Pocono Casinos Enjoying Bountiful 2016 as Revenues Trend Up

Posted on: August 30, 2016, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: August 30, 2016, 12:04h.

Pocono casinos slot machines Mount Airy Mohegan Sun
Pocono casinos have done a tremendous job keeping their slot machines occupied, and the games are the leading reason the two resorts are seeing their revenues increase in 2016. (Image: Kevin Mingora/Allentown Morning Call)

The two Pocono casinos located in the mountainous northeastern Pennsylvania region are posting higher total revenues across their gambling floors in 2016. Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy Casino Resort are respectively up 1.62 percent and 2.87 percent through the first six months.

Once again it’s the tried-and-true slots responsible for the gaming win increase.

Mohegan Sun reported slots revenue for the first half of the year was $111 million, a five percent increase on the same period in 2015. At Mount Airy, slots brought in $71.5 million, a nearly six percent gain for the resort.

While the reliable slots increased their winning ways for gaming operators, tables headed in an opposite direction. Table games decreased 12 percent at Mohegan Sun to $22.8 million and 5.6 percent at Mount Airy to $21 million.

Gaming Rebound

Across the nation, gaming revenues are finally rebounding after several difficult years following the housing bubble and Great Recession in the United States. Collectively, Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based casinos show slots up 1.95 percent and tables up 7.8 percent between January and June.

The state’s fiscal year for the 2015/2016 cycle officially ended on June 30. Total gaming revenue was $3,227,835,635, a 3.6 percent year-over-year rally. It marks the first time Pennsylvania casino revenue has eclipsed $3.2 billion since the state legalized table games in 2010.

In New Jersey’s Atlantic City, the hardest hit gambling town in America over the last decade, revenues are stabilizing. Total gaming win was up 2.5 percent year-to-date through June and is on pace to beat last year’s total income of $2.56 billion.

Online gaming is playing a vital role in Atlantic City. Internet casino proceeds were up almost 32 percent in the first half of 2016.

And in Nevada, gaming is marginally up at 0.66 percent. However, optimism is widespread for Sin City following a strong summer and cooler temps arriving this fall.

Mount Airy Renews Then Sues

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board renewed Mount Airy’s casino license for an additional three-year term. As its way of saying thanks, the Pocono casino brought a lawsuit against the state.

Mount Airy Casino believes the $10 million annual payment it makes to Monroe County is unjust. By law, casinos in Pennsylvania are required to pay two percent of their gross slots revenue over $500 million to their host county, or $10 million, whichever is greater.

The casino only generated $139.1 million from slots in 2015, meaning its true two percent payment would have been $2.78 million. Mount Airy is challenging that the added payments, which totaled $7.22 million last year, are unconstitutional.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled on whether it will hear the charges. However, the odds seem slim considering the $10 million minimum statute has been in place since slots were legalized back in 2006.

Mount Airy opened in 2007 and has paid the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over $800 million in taxes on $1.6 billion in gross revenue during its nine years. The casino features 1,850 slot machines and 80 table games.