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As was the case in previous months, an increase in table game revenue (+4.4 percent) helped offset the industry’s declining slot revenue (-2.7 percent) in May. But it was not enough for total casino revenue to get out of the red.
In May, total Pennsylvania casino revenue was down just under a percent compared to May 2016.
Here’s a look at the top line May numbers:
For the eighth consecutive month, Pennsylvania casinos have seen their collective slot revenue decrease year-over-year.
*Accounting for the leap year in 2016, the normalized numbers in February have slot revenue down just .5 percent YoY.
Five of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos posted YoY revenue increases in May, led by SugarHouse Casino at 6.8 percent. The other gainers in May were Parx, Sands Bethlehem, Mount Airy and Lady Luck.
The other seven Pennsylvania casinos saw YoY revenues fall in May. Three of the operators — Valley Forge, Mohegan Sun and Meadows — had substantial declines. Presque Isle, Hollywood Casino, Harrah’s and Rivers experienced modest YoY declines.
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The chart below shows market share by casino for May 2017:
Parx and Sands were neck-and-neck for the second consecutive month, with Parx eking out its second consecutive close victory. For the month, both properties saw slot revenue and table revenue fall, but in both instances Parx did just a little bit better.
Table game revenue was up 13.5 percent compared to Sands’ 11.1 percent, and slot revenue was down just 1.3 percent compared to Sands’ -5.1 percent.
Despite a significant falloff in slot revenue, Sands posted a YoY gain in May; albeit a small one at 1.6 percent.
In other news, the proposed sale of Sands Bethlehem to MGM has officially been nixed, which means Las Vegas Sands has ramped up its opposition to a gaming package that includes two components the casino giant is very hostile towards: video gaming terminals and online gambling.
Rivers’ hold on the No. 3 spot is looking a lot more tenuous these days.
Roughly $600,000 in revenue separates the two Rush Street casinos, Rivers and SugarHouse, from one another. That should be worrisome to Rivers, considering SugarHouse is on the ascent while Rivers is stagnant at best.
As noted above, a very solid month has SugarHouse in striking distance of its sister casino’s hold on the No. 3 revenue spot in Pennsylvania.
The impact of its expansion project (completed in early 2016) is wearing off, so instead of the slot gains in 2016, 2017’s gains are largely coming from table games, where over 40 percent of the casino’s revenue is generated.
SugarHouse is one of only three PA casinos that tally more than $10 million in table game revenue, and it’s fast approaching Parx’s monthly tally when it comes to table game revenue.
A slight increase in table game revenue couldn’t offset a nearly six percent decline in slot revenue for Harrah’s.
For the second consecutive month, Hollywood has seen revenue decline across the board: slots, table games and total revenue.
That being said, for the second consecutive month, all of the declines have been largely inconsequential.
How quickly fortunes can change in the casino industry. After posting a 50 percent increase in table game revenue in April, Meadows saw table game revenue drop 50 percent in May.
Even though Meadows doesn’t generate a significant percentage of its revenue from table games, the sharp decline led to a near eight percent drop in total gaming revenue in May.
April and May were bad months for Mohegan Sun. Following a 7.5 percent decrease in April, total gaming revenue was down over nine percent this month.
On the opposite side of the coin, Mount Airy has put together two excellent months in April and May. May’s gains weren’t as large as they were in April, but a five percent increase in total gaming revenue is nothing to scoff at.
Presque Isle can count itself lucky that Valley Forge had a terrible month, as the Category 3 casino has been nipping at Presque Isle’s heels and threatening to overtake it in terms of total revenue.
Fortunately, Presque Isles’ May decline was nothing compared to Valley Forge’s.
Valley Forge has taken a step back after closing the gap on Presque Isle in recent months. Total casino revenue was down over 14 percent in May, pulling Valley Forge out of the $10 million-per-month club.
Lady Luck has posted YoY gains on four of the first five months of the year, putting the small Category 3 casino on pace for its best year to date.