Democratic National Convention Provides Boost For Philly Casinos

Posted on: August 18, 2016, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: August 18, 2016, 05:02h.

Democratic National Convention Pennsylvania casino revenue
The Democratic National Convention paid dividends for Philadelphia casinos as delegates and attendees took a liking to table games. (Image: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) held last month in Philadelphia provided a surge in gambling revenue at downtown and regional casinos.

The gaming industry statewide posted a three percent gain in July compared to the same month in 2015. Revenues for table games were even stronger at 8.5 percent.

Closest to the Wells Fargo Center, the site of the DNC, is the SugarHouse Casino. Located 20 minutes north of the arena and adjacent to hotels accommodating delegates and DNC attendees, the SugarHouse enjoyed the strongest percentage growth of the state’s 12 casinos.

Total gross gaming revenue totaled $25 million at SugarHouse in July, a 13.64 percent gain. And its $9.27 million in table game income represents a 33.56 percent surge and a $2.33 million bonus.

In contrast to the DNC, the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland had an opposite bearing on the city’s lone downtown casino. The Jack Casino dropped 12 percent in July, as Cleveland closed certain city roads and allowed the RNC to utilize part of the casino’s parking garage to accommodate the event.

Casino Brotherly Love

Parx and Harrah’s, downtown Philadelphia’s next two closest casinos, also reported better-than-expected numbers. Parx was up 12 percent on table proceeds and 3.78 percent overall, while Harrah’s tables climbed 10 percent but overall revenue was flat.

Some 20 miles west of the city, the Valley Forge Casino also saw its earnings sprout. Tables elevated nearly 20 percent and gaming revenues as a whole climbed almost four percent.

Things weren’t so bright during the summer month in other regions of Pennsylvania.

Mount Airy and Mohegan Sun in the northeast section of the state posted declines in table games, as did Pittsburgh’s Rivers, Meadows, and Lady Luck casinos.

Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Bethlehem maintained its gambling dominance in the Keystone State. The resort pulled in $21.14 million on tables (up 12 percent) and $48.87 million overall (up six percent).

RNC Bad for Business

While the correlation can be made between the big gain for SugarHouse and the DNC’s influence on those numbers, it’s unclear as to what extent the Democratic convention really had on other casinos.

Presque Isle Downs & Casino, for instance, posted 24.18 percent higher table game figures in July and 4.5 percent overall. Located near Lake Eerie, 400 miles from Philadelphia, the site certainly didn’t benefit from the DNC but simply a strong gaming month in Pennsylvania.

But the convention likely helped Philly casinos. The same cannot be said for Cleveland and the RNC.

As reported earlier this month, gaming in Ohio was down five percent in July, but Cleveland’s Jack Casino plummeted.

“We are optimistic that over the long term, the benefits of getting worldwide exposure for the city will more than help make up for that,” Jack Entertainment SVP of Operations Mark Tricano said of the RNC.

Who Gambles More?

Can a conclusion be made that liberals like to gamble more than conservatives?

In 2013, a study at the University of Exeter examined the brain activity of registered Democrats and Republicans playing a simply gambling game. The research found no difference in the amount of risk the two parties were willing to take, but brain function did indeed differ.

“We found that you wouldn’t be able to see how Democrats and Republicans behaved differently in how they gambled, but if you looked into their brain, the differences in the levels of activity in different regions were substantial,” neuropolitics researcher Dr. Darren Schreiber concluded.