Pennsylvania Casinos Smash Revenue Records in 2016, Driven by Table Games

Posted on: January 24, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: January 24, 2017, 12:53h.

Pennsylvania’s casino sector is booming with overall revenue topping $3.2 billion in 2016, according to new figures, a record for the state. The upward trend has been driven largely by table games, particularly at the Sands Bethlehem.

 Pennsylvania Casinos Post Record Revenues
Sands Bethlehem’s 150-cabinet electronic table game station helped power the casino to record revenues in 2016, as table games continue to grow in popularity nationally. (Image: XYZ Tech via LinkedIn)

While slot machine revenues remained flat, as they have for the past six-years, table games revenues grew at the state’s 12 casinos for the seventh consecutive year, to $853 million.

The numbers represent a national trend towards table games among younger people, who tend to reject slots, although the casino industry hopes to address this imbalance through the increased deployment of video game-slot hybrids.

Sands took the lion’s share of the loot; its $230 million accounted for over a quarter of all table revenues across the sector and broke its previous record, set a year earlier, by seven percent.

And those figures are likely to keep on climbing; the casino is about to launch a $90 million expansion of its casino floor, adding 81 more tables.

Sands’ Secret Weapon

In June last year, Sands unveiled its new 150-cabinet electronic table game (EGT) station, the biggest electronic games installation in the country, created by IGT. The station offers roulette and baccarat which can be dealt at a faster pace than the live version, allowing the casino to lower the minimum stake and cater to the mass market gambler.   

It’s not just the Sands that’s benefitting from the upsurge in table games; SugarHouse and Parx were number one and two in terms of actual table games growth, with increases of almost 23-percent and just over 12-percent, respectively.

“I think the rules also in Pennsylvania for many games, including blackjack, have shown to be favorable toward players,” said Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach. “And because of that, I think we’re getting good numbers of people staying in Pennsylvania, coming to Pennsylvania and playing the tables.”

Supreme Court Gives Lawmakers Deadline on Rev-Share Deal

In related news, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has given state lawmakers four months to find a solution to a revenue-sharing problem between casinos and their host communities.

In September, the court ruled that tax laws governing the revenue share agreements were unconstitutional because they treated casinos unequally.

The judgement left communities without crucial revenues, and an eventual solution could have important implications not just for the casinos and their local communities but also for the push to legalize online gambling in the state.

There is strong legislative support for fixing all of the state’s gambling issues with one omnibus bill that could include online gambling regulation.