Regulation

Harrah’s Philadelphia Removes 563 Slot Machines Following State Approval

Returning patrons at Harrah’s Philadelphia will find a rearranged casino floor that features 563 fewer slot machines at the Caesars Entertainment property. 

Masked bettors enjoy slot machines on the Harrah’s Philadelphia casino floor. The casino recently gained approval to remove 563 machines. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)

Last week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved Harrah’s Philadelphia to remove the number of slot machines. Caesars told the state gaming agency that the decision was because of “a significant oversupply and underutilization” of the existing terminals.

With PGCB approval, the slot count at Harrah’s was reduced from 2,263 positions to 1,700. Caesars says with fewer slot machines, its gaming floor is more comfortable for guests. Harrah’s added that it does not expect any revenue loss from the reduction. The state collects 54 percent of each casino’s slot win.

The casino removed the oldest and least profitable terminals. The average age of its slot machines is 10.3 years, Caesars explained. 

Of the 563 slots removed, 338 were from the smoking section. The smoking section still has the majority of the property’s slots. This is nearly 52 percent of the 1,700 allotments. 

Ongoing Casino Expansion

Harrah’s Philadelphia opened the first in the Philly metro slots casino in January of 2007. At that time, demand warranted the gaming floor housing almost 3,000 machines.

But over the last decade, gaming has drastically grown in Pennslyvania. The state has seen numerous new land-based casinos, the inclusion of table games, iGaming, satellite casinos, and video gaming terminals at truck stops. This growth means that large gaming venues, like Harrah’s Philadelphia, are unnecessary.

Parx Casino opened in December of 2009, Rivers Casino Philadelphia in September of 2010, Valley Forge Casino Resort in March of 2012, and Live! Philadelphia earlier this year. 

Caesars told the PGCB that its gross gaming revenue (GGR) has declined in each fiscal year since 2008. It’s tumbled from $332.8 million to $196.2 million in 2019. 

Despite the ever-increasing competition and long GGR slide, Harrah’s Philadelphia says it remains bullish on its Philadelphia investment. It spent $1.3 million to re-carpet the entire gaming floor in 2017, and another $1 million on new slot chairs in 2018. 

Lots of Slots Left

In its petition to remove slots, Harrah’s said that based on data from the 12-month pre-COVID-19 period, the casino’s highest occupancy was experienced on March 2 at 9 pm. Around that time, the gaming space was 62.5 percent occupied, and there were still 850 available slot machines. With the reductions, there would still be an excess capacity of 287 slot units. 

Requesting fewer slot machines is rare, the PGCB said, but the actions by Harrah’s certainly isn’t a first in the US gaming industry. 

In 2019, Resorts World Catskills and Tioga Downs, both in upstate New York, gained approval from the New York Gaming Commission to reduce their slot machine complement. The two casinos collectively removed 600 slot machines from their floors, with the vast majority — 550 — at Resorts World. 

RW said the slot subtraction will “provide a much better experience, with more room on the floor” for guests. Tioga Downs used its new space for part of its sportsbook. 

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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  • Reading this article about Harrahs Philadelphia and others articles like this explains why Harrahs Philadelphia Casino and the Online gaming App is probably the worst of the Philadelphia Casinos to play at.

    I have notice this past year that I CONSTANTLY lose at both their in-person and online Casinos.

    After reading all these articles, it's not even a Gamble anymore.

    They simply take your money allowing you to think its possible to win so they can try to keep their revenue up and with the government involved and passing laws that allows casinos to add in more CHEAT ways to take our money because it benefits some Crooked Local politicians, us Customers don't have a chance.

    They allow all these casinos to be billed within our neighborhoods and WHO IS BENEFITTING???? There were about 5 casinos that opened over the past decade and still schools don't have text books to give to kids, local parks remain completely dirty, etc.

    There has been no improvements to the city of philadelphia and quality of life within the city since any of these casinos came so why do we continue to give them our money?

    I can answer that: Addiction!

    Even as I write this comment, I have a reservation tonight at Harrah's Atlantic City to give them more of my money after already losing last night, last week, week before last and the past 5-10 trips I remember.

    I have been reevaluating lately where I play and I am going to start focusing on other venues more like Parx Hard Rock in AC and MGM in AC. Parx may not have much to offer gamblers but MGM has just as much as Harrah's and the play is a lot much better.

    TO ALL: PLEASE FIND ANOTHER CASINO THAT IS NOT A CAESARS PROPERTY TO GAMBLE AT. YOUR ODDS ARE EVEN LOWER THAN NORMAL PLAYING AT THEIR CASINOS.

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