Pennsylvania started 2018 off with whimper, as casino revenue was down nearly two percent in January.
Winter storms wreaked havoc on the casino industry across the Northeast, as at least one storm made travel near impossible for the better part of a day. Pennsylvania wasn’t his as hard as New Jersey, where casino revenue was down nearly ten percent year-over-year in January. But weather was at least partly responsible for the Keystone State’s 1.6 percent year-over-year revenue slide.
Here’s a look at the top line January numbers:
After posting gains in three of the previous four months, slot revenue dipped by 1.39 percent in January.
*Accounting for the leap year in 2016, the normalized numbers in February have slot revenue down just .5 percent YoY.
Four casinos posted year-over-year revenue gains in January, with Valley Forge leading the way. Valley Forge is poised to have a big year thanks to the state’s 2017 gaming act that loosened restrictions on Category 3 casinos.
On the flip side, eight of the state’s casinos saw revenue tick down in January, including a drop-off of over 14 percent by Meadows.
Parx eclipsed the $45 million revenue mark in January and was the clear top dog in the market for the month.
Parx is often the top revenue generator in the market. It’s usually a hard-fought battle with Sands Bethlehem chalking up the occasional win. But Parx blew its chief rival out of the water in January.
However, the overall market is a bit more competitive than most people realize.
Yes, Sands and Parx are the Nos. 1 and 2 casinos in the market by a wide margin, but the combined might of the two Rush Street properties (Rivers and SugarHouse) and the two Penn National properties (Hollywood and Meadows) make it a four-horse race for market supremacy when we look at casino corporations rather than individual casinos. That’s something we’ll need to get used to doing once the state’s Category 4 satellite casinos are open for business.
Meadows had one of its worst months in recent history, as slot revenue plummeted by almost ten percent in January. As bad as the slot decline was, it pales in comparison to the casino’s table game revenues, which dropped by over 40 percent.
The latter number is very surprising.
Beginning in June, Meadows had been on the ascent over a six-month period with table game revenue growing by:
Table game revenue started to drop in December, but only by 1.64 percent. Considering its recent success, the 42.33 percent drop in January came out of nowhere.
With the restrictor plates removed, Valley Forge is showing the state what it’s capable of.
After paying a one-time fee to end the amenity fee requirement (a de facto entry fee any non-hotel guest needed to pay to enter the Valley Forge Casino) has been experiencing double-digit revenue growth, including a 45 percent increase on the table game side of the ledger in January.
Valley Forge has put Presque Isle in the rearview mirror, and now has Mount Airy in its sights. But to catch Mount Airy, Valley Forge will need to continue its torrid pace of growth for several months.