PA Casinos Betting On Table Games To Keep Up Gaming Revenue

May 21, 2017
blackjack hand and casino chips

The April revenue numbers are in for Pennsylvania casinos. The results are a mixed bag. Table games performed well, while slots continued to struggle. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board numbers show revenue is stagnant for April, but a closer look reveals more is changing than meets the eye.

Casino revenue for April comes in at $285 million

Let’s start with the good news. Casino revenues in April were up over 2016. The 12 Pennsylvania casinos took in $285.2 million last month, compared to $281.2 million last year.

Overall, the market held steady, up 1.44 percent. Some casinos had much more successful months than that. Three casinos were up double digits from 2016. Those properties were Mount Airy Casino, Sands Bethlehem, and Valley Forge Casino.

The big uptick for Sands Bethlehem puts it neck-and-neck with Parx in Philadelphia for top-grossing casino. Parx took in $49 million last month, compared to $48 million last year. Sands, on the other hand, moved up to $48.3 million last month from $43.8 million the previous April.

Mohegan Sun Pocono and Lady Luck Nemacolin experienced the biggest year-over-year drops of close to eight percent each.

Of the larger casinos, the biggest drop of note was Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The property went from $30.6 million last April to $28.9 million last month.

The downward trend only expanded the distance between Parx and Sands and the number-three casino. Last year, the gap amounted to $13 million, while this year the difference amounted to $20 million.

Table games in Pennsylvania on the rise

For the seventh straight month, slot revenue declined. Those numbers are not as obvious when you see overall revenue is up for the second straight month though. What is masking the downward trend?

Table games.

Table game revenue was up 10.2 percent year-over-year from $72.2 million to $79.5 million.

In fact, the uptick in table games explains exactly how Sands Bethlehem is closing the gap on Parx. The casino’s table games revenue swelled almost 24 percent, up to $21.9 million. That take made it the most successful casino for table games in the state. Parx is second, up just 6.4 percent to $15.4 million.

Sands experienced the largest financial swing of $4.2 million, but the largest percentage change belongs to The Meadows. The casino’s table games revenue grew a remarkable 52 percent form $2.8 million to $4.3 million.

Unsurprisingly, the few casinos which did not experience table games growth are the ones struggling to keep up with the rest. Rivers table games dropped almost 12 percent, while Lady Luck Nemacolin dropped over 40 percent.

It is not just that table games are getting more popular on their own though. Many casinos are dedicating more space on the casino floor to table games. With tax rates of 16 percent compared to the 54 percent on slots, it does make sense casinos are shifting focus. The implementation of stadium-style gaming also helps address the labor drain table games can sometimes be.

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