Pennsylvania Casinos Should Probably Start Putting Less Faith In Slot Machines

Jessica Welman June 18, 2017
slot machine
Once again, the situation in Pennsylvania may seem stable when it comes to casino revenue. However, a closer look at the numbers tells a much different story.

Overall casino revenue for May came in at $277.7 million, which is just a .89 percent decline over May 2016. For the eighth-straight month though, slots revenue declined. May 2017 was down 2.68 percent, with only three casinos improving over last year’s figures.

It was table games which saved the say, up 4.4 percent from last year. Last month, the table game uptick was more pronounced at over 10 percent. Even though the progress was not as substantial, it is once again the most important story of the revenue numbers. It is also an increasingly obvious sign the nature of the Pennsylvania casino economy is changing.

Table games the bright spot of the month, yet again

Like last month, the casinos with table game growth were the overall winners too. SugarHouse Casino, for example, experienced a 26 percent uptick in table games. As a result, the property’s overall revenue was up the most year over year at 6.85 percent. The casino brought in just shy of $27 million overall in May, $11.4 million of which came from table games.

The boost puts SugarHouse fourth in the overall revenue standings, with  just a handful of dollars separating it from Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Rivers held steady on the table games front, resulting in a one percent overall decline.

Top dogs Parx and Sands Bethlehem both underwent double-digit table game growth as well. It is unsurprising then that the held on to the top two spots.

Three casinos see major table game decline

The good news for the overall casino economy is that most properties’ table game numbers trended up. Three casinos did experience steep drops though. Mohegan Sun Pocono, Valley Forge Casino, and The Meadows did not just fall off a little. The casinos’ table games revenues dropped 22.7, 43.3, and 50.8 percents, respectively.

The Meadows is a particularly drastic drop given last month the property swung the same amount in a positive direction, jumping from $2.3 million to $4.8 million in table games revenue. In May, the casino only took in $1.44 million from the tables.

Overall revenue standings beginning to shift

Now that the reign of slots is on the decline, the hierarchy of casino revenue is starting to shift as well. As noted, the top two dogs remain the top two. Nonetheless, the other casinos are starting to shift positions based on how well they are adjusting.

Rivers has both SugarHouse and Harrah’s Philadephia hot on its heels, while Meadows and Mohegan Sun Pocono fell behind Hollywood Casino at Penn National. Last year, both out-earned Hollywood, while this year the opposite is true.

The shifts are minor so far, but if this trend continues, there is room for a casino to really make a big difference and surpass the competition before the year is over.

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