounced decline, year over year:

  • October 2016 slot machine revenue: $191,850,596.41 (-3.04%)
  • November 2016 slot machine revenue: $179,399,603.94 (-4.34%)
  • December 2016 slot machine revenue: $185,349,872.22 (-6.17%)

In addition to slot revenue falling more than six percent in December, Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos also saw table game revenue dip slightly, by about a half a percent for the month.

Looking at those figures, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia, and some state lawmakers may be regretting their decision to punt on passing the gaming reform bill from 2016. That legislation included online gambling, adding slot machines at airports, and changes to Category 3 licenses that would eliminate the restrictive “membership fee.”

The legislature is expected to revisit the comprehensive gaming package once again in 2017, but even if it does pass this time around, six months after the fact, the damage has already likely been done. The state would be unlikely to reap the benefits of the additional revenue until 2018.

The top line December numbers

Only two casinos avoided the slot revenue decline: SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and Valley Forge Casino. However, both their gains can best be termed as modest.

  • SugarHouse Casino: +2.6%
  • Valley Forge Casino: +2.5%

Here’s a look at the industry-wide breakdown of slot revenue and table game revenue in December:

  • December 2016 slot machine revenue: $185,349,872.22 (-6.17%)
  • December 2016 table game revenue: $71,878,290 (-0.48%)
  • December 2016 total gaming revenue: $257,228,162 (-4.64)

A look inside the YTD revenue numbers

Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue tally for Pennsylvania 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%)
  • April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
  • May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
  • June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
  • July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)
  • August 2016 GGR – $260,904,471 (-4.28%)
  • September 2016 GGR – $260,937,476 (+2.93%)
  • October 2016 GGR – $263,011,981 (-0.91%)
  • November 2016 GGR – $249,637,268 (-1.38%)
  • December 2016 GGR – $3,213,422,178 (-4.64%)

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: $3,213,422,178

SugarHouse and Parx are the clear winners in 2016

For the year, Parx, Sands Bethlehem, Meadows, SugarHouse, and Mount Airy all posted slot revenue increases.

SugarHouse led the way, with a near four-percent jump in slot revenue from 2015. The casino’s growth (which also extends to table games) was spurred on in large part because of the $100 million expansion project it completed in early 2016.

Parx was the second biggest gainer in the slot revenue column, at just under three percent.

On the table game front, it was Sands, Parx, SugarHouse, Valley Forge, Presque Isle and Meadows that bettered their 2015 hauls.

Once again, SugarHouse was the leader in the clubhouse, with an almost absurd 23-percent YoY increase.

Parx was once again the runner-up, despite a solid 12-percent increase in table game revenue.

A casino-by-casino look at the December numbers

Sands Bethlehem

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $24,878,465.50 (-0.87%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $19,010,584 (-4.23%)

With both slot revenue and table game revenue down in December, Sands Bethlehem lost even more ground to its chief rival, Parx. Fortunately for Sands, the damage was mitigated by Parx seeing revenue drop on both fronts as well, just not as steeply.

Parx Casino

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $32,491,477.87 (-1.45%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $13,087,664 (-1.7%)

Parx missed an opportunity to put some daylight between itself and Sands. But the casino has to feel good about its current position in the market and future outlook, considering it was the top-grossing casino for most of the year.

SugarHouse Casino

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $14,136,034.00 (+2.6%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $10,165,490 (+17.59%)

SugarHouse continues to buck industry trends. Even during a down month, table game revenue and slot handle soared at the Philadelphia casino.

Considering the gains SugarHouse has made since completing its expansion project, I suspect other casinos are starting to look at their own reinvestment plans.

Rivers Casino

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $21,793,193.38 (-6.14%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $6,162,798 (+2.33%)

Like most of the casinos in Pennsylvania, Rivers Casino suffered through a really tough month on the slot floor. It did see a small uptick in table game revenue.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $15,888,020.02 (-14.71%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $5,691,000 (-16.53%)

It was yet another rough month for Harrah’s Philadelphia as the casino saw both slot and table game revenue go through double-digit declines.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $16,236,316.35 (-12.03%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $3,948,244 (-7.62%)

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was one of four casinos that saw slot revenue drop by more than 10 percent year-over-year.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $9,891,824.73 (-11.02%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $3,611,371 (-5.59%)

Mount Airy saw sharp declines in slot revenue and table game revenue in December.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $6,533,471.73 (+2.48%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $2,745,041 (+17.39%)

Valley Forge had a very good December, particularly considering how the whole industry performed.

For the year, Valley Forge should be content, as slot revenue was fairly static and table game revenue was up more than six percent. The casino would greatly benefit from the Category 3 license changes the state is considering, which could set it up for a strong 2017.

The Meadows Casino

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $17,218,203.13 (-9.73%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $2,958,673 (+14.21%)

For the second consecutive month, Meadows has seen table game revenue rise significantly. What makes this a bit of an aberration is Meadows, which is not known for table games, is doing this while the industry as a whole experiences revenue declines.

Of course, the nearly ten-percent drop in slot revenue made December a bad month for Meadows.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $7,485,692.63 (-20.88%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $1,010,490 (-10.77%)

December 2016 will go down as one of the worst months in Presque Isle’s history. The good news was table game revenue was down just 10 percent. The horrible news was slot revenue was more than 20 percent off last December’s pace.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $16,751,442.79 (-3%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $3,235,782 (+7.25%)

With slot revenue down three percent and table game revenue up (for the second consecutive month) by more than seven percent, it was a pretty steady month for Hollywood Casino.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

  • Slot revenue, December 2016: $2,045,730.09 (-2.63%)
  • Table game revenue, December 2016: $251,154 (-36.52%)

The state’s smallest casino in terms of revenue, Lady Luck followed up a 25-percent drop in table game revenue in November with a 36-percent drop in December.

New Chair Of Key PA Committee Bullish On Online Gambling

A key Pennsylvania lawmaker is optimistic on online gambling coming to the Keystone State in the next few months.

A key Pennsylvania lawmaker is optimistic on online gambling coming to the Keystone State in the next few months.

The optimistic forecast for PA online gambling

Pennsylvania state Sen. Mario Scavello — the newly appointed chairman of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee — made some news on Friday when he told Mark Gueretze of CDC Gaming Reports: “It looks like online gaming has the support to pass.”

