Pennsylvania Casinos Set Monthly Record, Join Maryland, Ohio, and Michigan in Posting New Highs

Posted on: April 18, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: April 18, 2018, 12:06h.

Pennsylvania casinos generated more than $300 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) last month, the first time in state history that the threshold has been passed.

Pennsylvania casinos monthly record
Slot players waited for machines back in 2010 when SugarHouse Casino opened in Philadelphia, but Pennsylvania casinos never enjoyed a busier monthly than March 2018. (Image: Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released final numbers this week that showed gross table game revenue at $79.54 million in March, and slots accounting for $221.35 million. Combined, GGR for the Keystone State’s 12 casinos was $300,516,011.

That number easily eclipses last March’s take by four percent. It also tops the previous all-time record monthly high of $296.7 million, which was set in March 2013.

Parx Casino north of Philadelphia led the way with $54.6 million in March revenue, a 10 percent premium on the property’s 2017 March haul.

Sands Bethlehem was next at $46.7 million, but that represents a 3.3 percent year-over-year reduction. Sands Bethlehem is in the process of being sold to a tribe in Alabama for $1.3 billion.

Rivers Casino was third but the biggest percentage gain winner. The Pittsburgh casino saw GGR increase 11.1 percent to $33.5 million.

Philly’s two other casinos, SugarHouse and Harrah’s, were next respectively at $28.7 million and $24.7 million.

March Madness

Pennsylvania joins Maryland, Ohio, and Michigan’s Detroit casinos in posting record monthly highs in March.

  • Maryland’s six casinos posted a combined $150 million in GGR, which easily surpassed its previous $141.1 million high set in March 2017.
  • Ohio’s four land-based casinos won $81.7 million last month, and the state’s six racinos collected $96.4 million. Both figures are monthly records.
  • Detroit’s three casinos won $138.6 million, more than $3.3 million more than the city’s previous best GGR mark.

March was unseasonably warm throughout much of the country, but also wet. Casinos additionally benefited from an extra Saturday in March 2018 compared to 2017.

In Pennsylvania, March was one of the snowiest periods of the 2017-18 winter, especially in central and eastern portions of the state. But warm temperatures in the days surrounding the snowfall didn’t keep residents housebound long.

No Satellite Bids

Nine of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos posted monthly gains in March. In the coming years, they could face additional competition when the so-called “mini-casinos” begin popping up.

Under the state’s expanded gaming act signed into law last year by Governor Tom Wolf (D), as many as 10 satellite gaming venues can be built, with up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games each.

On Wednesday, the PGCB didn’t receive any bids for the venues. Five earlier auctions awarded Category 4 satellite licenses, with Penn National Gaming securing two of the 15-mile regional radiuses.

Headquartered in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Penn National was against the gaming expansion, but said it’s securing the satellite locales in order to protect its Hollywood Casino near the Harrisburg state capital in Grantville.

Unwilling to raise taxes, the GOP-controlled General Assembly got behind gambling in order to help bridge a state funding gap.

Along with the mini-casinos, the legislation authorizes internet gambling and daily fantasy sports, airport terminal gaming lounges, slot machines inside certain truck stops, and creates a regulatory framework for sports betting.