Meadows sees Feb. table games revenue decline 35 percent

March 18, 2013
Jerry Testa of Moon Township, with his wife, Terri, at his side, throws out the first dice at the craps table to officially open table games inside The Meadows Casino in July 2010. - Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Table games revenue at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino fell nearly 35 percent in February from a year ago, according to the latest numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Baord, but Meadows management said the performance was part of the ebb and flow of the business.

The PGCB reported Monday that February gross revenue from The Meadows’ 80 table games, which include blackjack, poker, craps and roulette, stood at $1,941,422, down 33.8 percent from the $2,934,701 reported for February 2012, when it was operating 78 table games.

The decline in table games revenue comes just two weeks after the North Strabane Township casino saw its February slots revenue fall nearly 14 percent, the second greatest drop among the state’s casinos.

Meadows General Manager Sean Sullivan said later Monday that a variety of factors, from weather to a shorter month (2012 was a leap year) to a guest who won big against the house all contributed to the revenue loss.

“It’s a combination of 12 snow days, one less day and one player who beat The Meadows for close to a half million dollars,” Sullivan said.

“According to the customers, it’s a great stat,” he said, noting that several other players had significant winnings on table games last month.

“But it’s the ebb and flow of the business,” Sullivan continued. “It will correct at the end of the day.”

While The Meadows’ table games revenue percentage decline was second highest, behind only Erie’s Presque Isle Downs and Casino, which saw its revenue decline by nearly 47 percent – all but three of Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos had declines in table games revenue.

Only three casinos – Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino, the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and the Sands Casinos Resort Bethlehem – showed increases in table games revenue.

Total monthly revenue from slot machines and table games declined last month for just the third time in Pennsylvania’s casino gambling history, regulators said Monday.

Gross revenue from table games went down from $56.6 million in February 2012 to $55.3 million last month, a decline of 2.1 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. When added to slot machine revenue figures released earlier this month, that means total gross revenue from casino gambling was down 7.7 percent last month compared with the same period the year before.

That marks just the third time the combined revenues have declined, gaming board spokesman Richard McGarvey told the Associated Press. The other combined declines came in July 2006 (down 1.6 percent) and October 2012 (down 2.6 percent).

The state approved casinos in July 2004, and the first one opened with slot machines in November 2006; table games were added in 2010 and are now offered at all 11 casinos. The state’s gambling industry has grown rapidly since, but is showing signs of leveling off. Pennsylvania is now also facing increased competition from new or added gambling in Maryland, New York, Ohio and Delaware.

Last month, gross revenue from table games declined at seven of the state’s 11 casinos. Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened in March 2012, generated $2.4 million in gross revenue from table games last month.

Parx Casino in Bensalem, which is in the crowded Philadelphia market, was down 17 percent, to $8.2 million.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem continued to post big gains in eastern Pennsylvania. Its gross revenue from table games was up more than 12 percent last month to $12.1 million compared with the same period the year before.

Earlier this month, the gambling board reported gross revenue from slots was down 9.2 percent in February, the third straight monthly decline in slots revenue.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Michael Bradwell has been business editor for the Observer-Reporter since 1995, and was named editor of The Energy Report in 2012. He joined the newspaper in 1990 as a general assignment reporter in the Greene County bureau and has also worked as a copy editor. A 1974 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in English, he began his career at the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette. Prior to joining the O-R, he served as public relations director for Old Bedford Village, account executive at two Pittsburgh public relations agencies and copywriter for the country’s largest wholesaler of mutual funds.

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