Scavello, went on to tell CDC a meeting is scheduled for January 17 in which legislators will hammer out the specifics of a bill. Then:

“Sometime in March, we’ll have something done and passed in the House and Senate,” Scavello said.

It’s the latest evidence that lawmakers intend to move forward on a host of gambling issues, iGaming included.

What will the bill look like

One of the proposals under consideration comes from Senate minority leader Jay Costa. Costa laid out his vision for a comprehensive gaming reform bill last week in a memorandum. That included what many felt an excessive base tax rate (25 percent) imposed on online gambling operators.

Senate Republicans are also expected to introduce their own proposal. It’s unclear if that proposal will be closer to the bill passed by the House last session (which had a base tax rate of 14 percent). They could decide to pump up the tax rate even higher, as some have called for a tax rate as high as 54 percent.

Casinos interested in online gambling are looking for a tax rate of around 15 percent, and could conceivably accept a rate up to 20 percent.

Reasons for and against

Online gambling’s failure to even get a vote in the Senate in 2016 was a bit of a head-scratcher:

  • The House passed a bill containing online gambling legalization not once but twice in 2016.
  • The Senate agreed to partially fund the state’s 2016/2017 budget with $100 million of online gambling revenue (the majority of which would come from up-front licensing fees), which most saw as the Senate agreeing to legalize online gambling.
  • Online gambling has strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

On the other hand, online gambling was lumped in with a number of other gaming reforms, any one of which capable of peeling off the support of a senator or two:

  • Daily fantasy sports legalization;
  • Authorizing slot machines at select airports and off-track betting parlors;
  • Changes to Category 3 licenses that would remove “membership fees” for a lump sum payment;
  • A solution to the local share tax issue that was dropped in the legislature’s lap at the tail-end of the session.

In addition to simply not having the votes to pass a gaming reform bill in 2016, last month we learned there was some behind the scenes lobbying taking place. Sen. Robert Tomlinson was circulating anti-online gambling talking points.

There are two other plausible reasons for the Senate’s inaction in 2016, both of which are no longer a concern in 2017: Leadership and elections.

Change in leadership

As noted above, Scavello is the new chairman of the CERD Committee, which is the gateway for gambling bills in the Senate.

Scavello replaces Sen. Kim Ward, who seemed less than enthusiastic about online gambling in 2016. She went so far as to throw out a bit of disinformation regarding her role in advancing legislation:

What Ward failed to mention in this exchange was the fact that HB 2150 — which could have also served as a vehicle for online gambling legalization — was in her committee for several months. The Senate never acted on it.

Little has changed in the few months since Ward said the Senate didn’t have the votes to pass a bill legalizing online gambling. In the wake of Scavello’s assessment that the Senate has the votes to pass the bill, it will be interesting to see how Ward does vote if and when legislation is brought to the floor this spring.

2016 was an election year

Election years, particularly presidential election years, are notorious for legislative inaction. Incumbents don’t want to give their opponents any ammunition to use against them during the campaign.

Legislators that were up for reelection in 2016 were likely trying to avoid voting on anything to do with gambling. It is always a contentious issue in which the attack ads that basically write themselves. Rep. John Payne discovered this when the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling started running attack ads against the retiring state representative who was spearheading online gambling legalization in the state.

Senators up for reelection were probably hoping the legislature would simply punt the issue into 2017. That would have given them a few years before their next election to let the vote run its course. Instead of defending against theoretical attacks about having voted to expand gambling and put underage and problem gamblers at risk, they could point to the actual results online gambling has produced.

Sands Bethlehem Casino Racks Up Another $50,000 In Fines For Underage Gambling

Sands Bethlehem’s owner claims he can stop underage gambling at land-based casinos and not at online gambling sites.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board whacked three casinos with fines totaling $165,000.

One of those casinos, Sands Bethlehem, was hit with a $50,000 fine for failing to prevent five minors from gambling at its property.

The recent incidents were:

  • A 19-year-old male gained access to the gaming floor where he wagered at slot machines and consumed alcohol;
  • A 20-year-old female gained access to the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines;
  • Two males, ages 19 and 20 years old, gained access to the gaming floor and wagered at slot machines; and,
  • A 20-year-old male gained access to the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines.

Eighth time the casino has been fined

When it comes to minors accessing the casino floor, Sands is a repeat offender. Since opening, the casino has amassed some $430,000 in fines for allowing people under the age of 21 access to gambling areas and/or serving them alcohol:

Underage gambling is often stopped

To be fair, Sands isn’t the only casino that has fallen victim to these fines, nor is it overly lax in trying to thwart underage gamblers.

According to Sands Bethlehem CEO Mark Juliano, the casino has a pretty good success rate, turning away about 300 people per day for not having valid ID. But it’s also trying to get better.

Juliano told the PGCB that Sands has added new ID scanners at entry points and replaced the velvet rope line that previously separated the gaming areas from common areas. Previously, steel and brass gates created a single checkpoint.

“You literally would have to jump over the fence to get in,” Juliano said at the hearing.

Why does Sands get singled out?

The reason Sands is often singled out for underage gambling violations has to do with its chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson’s remarks about online gambling.

In 2013, Adelson touted the ability of land-based casinos to stop underage gambling in an interview with ABC News. At the same time he dismissed the efficacy of online gambling when it comes to monitoring underage access:

“The possibility of underage children finding ways to place online wagers and the possibility of people betting under the influence of drugs or being coerced are all scenarios that can happen when the person is only monitored by their own computer screen.

On the other hand, when a person makes an effort to get dressed, join some friends and head to the local casino for a night of entertainment, they must show themselves as adults, and their behavior can be observed and ultimately managed by security and other staff if needed.”

Sands has been an opponent of PA online casinos, which is on the state legislature’s radar this year.

It should be noted that to date, there hasn’t been a single incident of underage gambling at any of the regulated online poker or casino sites in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey.

Because of Adelson’s comments and online gambling’s stellar track record, the performance of his properties are (fairly or unfairly) scrutinized on this front.

Record Year Looms For PA Casinos, But Slot Revenue Slides In November

November revenue was down year-over-year, but barring a cataclysmic event, Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos are going to set a new revenue record for the year.

