Slot revenue was down for the tenth consecutive month, but once again the damage was minimized by another year-over-year increase in table game revenue.
Overall, total gaming revenue industry-wide was down 0.5 percent.
As alarming as the prolonged slot slide is, the state’s slot revenue decline could turn into free fall if its legislature turns to video gaming terminals to try to drum up new revenue. If the legislature finds the votes to add VGT legalization to the other gaming reforms its already considering, such as the legalization of online gambling, it could be a major blow to slot revenue at the state’s existing casinos.
VGTs (slot machines in bars and restaurants) have been proven to be cannibalistic. But pockets of the legislature are growing increasingly desperate amid a growing budget deficit and are refusing to push VGTs aside for another day.
Here’s a look at the top-line July numbers:
Pennsylvania’s run of consecutive months with declining slot revenue has reached double digits. And there is still no end in sight.
*Accounting for the leap year in 2016, the normalized numbers in February have slot revenue down just 0.5 percent YoY.
Only four of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos posted YoY revenue increases in July.
It was a spectacular month for Mount Airy, as revenue rose over 13 percent, leaving the casino just a couple hundred thousand dollars shy of $20 million.
Eight casinos saw total gaming revenue fall in July.
Five of those — Presque Isle, Mohegan Sun, Lady Luck, Harrah’s and Valley Forge — had significant declines of five percent or more. Sands Bethlehem saw revenue dip by almost four percent, while SugarHouse and Hollywood Casino experienced modest YoY drops of less than two percent.
Parx put some distance between itself and its only real competitor for market supremacy in July.
After the two-horse race between Parx and Sands tightened in recent months, increases in slot and table game revenue for Parx — coupled with decreases on both fronts for Sands — put Parx ahead of its rival by nearly $3 million in July.
In July, Sands lost its president (Mark Juliano tendered his resignation near the end of the month), as well as the revenue momentum it was building this year. Revenue at the Sheldon Adelson-owned casino was down across the board for the month.
It was a solid month for Rivers. The Pittsburgh casino generated nearly $30 million in July, posting slight increases in both slot and table game revenue.
SugarHouse’s slot revenue was down over five percent, but continued growth on the table game side of the ledger kept this from being a bad month.
Nearly 40 percent of the casino’s revenue is now coming from its table games.
Once a middling casino, SugarHouse is now the fourth-highest revenue generator, and it’s within striking distance of its sister property, Rivers.
Harrah’s continued to lose ground to SugarHouse, after a five percent revenue decline in July.
A down month for slot revenue was offset by solid growth in table game revenue at the Penn National casino.
Still, Hollywood is dangerously close to being passed by the surging Mount Airy.
Back-to-back months with table game revenue increases of 20 percent and 40 percent respectively is the good news for Meadows. The bad news is slot revenue continues to fall.
Mohegan Sun’s revenue was down nearly six percent YoY, as revenue was down across the board.
In addition to a significant increase in slot revenue, Mount Airy followed up last month’s 34 percent increase in table game revenue with a 45 percent increase in July. Mount Airy was one of only five casinos to generate over $5 million from its table games for the month, and it came close to a $20 million month.
Despite solid growth in table game revenue, Presque Isle suffered the largest revenue decline of any of the 12 Pennsylvania casinos in July.
Unlike SugarHouse, Harrah’s or Sands, Presque Isle relies almost entirely on slot revenue.
Valley Forge bucked the industry trend in July.
Instead of slumping slot revenue and rising table game revenue, the Category 3 casino posted a significant increase in slot revenue and an even more significant decrease in table game revenue.
After seeing its table game revenue drop by nearly 50 percent in June, Lady Luck bounced back in July. Table game revenue was up, which helped absorb some of the sting from a nearly nine percent drop in slot revenue.