Shakeup for ownership of PA casinos will have an impact moving forward

Valley Forge Leads The Charge As PA Casino Revenue Rebounds In February

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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.

Top line numbers for February 2018

Here’s a look at the top-line February numbers.

  • Slot machine revenue: $189,056,194.76 (-1.67 percent)
  • Table game revenue: $73,757,805 (+11.24 percent)
  • Total gaming revenue: $262,813,999 (+1.64 percent)

12-month slot revenue trend

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.

  • March 2017 slot machine revenue: $209,984,146.94 (-0.6 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 (-0.77 percent)
  • July 2017 slot machine revenue: $209,124,965.58 (-2.01 percent)
  • August 2017 slot machine revenue: $193,190,477.69 (-0.39 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)
  • February 2018 slot machine revenue: $189,056,194.76 (-1.67 percent)

A look at who won and who lost this month

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.

  • Valley Forge Casino Resort: 15.43 percent
  • Parx Casino: 9.66 percent
  • SugarHouse Casino: 8.93 percent
  • Rivers Casino: 4.45 percent
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia: 1.01 percent
  • Presque Isle Downs and Casino: 0.71 percent
  • The Meadows Casino: 0.06 percent
  • Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem: -2.34 percent
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono: -4.02 percent
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course: -4.22 percent
  • Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin: -10.05 percent
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort: -13.42 percent

Market share

Casino-by-casino analysis

Parx vs. Sands

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.

A good month for Rush Street

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 online casino in New Jersey, giving it a leg up on most of its competitors.

Valley Forge

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.

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Historical look at casino revenue in Pennsylvania

- 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.
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