In honor of the latest Star Wars movie’s release this past weekend, I’ll sum up the most recent Pennsylvania casino revenue numbers with an Obi-Wan Kenobi paraphrase: November’s revenue were not the numbers they were looking for.

The good news is table game revenue jumped an impressive seven percent year-over-year. The bad news is it still wasn’t enough to offset the more than four-percent decline in slot machine revenue.

Still, it’s important to keep casino revenue in perspective, as the nearly $250 million tally in November all but guarantees 2016 will set a new revenue record — barring a blizzard that shuts down the state for a week or more.

The top-line November numbers

SugarHouse was the only casino to avoid the slot revenue decline, as the Philadelphia casino continued its remarkable 2016 with a six percent year-over-year increase in slot revenue.

Coupled with SugarHouse’s 26.5 percent increase in table game revenue, the casino was the clear winner in November, as total gaming revenue was up nearly 14 percent.

The only other casinos that posted YoY increases in November were market leaders Parx and Sands:

  • SugarHouse Casino: +13.95 %
  • Parx Casino: +5.06 %
  • Sands Bethlehem: +4.2 %

Here’s a look at the industry-wide breakdown of slot revenue and table game revenue in October:

  • November 2016 slot machine revenue: $179,399,603.94 (-4.34 %)
  • November 2016 table game revenue: $70,237,664 (+7.1 %)
  • November 2016 total gaming revenue: $249,637,268 (-1.38 %)

A look inside the YTD revenue numbers

Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue 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%)
  • April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
  • May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
  • June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
  • July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)
  • August 2016 GGR – $260,904,471 (-4.28%)
  • September 2016 GGR – $260,937,476 (+2.93%)
  • October 2016 GGR – $263,011,981 (-.91%)
  • November 2016 GGR – $249,637,268 (-1.38%)

Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is on pace to beat its previous high water mark, set last year when casinos tallied $3.17 billion.

Through 11 months, the state’s casinos have tallied $2,957,120,713, guaranteeing it will eclipse $3 billion in total gaming revenue for the sixth consecutive year. Short of something unforeseen occurring, a new high-water mark will be set.

A new revenue record also seems extremely likely, as the state’s 12 casinos would need to hit just $217 million in total gaming revenue to eclipse last year’s record setting tally of $3,173,787,012.

  • 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

A casino-by-casino look at the numbers

Sands Bethlehem

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $23,927,676.61 (-1.17%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $19,882,805 (+11.50%)

Sands Bethlehem and Parx are generally following similar month-to-month trends, ebbing and flowing in unison. In November, both casinos saw slot revenue slide and table game revenue rise.

But throughout most of the year, Parx’s declines have been a bit smaller and their gains a bit bigger. That explains Parx’ ascendence to the top of the monthly revenue charts in Pennsylvania for most of 2016.

But Sands isn’t sitting on its hands, and with online gambling (a vertical Sands would likely have eschewed) facing an uncertain future in 2017, Sands’ proposed $40 million expansion project could be the push it needs to once again overtake Parx.

Parx Casino

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $29,973,170.46 (-.93%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $14,381,739 (+20.20%)

Parx continues to outpace Sands as the state’s top revenue generator (Parx’s streak at the top of the charts is now four months), but both properties continue to lose ground to SugarHouse, which has been narrowing the gap throughout 2016.

Interestingly, it has come to light that Parx was against (or at the very least not in favor of) online gambling. Perhaps its hold on the top spot played a part in its lack of support for online gambling at the tail end of 2016?

SugarHouse Casino

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $14,098,741.33 (+6.22%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $10,301,474 (+26.54%)

Even when the industry has been down, SugarHouse has been able to buck the trend, as it did once again in November.

SugarHouse is now less than a million dollars (about $600,000 to be more precise) away from taking over the third spot from Rivers, its sister casino in Pittsburgh. That is pretty impressive considering the gap was 10 times as wide a year ago, at more than $6 million.

Rivers Casino

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $19,787,513.66 (-9.46%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $5,295,858 (-6.56%)

Rivers’ revenue was down across the board in November. There is nothing remarkable in the casino’s dip in and of itself, as most casinos in the market suffered a similar fate.

That being said, looking forward to 2017, Rivers is likely to lose its hold on the No. 3 spot to SugarHouse sooner rather than later.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $14,979,396.65 (-11.76%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $4,735,526 (-13.44%)

Harrah’s had a tough October, and November wasn’t any better.

Following a 10 percent decline in slot revenue and an 18 percent drop in table game revenue in October, Harrah’s saw double digit declines in both areas once again in November. Slot revenue dropped almost 12 percent and table game revenue nearly 13.5 percent.

In November 2015, Harrah’s was ahead of SugarHouse by about four percent; in 2016 SugarHouse is in front of Harrah’s by almost 20 percent.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $16,328,388.94 (-8.44%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $2,868,969 (-15.68%)

The story of November was drops in both table game revenue and slot machine revenue, and the Mohegan Sun numbers followed suit.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $10,507,043.13 (-4.91%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $3,494,310 (-8.31%)

After surviving the slot revenue declines that hit the industry in October (one of only three casinos that saw slot revenue rise last month), Mount Airy succumbed in November, as slot revenue was down nearly five percent.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $6,000,843.07 (-1.24%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $2,495,262 (-11.60%)

All things considered, Valley Forge had a decent November. Slot revenue was down just a percentage point, and even with a sharp drop in table game revenue, the casino’s total revenue was down less than five percent.

The Meadows Casino

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $16,929,802.45 (-6.19%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $2,746,001 (+19.03%)

Meadows had a disastrous month on the slot revenue front (the fourth worst drop in the industry), but the casino’s sharp uptick in table game revenue helped offset it, keeping Meadows’ YoY decline at just 3.33 percent.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $8,796,250.13 (-2.57%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $1,110,985 (-8.97%)

Presque Isle revenue was down across the board, but the racino managed to limit the damage. Total gaming revenue dropped by 3.33 percent, making Presque Isle the fifth best performing casino in November.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $15,889,807.33 (-4.11%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $2,605,722 (+3.71%)

Only SugarHouse, Parx and Sands had a better November than Hollywood Park. The casino mitigated its slot revenue decline with a slight uptick in table game revenue, which limited the damage and kept its YoY decline at just three percent.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

  • Slot revenue, November 2016: $2,180,970.18 (-7.85%)
  • Table game revenue, November 2016: $319,014 (-25.49%)

Lady Luck was posting $3-million months earlier this year, but the small casino has fallen back once again, and revenue is back in the $2.5 million range heading into 2017.

