Pennsylvania table games revenue up 12%, casino bosses demand more booze

pennsylvania-casino-24-hour-boozePennsylvania’s dozen casinos reported table game revenue up nearly 12% in February, despite a wave of bad weather that neighboring Atlantic City cited for its casino revenue decline.

Table game revenue hit $63.9m, an increase of 11.8%. That’s a far better performance than the state’s slots revenue, which gained a mere 1.1% to $183.2m in February. The month’s total gaming revenue haul of $247.1m is up 3.7% over February 2014.

Sands Bethlehem was the clear winner in the table games stakes, with its 207 tables generating revenue of nearly $15.3m, up 21% from the same month last year. Parx Casino was up over 20% to $11.7m, despite its number of tables falling by 11 to 154 from last February. SugarHouse ranked third with $7.5m (+4%), Rivers placed fourth with $6.3m (+2%), narrowly edging out Harrah’s Philadelphia’s $6.1m (flat).

While February’s numbers were good, the state’s gaming industry has witnessed two consecutive years of annual revenue declines. In response, the bosses of four of the state’s gaming casinos (and six racino bosses) sent a joint letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, state Rep. John Payne and Sen. Kim Ward – the heads of their respective chambers’ gaming oversight committees – suggesting ways to “reverse the Pennsylvania gambling industry’s negative trend.”

Among these suggestions are regulatory streamlining to “eliminate redundancy” currently spread across the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Revenue Department, State Police and the Attorney General. They would also like the ability to immediately install new slot machines and electronic table games if the technology has been approved in another casino state, rather than waiting for Pennsylvania regulators to approve each device. Tax credits for casino expansion would be appreciated, as would making it more difficult for bars and other non-casino establishments to install gambling machines.

Casinos also don’t want to see any further smoking restrictions but they do want legislators to pass a 24-hour casino alcohol service law, or, failing that, extending current drinking hours. Casinos also want the ability to give any casino visitor free drinks if they perceive a customer is looking a little too steady on their feet. If it helps, these can be bundled under the Withnail Is Thirsty Act 2015.