Following a 1.6 percent revenue decline thanks to a snowy January, Pennsylvania casino revenue rebounded by a similar amount in February. Combined slot and table game revenue grew 1.64 percent.
Even though weather will cease to be a factor, that type of variance might be par for the course in the coming months. As more of the gaming reforms and expansions passed last year are implemented — combined with the sale of four of the state’s 12 casino properties — volatility could be the name of the game in Pennsylvania.
Here’s a look at the top-line February numbers.
After posting gains in three of the final four months of 2017, slot revenue has reverted to its previous downward trend. It’s been down in the first two months of 2018.
Seven casinos posted year-over-year revenue gains in February.
Valley Forge once again led the way. Its 15 percent growth isn’t a surprise (more on that later), but the nearly double-digit growth at SugarHouse and Parx is.
On the flip side, five of the state’s casinos saw revenue tick down in February. This included double-digit declines for Lady Luck and Mount Airy.
The longstanding battle for market supremacy between Parx and Sands became a heck of a lot more interesting after the sale of Sands Bethlehem to Wind Creek Hospitality, an Alabama tribe with some casino and horse track interests in the Southeast.
Even though most of the current management will remain in place, at least in the short-term, the ownership turnover could help Parx cushion its lead. It will likely take Wind Creek some time to get a feel for the Pennsylvania market.
Both of Rush Street Gaming’s Pennsylvania casinos had solid months in February.
Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino revenue saw revenue rise 4.5 percent, while Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino saw a revenue increase of nine percent.
When online gambling launches (perhaps by the end of 2018), Rush Street is expected to be one of the more prominent online operators in the state. The company already operates the PlaySugarHouse.com online casino in New Jersey, giving it a leg up on most of its competitors.
Taking advantage of the changes made to Category 3 requirements has seen Valley Forge surge ahead of one Category 1 casino (Presque Isle) already. Now, Valley Forge is closing the gap on one of the state’s Category 2 casinos, Mount Airy.
Valley Forge posted a 15 percent revenue increase in February, pulling it within $2.5 million of Mount Airy. At its current rate of growth, Valley Forge could catch up to Mount Airy by the end of the year.
It’s also one of the casinos that changed hands, meaning more growth could be on the table.