Pennsylvania Casino Revenue Down In October; Table Games Save The Month

Gains in table game revenue offset a decline in slot handle in October, as Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos saw total revenue drop by less than 1 percent.

For Pennsylvania casinos, October was a tale of two revenue streams. On the one hand, table game revenue jumped by five percent industry-wide. On the other hand, slot revenue at the state’s 12 casinos dropped by three percent.

Taken together, total casino revenue was down less than one percent year-over-year for the month.

October was only the third time Pennsylvania’s casino industry posted a YoY decline, and two of those months, October and June, saw revenue dip by less than one percent. September had been a month of solid growth.

The top line October numbers

For Pennsylvania casinos, October was a tale of two revenue streams. On the one hand, table game revenue jumped by five percent industry-wide. On the other hand, slot revenue at the state’s 12 casinos dropped by three percent.

Taken together, total casino revenue was down less than one percent year-over-year for the month. October was only the third time Pennsylvania’s casino industry posted a YoY decline, and two of those months, October and June, saw revenue dip by less than one percent.

The top line October numbers

October revenue was relatively static at nine of the state’s casinos, ranging between -5.26 percent and +2.11 percent.

The two Philadelphia area casinos, SugarHouse and Harrah’s, continued to move in opposite directions. SugarHouse’s total monthly revenue jumped almost 19 percent. Harrah’s experienced yet another month of double-digit revenue decline, as total revenue dropped by 11.5 percent year-over-year.

Here were the three outliers in October:

  • SugarHouse Casino: +18.74 percent
  • Harrah’s: -11.52 percent
  • Lady Luck: -10.93 percent

Here’s a look at the industry-wide breakdown of slot revenue and table game revenue in October:

  • October 2016 slot machine revenue: $191,850,596.41 (-3.04%)
  • October 2016 table game revenue: $71,161,384 (+5.35%)

A look inside the YTD revenue numbers

Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue 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%)
  • April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
  • May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
  • June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
  • July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)
  • August 2016 GGR – $260,904,471 (-4.28%)
  • September 2016 GGR – $260,937,476 (+2.93%)
  • October 2016 GGR – $263,011,981 (-.91%)

Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is on pace to beat its previous high-water mark, set last year when the state’s casinos tallied $3.17 billion. Through 10 months, the state’s casinos have tallied $2,707,483,445. Historically, Pennsylvania can expect November and December to add $520 million or more to its tally.

  • 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

A casino-by-casino look at the numbers

Sands Bethlehem

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $25,057,866.26 (+2.17%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $16,828,699 (-10.34%)

After out-pipping Parx for two months, Sands Bethlehem has fallen behind Parx as the top revenue-producing casino for the third consecutive month in October. More troubling for Sands is the amount by which Parx was able to outpace it in October, some $2.5 million.

A lot of ground was ceded on the table game side, as Sands saw a 10-percent YoY drop, while Parx managed to post a five-percent increase.

With the North Jersey casino referendum failing, and with online gambling legislation on hold until 2017, Sands is likely to forge ahead with an expansion project designed to bolster its already best-in-the-industry table game offerings.

Parx Casino

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $31,807,584.58 (+.98%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $12,772,722 (+5.04%)

Thanks to gains in both slot and table game revenue, Parx is once again the clear top dog in the market. One of the few casinos to post slot and table game revenue gains, Parx is no doubt very pleased with its October numbers.

SugarHouse Casino

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $14,926,311.14 (+5.22%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $10,657,745 (+44.82%)

What SugarHouse has done throughout 2016 is downright remarkable.

The Philadelphia casino went all-in on an massive expansion project (completed earlier this year) that has propelled it up the revenue charts. SugarHouse is on the verge of overtaking Rivers Casino (a sister property owned by SugarHouse’s parent company Rush Street Gaming) as the third highest grossing casino in Pennsylvania, and is also within striking distance of Parx when it comes to table game revenue.

If SugarHouse goes through with a planned second expansion project (which would, among other things, add a hotel), it will likely find itself challenging Parx and Sands.

Rivers Casino

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $21,632,607.36 (-5.05%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $6,312,487 (+11.17%)

The gap between Rivers and SugarHouse is closing, but Rivers still has a veritable monopoly on the Pittsburgh area, which should allow Rivers to keep pace. October was a good news/bad news month for Rivers. Slot revenue was down five percent YoY as table game revenue jumped more than 11 percent.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $16,857,930.53 (-9.24%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $5,434,645 (-17.91%)

It’s hard to envision Harrah’s having a worse October.

Not only did its regional rivals see revenue jumps, but Harrah’s revenue was down significantly across the board, as the casino posted a near 10-percent decline in slot revenue and a staggering 18-percent drop in table game revenue.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $17,018,525.36 (-6.39%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $4,603,835 (+20.29%)

Like several other Pennsylvania casinos, Mohegan Sun saw slot revenue drop and table game revenue rise in October.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $11,647,663.22 (+.76%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $3,782,901 (-1.56%)

Mount Airy had a very even October. Slot and table game revenue fluctuated very little year-over-year, and Mount Airy was one of only a handful of casinos that could boast positive slot revenue for the month.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $6,374,220.05 (-2.72%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $3,386,312 (+12.14%)

Valley Forge followed the industry’s October trend, with slot revenue down and table game revenue on the ascent.

