Two casinos in upstate New York are looking to reduce the number of slot machines on their floors. Depending on who you talk to, this is either planning for the future, or a cost cutting move, reports NewYorkUpstate.
Resorts World Catskills, near Monticello in New York, and Tioga Downs, located just outside Binghamton, have received approval from the New York State Gaming Commission to the reduce their number of machines. Resorts World Catskills will drop from 2,150 to 1600 slots, and Tigoa Downs from 942 to 822.
Putting a good face on the move, Jeff Gurral, owner of Tioga Downs, said he’s planning to use the freed up space for sports betting, assuming the state will approve the activity in the near future. Resorts World Catskills didn’t comment on the reason for the reduction, but a pretty strong one can be figured out from looking at the bottom line.
Clyde Barrow, a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said:
“When casinos start reducing the number of slot machines on the floor it’s a sign that they overestimated the strength of the market. Most operators like to maintain a $200 per day win per machine and reducing the number of slots is one way of doing it.”
Resorts World Catskills has only posted $117 in winnings per machine since opening. Empire Resorts, the operator of the casino, has also recently announced they will shut down their Monticello casino to help consolidate revenues.
Upstate New York casinos have been struggling in general, which is disappointing news for operators that have moved into the space. It could very well be that gamblers are heading north to the Montreal Casino and poker rooms, so they can have a bit of big city fun when they want to gamble, or heading south, to New Jersey and Pennsylvania casinos that are already offering sports betting.
Whatever the reason is for these casinos struggles, this incremental change might help the bottom line for now, but they’ll be hoping New York acts fast on sports gambling, or it’s going to start getting uglier.