Pa. slots revenue up 5.7 percent in August

August revenue was boosted by the new Valley Forge Casino, Pa.'s 11th hall.
August revenue was boosted by the new Valley Forge Casino, Pa.'s 11th hall. (MATT ROURKE / AP)
Posted: September 07, 2012

Boosted by the addition of a casino in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania generated revenue of $210.6 million last month from slots at its 11 gambling halls, up 5.7 percent from August 2011's levels.

Despite the year-over-year increase, it was clear from figures released Wednesday by the Gaming Control Board that the new casinos that have sprouted in neighboring Ohio were beginning to have an impact on the three gaming venues in Western Pennsylvania, which last year accounted for about a third of the state's $1.45 billion in total tax revenue from gambling proceeds.

The August revenue figure was boosted by Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened March 31. The state's newest casino brought in nearly $4 million in slots revenue in August, the Gaming Control Board reported.

Without the Valley Forge casino, gross revenue was up 3.7 percent at the 10 venues that were open in August 2011. This year, August also had one more weekend day than it did in 2011.

Six of the state's 11 casinos - Parx, Sands, Rivers, Harrah's Philadelphia, SugarHouse, and Mount Airy - had revenue gains from a year ago. The increases ranged from nearly 5 percent at Rivers in downtown Pittsburgh to 14.4 percent at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

Parx in Bensalem continued to lead the state, taking in $31.5 million last month from slots. Sands, which generated $24.9 million, came in second; Rivers, at nearly $24 million, rounded out the top three.

Four casinos - the Meadows, Hollywood, Mohegan Sun, and Presque Isle - reported revenue declines.

The biggest drop, 9.2 percent, was at Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, near the Ohio border, whose customer base has been eroded by a new competitor - the $350 million Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, Ohio's first commercial gambling venue, which opened in mid-May.

A second Ohio casino has opened in Toledo, a third opens next month in Columbus, and a fourth next year in Cincinnati.

Presque Isle's gross revenue from slots was $13.4 million, compared with $14.7 million in August 2011.

"As expected, the Ohio casinos are putting a dent into play at Presque Isle," gaming analyst John Kempf, of RBC Capital Markets L.L.C., said in a note Wednesday to investors.

Meadows Racetrack & Casino in North Strabane Township, about 45 minutes outside Pittsburgh and also feeling the heat from Ohio, was down about 4 percent.

In central Pennsylvania, Kemp noted, the Penn National Gaming Inc.-owned Hollywood Casino in Grantville had a 1 percent year-over-year decline. One possible reason, he said, was the opening in early June of Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel, Md.

Figures for table-game revenue will be released later this month.


Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2855 or sparmley@phillynews.com.

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