The Meadows Casino

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $18,023,978.85 (-6.86%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $3,028,774 (+39.59%)

Sensing a pattern yet? Meadows also saw slot revenue dip and table game revenue rise, but in this case, the table game gains were quite substantial, as YoY revenue was up nearly 40 percent.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $9,405,960.82 (-5.41%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $2,886,859 (+8.68%)

Presque Isle was yet another casino with declining slot revenue and rising table game revenue. Even with nearly nine-percent YoY growth on the table game side of the ledger, Presque Isle was down significantly in total casino revenue.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $16,795,712.74 (-7.30%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $1,051,801 (+6.30%)

Hollywood Casino had a bad month of slot machine handle, with revenue down more than seven percent YoY. Modest gains on the table game side helped mitigate the slot revenue decline.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

  • Slot revenue, October 2016: $2,302,235.50 (-11.34%)
  • Table game revenue, October 2016: $414,603 (-8.59%)

Lady Luck wasn’t able to keep pace with its competitors in the market, as both table game and slot revenue fell significantly in October.

 

Pennsylvania Casino Revenue Rebounds In A Big Way In September

Pennsylvania’s casino industry rebounded from a disastrous August, posting nearly a three percent revenue increase in September.

On the heels of a disappointing August, the Pennsylvania casino industry bounced back — to borrow a word from Donald Trump — bigly in September, with total casino revenue up nearly three percent year-over-year, and both slot handle and table game revenue posting YoY gains.

The September rebound makes August’s decline look even more like an outlier, as total gross gaming revenue (GGR) has been up in seven of the nine months. The only other month where the industry posted a YoY decline was June, when total GGR was down just 0.2 percent.

The September numbers

September saw most casino post year-over-year gains, and of the four casinos that posted losses, three of the four were under two percent. The worst YoY loss was just -2.68 percent, posted by Rivers Casino.

Two casino posted solid gains in September:

Here’s a look at the industry-wide breakdown of slot revenue and table game revenue in September:

  • September 2016 slot machine revenue: $192,150,329.51 (+2.43%)
  • September 2016 table game revenue: $68,787,147 (+4.35%)

A look inside the YTD revenue numbers

Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue 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%)
  • April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
  • May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
  • June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
  • July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)
  • August 2016 GGR – $260,904,471 (-4.28%)
  • September 2016 GGR – $260,937,476 (+2.93%)

Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is on pace to blow past its previous high water mark, set last year when the state’s casinos tallied $3.17 billion.

  • 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

A casino-by-casino look at the numbers

Sands Bethlehem

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $24,761,852.36 (-.55%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $19,403,808 (+3.46%)

After reclaiming the top spot from Parx Casino during the summer, Sands Bethlehem slot revenue dipped for the second consecutive month, allowing Parx to jump ahead of Sands as the highest revenue generator in the Pennsylvania casino industry for the second consecutive month.

Sands is believed to be considering a $40 million table games expansion, but the project appears to be contingent on certain legislative actions not occurring. That would include a gaming reform bill that might see slot machines introduced at off-track-betting parlors in the state.

Parx Casino

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $31,812,334.95 (+6.05%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $14,091,154 (+19.98%)

September was a spectacular month for Parx Casino. With solid gains in slot (over 6 percent) and table game (nearly 20 percent) revenue, Parx maintained its lead over Sands Bethlehem.

SugarHouse Casino

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $14,475,186.66 (+11.37%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $8,762,325 (+21.94%)

SugarHouse continues to make gains across the board, and based on its current rate of growth, and the size of the facility following its expansion project, SugarHouse is likely to find itself competing with Sands and Parx for No. 1  in the not too distant future.

The casino is still a ways off at the moment, but SugarHouse’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down, and with the launch of a New Jersey online casino, they could start seeing an extra several hundred thousand dollars of revenue coming in each month.

Rivers Casino

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $20,878,476.49 (-.54%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $5,300,662 (-10.28%)

Despite declines in both slot and table game revenue in September — only one of two casinos that was down on both counts, Lady Luck was the other — Rivers Casino is still the third highest grossing casino in the state. But the Rush Street-owned Rivers continues to lose ground to another Rush Street property, SugarHouse.

If the current trends continue, SugarHouse should overtake Rivers sometime in 2017.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $16,582,481.25 (+1.42%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $4,330,848 (-11.12%)

It was good news/bad news for Harrah’s in September, with slot revenue ticking up by about 1.5 percent, while table game revenue dropped by over 11 percent.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $17,901,962.72 (+1.01%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $3,630,620 (+16.94%)

Mohegan Sun posted solid gains in September, as slot and table games revenue both grew significantly, particularly table games.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $12,069,155.59 (+3.85%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $3,859,988 (-2.12%)

Mount Airy stopped the bleeding on the table game front, as revenue was down just two percent in September. You may be wondering how a decline in what was a good month industry-wide is good news, but compare September’s small dip to the massive declines over the course of the summer and you’ll see why Mount Airy would be happy with a small decline.

During the past three months, table game revenue was down 17 percent in June, 12 percent in July and 29 percent in August.

Even more promising, Mount Airy’s slot revenue jumped by nearly four percent YoY.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $6,579,073.10 (+10.81%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $2,428,132 (-20.34%)

It was a tale of two months for Valley Forge as slot revenue was up by over 10 percent, and table game revenue was down by nearly twice that much.

The Meadows Casino

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $18,001,682.59 (+2.61%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $2,036,221 (-16.27%)

September was a pretty stable month for Meadows, as the casino’s slot revenue gains offset a significant drop-off on the table game side of the business.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $9,874,109.80 (+.16%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $1,648,283 (+53.69%)

Presque Isle saw its slot revenue hold steady, but the casino managed to post a significant year-over-year increase thanks to table game revenue surging over 50 percent.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $16,712,849.50 (-3.20%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $2,977,838 (+6.07%)

The Hollywood Casino trend of volatility continued in September, as slot revenue dropped off substantially, while table game revenue ticked up slightly.

The Penn National property has been up and down all year, with little rhyme or reason to the ups and downs.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

  • Slot revenue, September 2016: $2,501,164.50 (-.42%)
  • Table game revenue, September 2016: $317,269 (-12.28%)

The smallest casino in the state continues to struggle for market share. Lady Luck is also struggling with consistency, as the casino’s monthly revenue ebbs and flows seemingly at random.

 

Penn National Launches Social Casino App Mere Weeks After Acquiring Rocket Games

Thanks to the acquisition of Rocket Games in August, Penn National has launched its first social casino app, dubbed Hollywood Classic Slots.

With the unveiling of Hollywood Classic Slots, Penn National is the latest casino corporation to jump into the mobile social casino market.

