Pennsylvania Casino Revenue Ticks 0.3% Higher in November

Parx Casino

In November, Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos generated a combined $254 million in revenue, marking a slight 0.3% improvement compared to the same month in 2017. Business was also 0.62% higher versus the previous month.

While the slots segment reported a 0.96% year-over-year revenue increase to $183.07 million in November, table games, on the other hand, saw their earnings decrease by 1.31% to $71.28 million.

Table Games Down 1.3%

Dominating Pennsylvania’s table game market in November was Sands Bethlehem and Parx casino with a combined $32.8 million, or around 46% of the segment’s total revenues. While Sands Bethlehem’s revenue of $17.76 was down by -11.68% compared to a year ago, though, Parx was up by an impressive +10.45%.

Meanwhile, Presque Isle recorded the highest year-over-year gain at 25.48%, while Nemacolin was the month’s biggest loser after seeing its table game revenue plunge by -46.54% from November last year.

Slots Higher By 0.96%

Pennsylvania’s positive slots result in November means the vertical has now returned seven months of year-on-year revenue gains from the last nine, with just July (-2.62%) and October (-1.73%) bucking the trend. That is welcome news for an industry that a year earlier was experiencing a protracted slot revenue decline.

In terms of slots revenue, Parx led the market on $33.08 million (+9.52%), followed by The Rivers on $22.65 million (+8.08%), and Sands Bethlehem on $22.55 million (-6.46%).

Posting the biggest year-over-year gains, however, was Valley Forge (+18.83%), while on the flip side Mohegan Sun saw its slots revenue decline by -7.70% from a year ago.

Overall Winners and Losers

Leading the Keystone State’s overall casino market in November was Parx Casino on $48.2 million (+9.8%), followed by Sands on $40.3 million (-8.83%) and Rivers on $29.2 million (+9.64%). Parx and Rivers also posted state’s biggest year-on-year revenue gains.

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At the other end of the scale, Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin and Mohegan Sun Pocono saw their revenues slide by -9.88% and -10.92% respectively.

Nascent Sports Betting Market

We will have to wait a while longer before getting a clearer picture of Pennsylvania’s nascent sports betting market as its first operation, the Hollywood Casino at Penn National, only launched on November 15th. Two more operations subsequently launched in December, namely Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, with no other sportsbook expected to open until 2019.

Initial revenues appear encouraging, though. Between November 15-30, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course had a handle of $1.4 million, ultimately resulting in an adjusted gross revenue of $508,996. The state then benefited from $183,238 in tax revenue for the two week period. Commenting upon the situation so far, Dustin Gouker, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, said:

“The addition of retail sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry. If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”

Gambling Expansion Paying Off

A year ago, Pennsylvania signed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill into law, paving the way for online casinos, online lottery sales, daily fantasy sports, and sports betting within state borders. At the time, it was assumed that an extra $100 million contribution would be made towards the state budget.

Remarkably, the figure has actually already reached $385.2 million from licensed operators, with the bulk of funds derived from license fees rather than actual operations, which have only just started or are getting started for many operators. The overall totals to date are as follows:

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– Mini-casino auction profits ($128m)
– Interactive gaming petitions ($94m)
– Casino licensing ($78m)
– Sports betting petitions ($60m)
– Daily Fantasy Sports tax revenue ($1.4m)

Commenting upon Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion’s success so far, Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, stated:

“The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue gained from gamblers. Clearly there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate the fees.”