CASINO

Pennsylvania slots fall second straight year; Maryland casinos slip in December

TAGs: Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Maryland, Pennsylvania

pennsylvania-maryland-avon-barksdalePennsylvania casino slot machine revenue fell for the second straight year as the state wrestles with the region’s increasing market saturation. While slots revenue for the state’s 12 casinos rose 5.8% in December to $188.4m and all but one casino was in positive territory for the monh, the gains weren’t enough to push the annual figures into the black.

Full-year slots revenue fell 2.7% to $2.31b. The decline was an improvement over 2013’s figure, which fell 3.5% from 2012. Just two casinos – Valley Forge and Lady Luck – posted year-on-year gains in 2014 and Lady Luck boosted its number simply because it was only open for half of 2013 The state’s table game numbers won’t be released until later this month.

South of the border, Maryland’s casinos saw revenue decline in December after several months of new earnings records. The state’s five casinos – including the new Horseshoe Casino Baltimore – earned $85,5m, down from $90.2m in November. The year-on-year comparison is up 31.7% but the Shoe wasn’t open last December. Stripping aside the Shoe’s input, the four other casinos reported revenue down 3.6%.

As ever, the bulk ($50.2m) of the state’s casino revenue was generated by Maryland Live!, which nonetheless failed to match its November tally of $53.8m. The Shoe earned $22.9m, down from $23.4m in November but living up to the $22.8m average the venue has generated since opening in late August. Hollywood Casino Perryville earned $6m, Ocean Downs earned $3.4m and Rocky Gap earned $3.1m.

For the year as a whole, Maryland’s casinos earned $797m, up 31% from 2013’s total thanks to the Shoe’s contributions. While the Shoe’s opening has yet to demonstrate any cannibalization of the state’s casino market, this theory will be put to the test when the state’s final casino, MGM National Harbor, opens in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Shoe’s security director has left his post after just five months on the job. The Shoe says Baltimore’s former acting police commissioner Anthony Barksdale has left their employ to “pursue other career opportunities.” Assistant security director John Zappas will fill Barksdale’s shoes, which really bums us out, because, given that this is Baltimore, where The Wire was shot, we were half hoping Barksdale had a relative named Avon who might be willing to get into the game.

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