The new app from the operator of Hollywood Casino in Pennsylvania will bolster the company’s already significant social casino offerings. Those are available at HollywoodCasino.com and HollywoodSlots.com, both of which were launched in 2015.

Acquisition of Rocket Games

The launch of Hollywood Classic Slots mobile app was made possible by the company’s recent acquisition of mobile social casino game developer Rocket Games, in a reported $60 million deal in August.

Penn National Gaming President and CEO, Timothy J. Wilmott, said at the time of the acquisition:

“Penn National’s accretive acquisition of Rocket highlights our ongoing strategic initiative to acquire emerging growth platforms that complement, and allow us to leverage, our core regional gaming operations and database of over three million active customers.”

Hollywood Classic Slots part of Penn National’s online strategy

“This is an exciting time to launch Hollywood Classic Slots and Rocket’s content as our classic slots on our HollywoodCasino.com platform and at our land-based casinos have proven to be very popular with players,” Chris Sheffield, the senior vice-president and managing director of iGaming at Penn National, said in a press release.

Sheffield noted how Rocket’s ability to create Hollywood Classic Slots following the acquisition (in a matter of weeks) was a testament to the company. He went on to explain Penn National’s social casino goals, and how the newly launched Rocket mobile games fits into their overall strategy.

“After our customers visit any of our 20 land based casinos, we want them to have the option of continuing the fun of playing our exciting play for fun social slot games from the comfort of their own homes. In addition, with Hollywood Classic Slots, we have plans to incorporate our loyalty program, Marquee Rewards, so customers can earn rewards to use at their favorite casino. With Rocket’s proven track record of popular slot titles, we’re confident this new product will provide our customers hours of action and excitement.”

Bill Gelpi, CEO of Rocket, echoed Sheffield’s comments, saying, “With Hollywood Classic Slots, we’ve already started to realize strong install, retention and monetization metrics, and are optimistic that we have another successful game for our first joint game launch.”

Penn National’s comprehensive online approach

The acquisition of Rocket Games is just a single part of Penn National’s broader online plans.

In January 2015, Penn brought on industry veteran Chris Sheffield to head up its newly formed interactive division, Penn Interactive Ventures. Sheffield, a former executive at UK sportsbook BetFred, and the CEO and founder of Million-2-1 Limited, a mobile gaming platform that was acquired by IGT in 2008, added instant experience to Penn National’s nascent interactive division.

Since the creation of the interactive division and the hiring of Sheffield, Penn National has been rolling out social casino products, and has been one of the leading voices advocating for the legalization and regulation of PA online casinos.

In August, at the time the company finalized the acquisition of Rocket Games, Wilmott explained the reasons behind Penn National’s new online focus:

“Since the separation of our gaming assets from our real estate assets in 2013 we have been highly focused on a broad range of growth and diversification initiatives. Launched last year, Penn National’s Hollywoodcasino.com and Hollywoodslots.com social casino offerings have been very well received by players, are profitable and serve as effective customer acquisition tools for our operations.

Based on our internal analysis, a significant segment of Penn National’s database customers actively participate in social and online gaming, and we believe there are meaningful operating and revenue synergies between Penn National’s operations, our Hollywoodcasino.com and Hollywoodslots.com social casino offerings and Rocket’s operations that will drive near- and long-term growth for our shareholders.”

Is Sands Bethlehem Using Potential Capital Investment To Kill Online Gambling?

Sands Bethlehem has submitted plans for a $40 million expansion project that would create a new dedicated poker room.

Sands Bethlehem is one of the most successful Pennsylvania casinos. But in the rough-and-tumble casino industry, you’re either growing or you’re dying. Sands doesn’t want to fall into the latter category… so long as the growth is on the land-based side of the industry; not online gambling.

According to the Morning Call, Sands Bethlehem has submitted plans for a $40 million, 100,000-square-foot expansion project. About a third of the square footage would be gaming space, including a new poker room that would open up space on the main casino floor for other table games.

The Morning Call reports that the, “Plans call for knocking out the north wall of the casino — now lined by slot machines — to build a two-story expansion.” It goes on to say that the newly created floor space would include, “restaurants with 215 seats and the additional gambling space, which would give the casino more than 180,000 square feet of casino floor. The addition would be 97,301 square feet.”

Relocating the poker room is the key

The current poker room at Sands Bethlehem is ill-designed and oddly located in the center of the casino.

Not only is this prime casino real estate, but the poker room is only separated from the rest of the casino floor by a railing, allowing the sounds and lights of the casino’s slot machines to be a constant distraction to players. Essentially, the location of the poker room isn’t beneficial to the players or the casino.

Because of this, the project seems to be built around moving the poker room to a new dedicated location at the back of the casino, which would free up some of the most heavily trafficked space on the casino floor.

Table game cap complicates the project

Problematic in all of this is Pennsylvania’s table game cap.

Sands currently has 237 table games, just 13 shy of the 250 cap imposed by the state. If the project calls for more table games it would require the approval of Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, something that is far from guaranteed, but isn’t unheard of.

However, there are ways around this that would allow Sands to call this a table-game expansion without exceeding the 250 game cap.

One possibility would be for Sands to move its poker room to the new location, and fill the vacated space with the slot machines from the back wall that is knocked down and/or the 13 table games it’s capable of adding.

Another possibility starts the same, with the poker room being moved to the new location. Instead of adding table games on the main casino floor, the new poker room would be expanded by 13 tables, with the slot machines and/or some type of bar or restaurant put in its former location.

Yet another possibility would be for Sands to add more “stadium gambling” games. According to PGCB spokesperson Richard McGarvey, the board considers every five positions in a stadium gambling setup one table game.

This would allow Sands to add up to 65 stadium gambling seats — the current stadium gambling setup at Sands Bethlehem has 150 seats. Smaller versions have been set up at the Sands-owned Palazzo in Las Vegas.

Leverage against online gambling?

Of Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based casinos, Sands is the only property opposing the legalization and regulation of online gambling. Prohibiting online gambling is a battle Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Sheldon Adelson has been waging for several years.

Unsurprisingly, Sands has intimated the proposed project is contingent on Pennsylvania not legalizing online gambling. It is also likely contingent on the North Jersey casino referendum that will be decided in November, although the company hasn’t commented on this publicly.

