Online gambling may be coming to Pennsylvania in the coming years (don’t hold your breath for 2014, but 2015 certainly looks like a possibility), and when it does it will most likely be the brick & mortar casinos in the state that are licensed as operators and in control of the industry.
So what can we expect from these operators?
In this column I’ll offer up a quick breakdown of the casino industry in Pennsylvania, focusing on the type of gaming provider they are, the revenue generated at each casino, and who the potential leaders will be should online gambling become a reality in the Keystone State.
Brick & Mortar Casinos in PA
Despite their recent entry into full-fledged casino gambling (table games were only introduced in 2010) Pennsylvania has quickly established one of the biggest land based industries in the US.
Since their gaming industry was expanded in several waves, there are several types of casinos in the state, Racinos (a combination racetrack and casino), small stand-alone casinos (little more than expanded slots casinos), and the latest addition to Pennsylvania’s gaming options, resort style casinos, with their massive hotels and gaming floors.
There are currently 12 casinos in Pennsylvania. Six are Racinos, four are stand-alone casinos, and two are resort style casinos. There are also two other resort style casinos waiting for approval from regulators.
Here are the current casinos in the state:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester (Racino)
- Hollywood Casino Grantville in Dauphin (Racino)
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane Township (Racino)
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township (Racino)
- Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem (Racino)
- Presque Isle Downs in Erie (Racino)
- Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono (Stand-alone Casino)
- Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh ( Stand-alone Casino)
- Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem (Stand-alone Casino)
- SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia (Stand-alone Casino)
- Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington (Resort Casino)
- Valley Forge Casino Resort in Upper Merion Township (Resort Casino)
Revenue by PA Casino
Interestingly, the biggest revenue generators in the state are not the mega-resort casinos, instead it is the stand-alone Sands Bethlehem and the Parx Racino. Although it should be noted that the resort casinos are very new in the state, and they should surge to the top in the coming years.
Here is a look at the slots / table games revenue at each casino from fiscal year 2012/2013:
- Parx Casino and Racing = $376 million / $110 million
- Sands Casino Resort = $290 million / $165 million
- Rivers Casino = $283 million / $69 million
- Harrah’s Philadelphia = $249 million / $80 million
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino = $240 million / $36 million
- Hollywood Casino (Penn National) = $238 million / $37 million
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs = $224 million / $42 million
- SugarHouse Casino = $184 million / $85 million
- Mount Airy Casino Resort = $146 million / $39 million
- Presque Isle Downs = $138 million / $14 million
- Valley Forge Casino Resort = $55.9 million / $31 million
- Nemacolin Woodlands Resort = $46k / $8k (June 2013 only)
Online gambling, yea or nay?
So which of these properties will likely be at the forefront of Pennsylvania’s online gambling industry?
The Las Vegas Sands owned Sands Bethlehem, despite being the second biggest revenue generator in the B&M casino industry, is unlikely to even offer online gambling, considering Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson’s vehement opposition to online gambling.
Parx is an interesting player in that Chairman Bob Green is personally opposed to online gambling expansion, but unlike Adelson, Green and Parx are ready to go along with the rest of the state should an online gambling bill pass in PA.
Caesars Entertainment is looking to be one of the leaders in US online gambling (they already have online sites in New Jersey and Nevada) so don’t be surprised to see Harrah’s Philadelphia among the early leaders, piggybacking on the success of WSOP.com in other locales.
Other potential players
Both Mohegan Sun and Hollywood Casino (Penn National) have expressed interest in online gambling around the country. Mohegan Sun already has on-property online options and Penn National is already familiar with online options thanks to their pari-mutuel racing options.