Pennsylvania Casino Revenue Stagnant, as Gaming Expansion Continues in Commonwealth

Posted on: October 18, 2018, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2018, 11:01h.

Pennsylvania casino revenue dropped nearly one percent last month at the state’s 12 casinos, and that poses problems as gaming expansion continues across the Commonwealth.

casino revenue Pennsylvania gambling
Parx reported an increase in casino revenue last month, but statewide, gross gaming income dropped year-over-year. (Image: WNEP/John Ziomek/Courier-Post/

Table games revenue fell 4.37 percent in September to $72.3 million, while gross gaming revenue (GGR) from slot machines increased 0.4 percent to $169.2 million. Combined, the casinos won $268.5 million, a loss of 0.92 percent compared to the same month in 2017.

Parx Casino outside Philadelphia was once again the big winner, with the venue reporting GGR of $49.18 million, a 3.7 percent year-over-year gain. Sands Bethlehem was second with $42.6 million, but that represents a more than 10 percent decline from 2017. The casino credited poor table games, which plummeted 19 percent, for the loss.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) reports that casino revenue was essentially flat (+0.4 percent) during the most recent fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.

New Casino, Satellites

Stagnant casino revenue for Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based venues isn’t exactly encouraging news as the state gaming industry readies for additional competition.

A joint venture from the Cordish Companies and Greenwood Racing is developing a $600 million casino in Philadelphia’s stadium district. The facility is expected to open in 2020 with 2,000 slot machines, 125 table games, and 240-room hotel.

Five satellite casinos are also coming to the Commonwealth. Authorized under the state’s expanded gaming act passed last fall and signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf (D), the so-called “mini-casinos” will be permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.

The gambling package additionally authorized slot machines inside certain truck stops, the creation of airport gaming lounges, daily fantasy sports, online gambling, and sports betting. Aside from daily fantasy, none of those expanded markets are yet operational.

However, the PGCB approved several interactive gaming licenses in August, and issued the first two sports betting licenses earlier this month. The agency is reviewing several other applications from state land-based operators for both sports wagering and online casinos.

Sports betting licenses cost $10 million, and gross winnings are taxed at an effective rate of 36 percent. Eight state land-based casinos applied to pay $10 million for allowance to operate online slots and table games including poker.

Football Boosts DFS

May marked the first full month where daily fantasy sports contests were open to Pennsylvania residents. FanDuel and DraftKings respectively won $673,013 and $632,008, or 98 percent of the market.

As is the case with sports betting, football attracts the most DFS action in the US, and September proved that fact. The PGCB says DraftKings made $1.174 million last month on entry fees, while FanDuel kept nearly $950,000.

Nine daily fantasy providers paid the state a $50,000 licensing fee to offer such contests. Net revenue is taxed at 15 percent.

After DraftKings and FanDuel, the next closest DFS operator in September was DRAFT, but the platform reported adjusted revenue of just $19,659. Two other networks, Boom Fantasy and Fantasy Draft, barely passed the $1,000 mark, while the four other licensees made less than $300.