“I don’t know where they think all these new customers are coming from, but we’re certainly not going to continue to make a commitment to reinvest if they follow through with this,” Sands CEO Mark Juliano said in June in regards to the possible addition of slot machines at OTB locations and in bars and taverns. Juliano’s comments were also made when online gambling momentum was at a high point.

Still, despite his company’s opposition to PA online casinos, Juliano also said that online gambling legalization wouldn’t be the end of Sands investment in Pennsylvania. “Fundamentally opposed to online gaming, yes,” Juliano said in the same interview. “But would it keep us from investing? Probably not.”

Still, it’s not difficult to imagine Sands using this $40 million capital investment as a bargaining chip against online gambling legalization. Because it’s being billed as a table games expansion, it would bring about more jobs than a slot machine expansion where very few jobs would be added.

Beyond moral opposition, there are very few legitimate reasons for lawmakers to oppose online gambling legalization, but a loss of capital investment that would bring jobs to the area is one.

*This column was edited on 10/3 to clarify reporting from the Morning Call.

Up And Down Summer Continues For Pennsylvania Casinos With Poor August Revenue

After a period of unprecedented growth, the Pennsylvania casino industry saw revenue drop nearly five percent in August compared to August of 2015.

Any way you slice it, Pennsylvania’s casino industry had a dismal August.

Revenues were down almost across the board: Table games, slots, individual operators, year-over-year, and month-over-month.

Adding insult to injury, the August decline put an end to a nearly year-long streak of growth.

From September 2015 to May 2016, Pennsylvania’s casino industry posted year-over-year revenue gains each and every month. The streak came to a semi-halt in June, after the industry posted a microscopic decline of .02 percent. July saw revenues back in the black, with revenue growth of 2.95 percent.

And then August happened.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, the declining revenue may help push a gambling expansion bill across the finish line. The latest numbers show the Pennsylvania casino industry isn’t immune to the cannibalization and receding revenue other jurisdictions are seeing.

The bill would, among other things, legalize PA online casinos and daily fantasy sports, and make some structural changes to Category 3 license holders that would allow them to increase their land-based gambling footprint.

The August numbers

The August revenue reports issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board puts total casino revenue at $260,904,471 in August. Table game revenue was down 3.7 percent YoY. Slot revenue was down 4.5  percent.

Eleven of the state’s 12 casinos saw revenue decline YoY (the only exception was SugarHouse Casino). Only a single casino, Valley Forge, posted a YoY increase in slot handle.

  • August 2016 slot machine revenue: $193,949,366.66 (-4.47%)
  • August 2016 table game revenue: $66,955,105 (-3.73%)

A look inside the YTD revenue numbers

Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue 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%)
  • April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
  • May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
  • June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
  • July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)
  • August 2016 GGR – $260,904,471 (-4.28%)

Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

Despite the August setback, Pennsylvania is still on pace to have its best year to date. The previous high-water mark was set last year when the state’s casinos tallied $3.17 billion.

  • 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

A casino by casino look at the numbers

Sands Bethlehem

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $24,788,628.16 (-2.8%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $19,334,469 (-1.02%)

Even though Sands Bethlehem experienced only modest declines in slot and table game revenue during one of the worst months in recent history, it was still enough to cede its tenuous position as the top revenue generating casino in Pennsylvania back to Parx.

As noted above, online gambling could soon be legalized in Pennsylvania. If the state does legalize online gambling Sands is expected to forego launching an online gambling site. That would likely mean Parx will be able to cement its place as the top revenue-generating casino in the state with the addition of a new revenue stream.

Parx Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $31,988,404.99 (-.28%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $12,938,984 (+.71%)

Parx not only eclipsed its rival Sands Bethlehem, but the casino managed to buck the downward trend, as revenue was virtually flat year-over-year.

SugarHouse Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $14,030,492.80 (-.18%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $8,509,687 (+21.94%)

SugarHouse has been on a tear of late (thanks to a massive expansion project that the property wrapped up earlier this year). August was far from the property’s best month during this run from a numbers perspective. However, it could very well be its best month, considering SugarHouse was the only casino to post YoY gains in August.

Table games continue to be where SugarHouse hangs its hat, as the casino has clearly separated itself from all of the state’s casinos not named Parx and Sands when it comes to monthly table game revenue.

Rivers Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $21,884,335.87 (-7.66%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $5,404,034 (-17.59%)

The Pittsburgh-based Rivers Casino continues to be the third-highest grossing casino in the state. Unlike its sister casino in Philadelphia, SugarHouse, (both properties are owned by Rush Street Gaming) Rivers is going in the wrong direction.

Rivers was down nearly 10 percent YoY, with both slot and table game revenues undergoing a significant decline.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $16,265,982.01 (-8.99%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $5,757,736 (+10.25%)

All in all, August wasn’t too bad for Harrah’s, which is doubly important considering Harrah’s has been bearing the brunt of nearby SugarHouse’s gains.

Revenues slipped less than five percent YoY, and Harrah’s continues to run neck-and-neck with SugarHouse for the No. 4 spot on the state’s monthly revenue list.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $17,899,498.69 (-6.18%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $3,002,410 (-17.61%)

Mohegan Sun had a similar month to Rivers, as there’s little positive news for the casino in this month’s revenue reports.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $12,385,625.81 (-6.06%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $3,283,432 (-29.24%)

Once again, table game revenue at Mount Airy fell off a cliff. This trend has been going on for three months now, with table game revenue down 17 percent in June, 12 percent in July, and a whopping 29 percent in August.

Mount Airy was one of two casinos (Meadows being the other) that experienced a double digit decline in YoY revenue.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $6,526,640.14 (+2.89%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $2,792,677 (-8.14%)

Valley Forge is one of the few casinos that will likely be content with its August numbers. Revenue was virtually flat at the small casino, with a slight uptick in slot revenue offsetting the casino’s declining table game revenue.

In fact, Valley Forge was the only Pennsylvania casino that saw slot revenue increase YoY in August.

The Meadows Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $18,323,551.37 (-5.7%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $1,625,299 (-46.77%)

Table game revenue was down significantly at a number of casinos in August, but nowhere near the drop-off Meadows saw. The nearly 50 percent drop in slot revenue YoY might be explained by a significant jackpot being hit.

