PA Casinos Recover to Pre-Pandemic Levels in July, Beat 2019 Results

Casinos in Pennsylvania posted strong revenue for July, recovering to pre-pandemic levels, the PGCB reported on Monday.

Revenue in PA Casinos Beats July 2019 Results

Gambling revenue has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) said on Monday, citing the numbers for July. According to the results submitted to the regulator by operators in the Keystone State, the state has made a heady recovery in the first month of restart of most gambling operations.

With COVID-19 still rampaging across the country, a lot of the brick-and-mortar casino revenue took a tumble in Q2, 2020, but it has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and now even posting some improved results in July. The trend is expected to keep for the rest of the year.

According to the PGCB, gambling revenue in July reached $283 million, up from $281.5 million a year before. With health authorities, the gaming regulator, and Gov. Tom Wolf allowing casinos to reopen, pent-up demand has allowed venues to post fantastic results.

Unlike other states, Pennsylvania depends on domestic consumption as well as players who can drive to a physical casino, making the casino industry less reliant on air travel as is Nevada’s, for example.

Online Gambling Keeps Improving in July

Naturally, online gambling posted better results in July with online slots, poker, and table games contributing $54.4 million to the results. Online sports betting added another $61.2 million, bringing the total number for Internet wagering and gaming to $115.6 million.

To compare these numbers objectively, Internet gaming generated barely $4 million in July, 2019, just months after the SugarHouse Casino launched online products. Since that time online gambling revenue has increased and the SugarHouse Casino has been rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

However, the increase in online gaming and betting has led to a decline in brick-and-mortar operations, with retail slots posting 17% lower revenue and table games reporting a 32% drop from a year ago. However, table games are also subject to stricter regulations in Pennsylvania, and they haven’t been able to reopen properly.

Sports Betting Does Well During Lockdown

While the suspension of sports event caught many companies by surprise, not to mention the sports leagues hosting those events, online sports betting in July in Pennsylvania soared by 22%.

The good results were thanks to the NBA restarting the season in the so-called “Bubble” in Orlando, Florida as well as soccer, golf and mixed-martial arts returning.

There is still a long way to go, though, when it comes to recovering sports betting handle, and now, some collegiate leagues may cancel their seasons, adding another layer of uncertainty about the fall season and next year’s March Madness.

Casino Revenue: Some Win, Some Lose

The state’s 12 casinos posted mixed results. Some have done better than others whether thanks to better branding or timing their reopening a little better. Parx Casino in Bensalem posted $59.9 million in revenue or up 14.4% from a year before.

Wind Creek Bethlehem, though, posted revenue that was 38% lower year-over-year. Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which preferred not to hurry up its reopening until July 17 experienced a steep decline in retail operations.

However, Rivers Casino had been successful in garnering the most interest for its online gaming operations, posting $15.5 million in revenue. Another big winner was the Boyd Gaming-owned Valley Forge Casino Resort, which posted results up 57.7% year-over-year.

Once again, the positive results were driven by the fact that Valley Forge Casino operates a FanDuel online sportsbook, giving it resilience in the event of a commercial shutdown of the land-based operations.  

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