Official PA live poker revenue figures from the state’s regulatory body show that Pennsylvania land-based casinos may be forced to rethink “gaming space” distribution in the future.

Statistics released by the PGCB for the months of November and December 2017 — although not overly negative — continue to point toward low revenue margins for live poker games in the Keystone State.

PA Live Poker Revenue Figures

PA Live Poker Revenue Figures (SOURCE: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board) *CLICK TO ENLARGE*

Peer-to-Peer “non-banking” Gross Gaming Revenue in Pennsylvania experienced a monthly decline of 0.6% from $4.81 million to $4.77 million in December despite having the benefit of an extra calendar day.

PA Live Poker Revenue Growth/Decline Summary (Per Casino)

  • MOHEGAN SUN: (6.35%)
  • PARX: +11.87%
  • HARRAH’S: +1.74%
  • PRESQUE ISLE: (7.75%)
  • MEADOWS: (16.48%)
  • MOUNT AIRY: (4.63%)
  • PENN NATIONAL: +0.9%
  • SANDS: +9.97%
  • RIVERS: (30.91%)
  • SUGARHOUSE: +3.09%
  • Valley Forge and Nemacolin do not offer poker

  • The shortfall of roughly $30,000 is not a number that would typically spark major concern among casino interests, as it only amounts to roughly three dollars less in daily after-tax revenue per live poker table. However, the monthly GGR statistics — when compared to house-edge “Banking” tables — are alarming.

    In the month of December 2017, poker tables generated only $692 in DAILY GGR per table as opposed to $2,412 for traditional casino table games. Those figures represent (approximately) a 71% reduction in gaming space effectiveness in relation to square footage dedicated to house-edge “Banking” tables.

    PA Live Poker Revenue vs. Casino Tables

    In contrast, traditional casino table games — which include roulette, house-edge card games, and craps — witnessed a 4.97% month-over-month increase in GGR from $65.2 million to $68.4 million in December.

    PA Live Poker Revenue - Casino Tables

    Pennsylvania Live “House-Edge” Table Revenue (SOURCE: PGCB) *CLICK TO ENLARGE*

    PA Live “Banking” Table Revenue Growth/Decline Summary (Per Casino)

  • MOHEGAN SUN: +1.69%
  • PARX: +12.19%
  • HARRAH’S: +24.72%
  • PRESQUE ISLE: (21.29%)
  • MEADOWS: (7.49%)
  • MOUNT AIRY: (7.17%)
  • PENN NATIONAL: +1.73%
  • SANDS: +3.88%
  • RIVERS: +8.97%
  • SUGARHOUSE: +3.24%
  • Valley Forge: (3.10%)
  • Nemacolin: +3.76%

  • Presque Isle and The Meadows saw December revenue decline for both poker and casino tables as the two land-based gambling destinations face increased competition from legalized offerings at tribal casinos in Ohio as well as state-owned tables in West Virginia.

    Rivers Pittsburgh suffered a drastic 30 percent dip in poker revenue from November to December while experiencing 9 percent growth in GGR for house-edge games. Harrah’s Philadelphia witnessed very slight growth in the poker space last month, but increased its Banking table revenue by nearly 25 percent.

    Growing Pressure on Pennsylvania Brick & Mortar Casinos (Editorial)

    A broad gambling expansion law in Pennsylvania may have brought good news in the form of regulated online gambling, but the maintenance of brick & mortar casino profit margins in the Keystone State is more ambiguous than ever as a result.

    Provisions to include up to ten Category 4 “mini casinos” have lit a fire under operators and prompted two astronomical license bids from Penn National (January 10th – $50.1 million) and Stadium Casino LLC (January 24th – $40.1 million).

    With more than $90 million in newly-generated funds by the state’s controlling gambling commission (and up to eight more satellite casino licenses to be purchased), there is a growing threat of cannibalization to Pennsylvania land-based gambling destinations — which could nearly double in two years.

    The mini casinos, combined with the introduction of Video Gaming Terminals (licenses sold separately) will allocate a larger share of overall investment funds from operators into state coffers through permit fees. This in turn is likely to place added pressure on smaller land-based poker rooms that — given current trends — will be unable to compete with floor space occupied by higher revenue-generating “Banking” tables (even in a hypothetical case of absurd future rake increases).

    Will Regulated iGaming Grow PA Live Poker Revenue? (Anaylsis)

    This will depend on the size of each poker room, attractiveness to casual and for-profit players, availability of games, feasibility as a tournament location, as well as short-term revenue generation needs.

    Larger casinos with deep pockets that can afford 5-year renewable online license fees, which are 25 times higher than in neighboring New Jersey, will absolutely be granted an opportunity to leverage internet operator partnerships for cross-promotional purposes and grow their market share.

    Smaller land-based poker rooms are less likely to benefit from online poker, and more likely to redistribute their gaming space in favor of house-edge games to: (a) maximize short-term revenue, and (b) position themselves for more favorable merger and acquisition negotiation processes.

    Player pool volume is everything in the poker industry, which leads to the conclusion that players will have fewer — yet higher traffic — choices when it comes to which Pennsylvania poker rooms to patronize in the future.

    Parx, SugarHouse, Rivers, Sands, and Harrah’s will be favored as “go-to” destinations for Keystone State poker players in upcoming years. Presque Isle, Mount Airy, and The Meadows will not.

    PA Live Slot Machine Terminal Revenue

    Despite the fact that Pennsylvania slot machine revenue is taxed at roughly 54% of Gross Gaming Revenue (as opposed to 16% for all table games), the automated “Time on Machine Entertainment” terminals remain the largest generator of profit for land-based establishments.

    PA Live Poker Revenue - Slots Comparison

    Pennsylvania Live Slot Machine Revenue (SOURCE: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board) *CLICK TO ENLARGE*

    GGR on Pennsylvania live slots increased 3.47% from $181.33 million to $187.61 million in December, with casinos taking in an average of $108 daily per terminal after taxes (but before all other expenses).

    PA Live Slot Machine Revenue Growth/Decline Summary (Per Casino)

  • MOHEGAN SUN: +1.92%
  • PARX: +8.43%
  • HARRAH’S: +4.20%
  • PRESQUE ISLE: (12.23%)
  • MEADOWS: +3.14%)
  • MOUNT AIRY: (9.96%)
  • PENN NATIONAL: +5.65%
  • SANDS: +2.48%
  • RIVERS: +10.07%
  • SUGARHOUSE: +0.32%
  • Valley Forge: +13.64%
  • Nemacolin: +1.79%

  • Valley Forge in upscale King of Prussia remains the leader in slot terminal revenue optimization with each of its 600 slot terminals averaging close to $12,000 in monthly GGR.

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