Also of note, the PGCB recently approved the conversion of Meadows operator license from Washington Trotting Association to Pinnacle Entertainment. Pinnacle will take over day to day operation of the property, with WTA leasing the property to them.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $10,217,083.27 (-4.34%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $1,167,941 (+11.59%)

Like most Pennsylvania casinos, Presque Isle saw its slot revenue drop significantly. Unlike most of the other casinos, Presque Isle was able to mitigate the slot decline with solid table game revenue numbers.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $16,976,162.84 (-7.06%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $2,786,057 (+12.16%)

Even a 12 percent increase in table game revenue was unable to  put much of a dent in the declining slot revenue at Hollywood Casino of over seven percent — the third worst in the state in August. Overall, revenue dipped nearly five percent YoY for the storied racetrack and casino.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $2,662,960.71 (-5.95%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $352,378 (-29.91%)

Lady Luck is on the verge of falling below the $3 million mark in monthly revenue. The casino’s revenues often fluctuate due to its size and volume of play (making it a victim of variance) but Lady Luck’s table games and slot revenues took a bath in August.

Pennsylvania Casinos Back on Track After Strong July Revenue Numbers

Pennsylvania remains on pace to break the casino revenue record it set last year. The industry saw growth in July, and in 10 of the past 11 months.

A nine-month streak of year-over-year growth came to an end in June by the smallest of margins, when Pennsylvania’s casino posted a .2 percent drop in gross gaming revenue. But the downward streak has already come to an end.

Following the microscopic downtick in June, the state’s 12 casinos turned things around in a big way during the month of July, with the industry as a whole up nearly three percent YoY.

The latest revenue report issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board shows total casino revenue of $288,451,402 in July. Table game revenue was up 8.5 percent YoY, and slot revenue also ticked up, but by the more modest amount of 1.1 percent.

A look inside the YTD revenue numbers

Here is a look at the monthly year-to-date revenue 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%)
  • April 2016 GGR – $281,206,497 (+3.9%)
  • May 2016 GGR – $280,194,999 (+.80%)
  • June 2016 GGR – $258,423,105 (-0.2%)
  • July 2016 GGR – $288,451,402 (+2.95%)

Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is currently on pace to have its best year to date. The previous high-water mark was set last year when the state’s casinos tallied $3.17 billion.

  • 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

A casino by casino look at the numbers

Sands Bethlehem

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $27,727,848.10 (+1.83%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $21,148,923 (+11.99%)

After ceding control of No. 1 to Parx for a stretch of nine months, Sands Bethlehem regained the top revenue spot in May, and has maintained its lead in both June and July.

Sands saw total casino revenue rise nearly six percent in July, with table game revenue up almost 12 percent (Sands is already far and away the top casino for table games in Pennsylvania), and slot revenue up close to two percent.

Parx Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $33,663,936.46 (+.70%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $14,015,295 (+12%)

Sands may be winning the battle for the top spot, but Parx is nipping right on its heels. Revenue at Parx was up 3.78 percent in July, with a 12-percent jump in table game revenue responsible for the bulk of the increase.

SugarHouse Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $15,787,296.23 (+4.48%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $9,276,205 (+33.56%)

SugarHouse Casino had a terrific July.

The casino saw revenues increase nearly 14 percent year-over-year, and broke through the $25 million ceiling for the first time. As impressive as those numbers were, it was the 33 percent jump in table game revenue that really catches the eye, and it looks like SugarHouse is poised to become a table-game juggernaut.

A massive renovation project seems to be paying off in big ways for the Philadelphia casino, and if slot revenue continues to rise (SugarHouse has one of the lowest slot handles in the state) it could jump out of the trail pack and compete with Parx and Sands.

Rivers Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $23,930,891.68 (-1.69%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $5,470,591 (-4.08%)

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is the third-highest grossing casino in the state despite a small YoY decline in total casino revenue. Slot revenue fell for the second straight month, but July’s drop-off was nowhere near the over eight percent decline the casino suffered through in June.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $18,098,428.66 (-2.3%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $6,030,739 (+9.99%)

After slipping down the revenue charts for several months, Harrah’s finally turned in a positive month in July.

While it’s nothing to write home about (the casino only posted a .5 percent increase in revenue) the stabilization is a good sign for Harrah’s, considering the casino has been on a downhill trajectory ever since SugarHouse began to rise.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $19,418,825.76 (+2.13%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $4,575,540 (-1.01%)

A slight uptick in gross gaming revenue has Mohegan Sun right in the middle of the trail pack that is in constant pursuit of Parx and Sands.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $13,919,806.87 (+2.93%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $3,518,373 (-17.04%)

Table game revenue at Mount Airy has been plummeting over the past two months (down 17 percent in June and now 12 percent in July), which is certainly something to keep an eye on going forward.

This seems to be a problem afflicting multiple Pennsylvania casino properties.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $6,610,723.61 (-3.42%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $3,778,516 (+19.8%)

Valley Forge put together a solid July.

The small “resort” casino (which means something entirely different in Pennsylvania than it does anywhere else in the country) ticked back above the $10 million mark last month thanks to YoY growth of nearly four percent.

The Meadows Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $20,466,041.65 (+3.02%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $2,696,061 (-15.29%)

Meadows held relatively steady in July, posting a modest YoY revenue increase of .5 percent. Interestingly, Meadows is suffering from the same malady as Mount Airy, as table-game revenue was down 13.5 percent in June and 15 percent in July.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $11,481,979.62 (+2.76%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $1,242,125 (+24.18%)

July was a very nice month for Presque Isle thanks to a nearly 25 percent surge in table-game revenue. Coupled with a nearly three-percent increase in slot revenue, Presque Isle’s total casino revenue jumped over 4.5 percent.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $19,204,924.61 (+1.42%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $2,885,881 (-5.19%)

Hollywood Casino posted a modest YoY increase of .5 percent. The casino continues to rely almost exclusively on slot revenue.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

  • Slot revenue, June 2016: $3,113,070.67 (+3.26%)
  • Table game revenue, June 2016: $389,379 (-1.23%)

Revenue at Lady Luck ticked up in July, as the casino’s $3.1 million in total casino revenue represents a nearly three-percent jump over July of 2015.