Parx Casino continues to lead the market ahead of Sands Bethlehem
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Pennsylvania Casinos Start 2018 With Ho-Hum Revenue Performance

hohum start for PA casinos 2018

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.

Top line numbers for January 2018

Here’s a look at the top line January numbers:

  • Slot machine revenue: $177,795,127.32 (-1.39 percent)
  • Table game revenue: $71,032,273 (-2.17 percent)
  • Total gaming revenue: $248,827,400 (-1.62 percent)

12-month slot revenue trend

After posting gains in three of the previous four months, slot revenue dipped by 1.39 percent in January.

  • February 2017 slot machine revenue: $192,268,470 (-3.95 percent*)
  • March 2017 slot machine revenue: $209,984,146.94 (-.6 percent)
  • April 2017 slot machine revenue: $205,702,752.11 (-1.58 percent)
  • May 2017 slot machine revenue: $203,248,175.70 (-2.68 percent)
  • June 2017 slot machine revenue: $188,520,750 (-.77 percent)
  • July 2017 slot machine revenue: $209,124,965.58 (-2.01 percent)
  • August 2017 slot machine revenue: $193,190,477.69 (-.39 percent)
  • September 2017 slot machine revenue: $195,396,966.03 (+1.69 percent)
  • October 2017 slot machine revenue: $189,527,493.24 (-1.21 percent)
  • November 2017 slot machine revenue: $181,329,655.27 (+1.08 percent)
  • December 2017 slot machine revenue: $187,614,378.63 (+1.22 percent)
  • January 2018 slot machine revenue: $177,795,127.32 (-1.39 percent)

*Accounting for the leap year in 2016,  the normalized numbers in February have slot revenue down just .5 percent YoY.

A look at who won and who lost in January

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.

  • Valley Forge Casino Resort: 13.91%
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack: 4.01%
  • Presque Isle Downs and Casino: 3.42%
  • Rivers Casino: .98%
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort: -.14%
  • SugarHouse Casino: -.71%
  • Parx Casino: -2.01%
  • Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin: -2.23%
  • Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem: -2.25%
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course: -4.11%
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono: -5.61%
  • The Meadows Racetrack and Casino: -14.23%

Market share: January 2018

Casino-by-casino analysis: January 2018

Parx reigns supreme… sort of

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.

A down month for Meadows

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:

  • 20 percent in June
  • 40 percent in July
  • 117 percent in August
  • 20 percent in September
  • 23 percent in October
  • 18 percent in November

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.

Valley Forge on a tear

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.

Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.