Why the best time to explore Pennsylvania Land-Based Poker is right now.

Since Pennsylvania passed legislation to regulate online gambling in October 2017, more information is being spread about both Internet and Pennsylvania Land-Based Poker activity in the Keystone State. Now more than ever, poker enthusiasts are being made aware of how poker fits into the “bigger picture” when it comes to traditional real money gambling verticals.

In that spirit, here is a look at current monthly Poker Room Revenue taken from 12 casinos that operate as brick & mortar establishments within Pennsylvania — and why NOW is the best time to patronize these businesses if you are in the area and have an interest in poker.

Pennsylvania Land-Based Poker & Bank Table Game Revenue

The following chart contains data collected from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

Pennsylvania Land-Based Poker Room Revenue

SOURCE: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (October 2017) *CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE*

A few notes before we get into what this means and how this affects poker players in Pennsylvania:

  • GGR is defined as Gross Gaming Revenue.
  • “Bank” tables are defined as house-edge games, and are calculated separately from poker.
  • Discrepancies in the total number of tables means that certain land-based casinos in PA offer “hybrid” games (aka “stadium” modules), which are not reflected in this data.
  • Revenue generation per casino table is due largely to occupancy rates, and does not necessary reflect “rake” or “house edge” percentages in those games.
  • Stark Contrast Between Poker and House-Edge Table Revenue

    The image above shows a stark contrast between poker and house-edge revenue generation per table in Pennsylvania land-based casinos.

    During the month of October 2017, non-poker games generated more than three times as much revenue as their poker counterparts per table — $2,308 to $690 USD. Although “bank” tables outnumber poker tables at land-based PA casinos by roughly a 4-to-1 margin, total monthly revenue outpaced poker by more than 13-to-1 in October.

    Poker Provides Value to Competent Players

    Poker has been consistently marketed as a “value play” for competent players worldwide, and Pennsylvania live games are no different.

    Casino operators are well-aware of this fact, and could potentially move to increase rake in the future to compensate for revenue per square foot of gaming space. This means that individuals who classify themselves as professional poker players might be looking at the home stretch of for-profit play, or at the very least should consider how future rake increases may affect their livelihood.

    PA Land-Based Casino Slot Machine Revenue

    The chart below shows Pennsylvania Slot Machine GGR for the Week of November 13th-19th, 2017. As you can see, Net Revenue is greatly affected by the 54% tax rate (compared to 16% total for tables games in PA). Even so, it is clear that poker tables equal far less profit for operators when compared to both house-edge games and slot terminals.

    Pennsylvania Land Based Slot Revenue

    SOURCE: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (Nov 13th-19th, 2017) *CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE*

    Market saturation is possible for land-based slots in Pennsylvania, although there is no concrete data available that shows how many terminals would need to be available before demand for Time On Machine Entertainment decreases.

    There are currently around 25,800 slot terminals available for real money wagering in PA land-based casinos. However, that number will increase between 3,000 and 7,500 (11.6% to 29.1%) in 2018 with the arrival of Category 4 Slot Machine Licenses — assuming operators opt for all ten PA permits.

    Pennsylvania Online Poker Tie-In, Conclusions

    With real money online poker games expected to be available next year, we could see an increase in live Pennsylvania poker room activity as brick & mortar venues seek to cross-promote their respective brands online. Yet it would take a bonafide Keystone State poker boom to prompt live casinos to significantly expand their current poker offerings.

    Which is why the time is now for Pennsylvania poker players of all skill levels to seek out ways to work with operators to innovate the game we all love. Speedy gameplay will continue to be a “must have” at any live poker table as well as online, combined with the creation of new, competitive peer-to-peer poker models and positive outreach on behalf of both players and operators.

    Live Pennsylvania poker rooms may not move immediately to increase rake rates at their tables, but revenue data from 2018 will likely have a significant impact on future adjustments. So if you’re a competent poker player or a fan of the game who enjoys playing live or online in the Keystone State, the time to become active in your poker community is right now.

    * The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website, operators, players or media representatives. The featured image was selected as a tribute to Rush Street Gaming’s Poker Night in America, which this author believes has gone above and beyond the expected norm in promoting the game of poker in 2017.

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