Parx Casino Remains Atop Pennsylvania Gaming Industry Despite Being Smoke-Free

Posted on: October 18, 2023, 04:27h. 

Last updated on: October 19, 2023, 07:27h.

Parx Casino in Bensalem, north of Philadelphia, and its satellite, Parx Casino Shippensburg, are the only fully smoke-free casinos in Pennsylvania. Despite requiring smokers to go outside to light up, Parx continues to outpace its brick-and-mortar competitors.

Parx Casino Pennsylvania gaming revenue
Parx Casino in Bensalem is a smoke-free casino. It’s one of only two casinos in Pennsylvania that’s fully smoke-free, with the other being its sister property, Parx Casino Shippensburg. (Image: Google)

Parx Casino near Philly won $31.5 million on its retail slots in September and $16 million on its table games. Its combined in-person win of approximately $47.5 million topped Wind Creek Bethlehem, which came in second at roughly $43.5 million.

Parx and Wind Creek have long held the top two spots in the Pennsylvania casino industry. But Parx’s reign has continued even after the casino decided to remain smoke-free in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wind Creek was formerly Sands until May 2019, when the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama bought the Lehigh Valley property from Las Vegas Sands for $1.3 billion.

Smoking Ban Well Received

In June 2021, when then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) allowed indoor smoking to return to casinos, Parx officials remained smoke-free. Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 provides exceptions for casinos to designate up to 25% of their gaming space for tobacco smoking.

Parx officials said the decision to keep smoking outside resonated with employees and most guests. It was a decision especially important to table game dealers, who have been most subjected to secondhand smoke.

Even smokers have given positive feedback and have not minded going to the smoking patio. Employees are extremely happy with the change, especially the table games team,” said Carrie Nork Minelli, Parx’s public relations director.

Parx Chief Marketing Officer Marc Oppenheimer said last year that extinguishing indoor smoking has been in the best interest of the casino’s customers, staff, and the business.

“We did it for the health and comfort of both our guests and team members. We have received significant positive feedback from both constituencies, and we have continued our strong performance and gains of market share,” Oppenheimer explained.

iGaming Record

Pennsylvania’s 17 land-based casinos generated gross gaming revenue of $275.1 million in September 2023. That’s down $5 million, or 1.8%, from September 2022.

Oddsmakers also fared worse than they did in the previous September. Sports betting revenue from online and retail wagering totaled $36.6 million, a 27% drop from the $50.2 million they won in September 2022.

The in-person casino and sports betting losses were easily offset online, where Pennsylvania’s internet platforms won a record amount from remote players.

iGaming GGR totaled $157.1 million last month, a 43% year-over-year surge. Pennsylvania’s previous best monthly mark for online casino revenue was March 2023, when the iGaming sites won $148.1 million from players.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course’s online gaming platform rules the state’s iGaming market. Penn Entertainment’s internet gaming operations generated a September GGR of $64.8 million, or nearly 44% of the Pennsylvania iGaming market. Boyd Gaming’s Valley Forge Casino Resort online platforms were second at $35.4 million.