Pennsylvania is poised to grow its online and traditional gaming markets and gaming analysts have recommend that both punters and operators focus on table games and not slots. This is rather surprising since most casino operators tend to take in the majority of their gross gaming revenues from slots.
Moody Analysts Bet On Table Games
Financial research company Moody’s Investors Service took a look at the last 12 months of Pennsylvania gaming landscape and found that table game revenue has been steadily increasing. There were reports earlier that PA could see a boost in revenue due to the potential cannibalization of table games from neighboring Maryland. However Moody analysts found that this wasn’t the case and the boost in revenues was due to the increasing table revenue per unit and the strong average number of tables in service per day.
According to the Moody report, table games are growing at a steady pace bringing in $890.7 million in revenue last year, up from $853.2 million in 2016. Table games are also contributing more to Pennsylvania’s total gambling revenue, account for 27.6 percent of revenue generated compared to 23.4 percent in 2013.
This report is in line with data published by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in January which found that table games revenue for 2017 were at record highs since legalized casino gaming began in Pennsylvania. According to the report, tables games helped propel overall gaming revenue to its highest calendar figure yet and crossed $3.2 billion in 2017.
Demand For Slots Continues To Decline
Compared to the climbing strength of table games, it looks like the demand and interest in slots is slowly going down. While slots still brought in a decent $2.34 billion in revenue last year, slot machine revenue has been the most stagnant across the Pennsylvanian gambling sector. The state have tightened supply to remedy the decline in slot revenue per unit per day but it has done nothing to increase the demand at each machine. If anything, analysts believe that slots are reaching a point of saturation and other casino games can now take advantage of this.
In a statement, Keith Foley, a senior vice president with Moody’s, said “That’s really the takeaway from this report. People talk about market saturation — it’s the slots, which are a large portion of the market, that are saturated.”
Saturation Of Slots Cause For Decline
This market report comes at a time when Pennsylvania is making changes and trying to iron out its expanded gaming law. The expansion of Pennsylvania’s gaming rules and regulations taps many facets of the industry but one part of the expansion introduces the addition of 10 mini-casinos in the state, where each mini-casino can host up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.
If the number of slot machines were to be increased accordingly, Moody’s believes that it can only exacerbate the decline in slot revenue per units, which can reach a point where there will be no increase whatsoever in total gaming revenue despite the continued addition of slots.
Bidding for the mini-casinos has already started and four licenses have already been awarded to operators who wish to open more gambling facilities in the state. In January, Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming won the first license after bidding $50 million to construct a mini-casino in the southern central of Pennsylvania that would include the city of York.
The second license was won shortly by a lesser known Baltimore-based developer Cordish Cos, which is a family-owned commercial developer specializing in building entertainment districts and owner of the casino license for Live! Hotel & Casino in Philadelphia. Cordish won the second license for a lower $40.1 million bid and will be building a casino in Westmoreland County, just outside Pittsburgh. Cordish’s new license will allow them to add 750 more slot machines on top of their 5,000 slot machine margin through their Live! Hotel & Casino license.
The operator of Mount Airy Casino Resort and Las Vegas Sands Corp picked up the other two licenses by committing $21 million and $9.9 million for their proposed gaming facilities. With six more licenses up for grabs, the number of slots machines that will mushroom around the state are bound to cause market saturation.
In response to the declining potential of slots, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach remained positive said that both slot machines and table games are expected to deliver through the expansion, saying that the casinos wouldn’t be bidding millions of dollars on the mini-casinos if they were not expecting to generate revenue from slot machines.

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