October 2019

An Encore, Extra Saturday, and Bright Sunshine
Carried August


Total gaming revenue in August 2019 was up 9.6 percent to $4.0 billion. Year -to-date the nationwide gaming win is $29.972 billion, up 4.19 percent. Any way that you slice it, those are good numbers. There were some negatives, as there always are: some casinos in Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are feeling the pain of additional competition. However, nationwide, the gaming picture is bright.
 
The glitziest story in August was again the Encore casino in Boston. New billion-dollar casinos always capture the headlines and the public’s imagination, but beneath the glitter the main narrative continues to be driven by much smaller operations - VLTs in Illinois and Pennsylvania, kiosk, in venue and mobile sports betting in several states, and even racetracks with historic gaming machines in Kentucky. And in August, there was no hurricane action in the United States, plus an extra Saturday (compared to 2018), adding several cherries on top of the cake.
 
Gaming in the U.S. is now an industry of growth. The first seven months of the year had a 3.3 percent growth rate, but August illustrates that this is likely to increase. Growth will slow down, as everything does, but in the meantime, fasten your seat belts - we are in for a ride.

August 2019 Casino and VLT Revenue:
 
Atlantic City gaming revenues rose 16.1% to $352.8 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Colorado casino revenue rose 0.79% to $76.0 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Detroit casino revenues fell 0.49% to $119.8 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Florida VLT revenue rose 0.65% to $46.2 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Illinois gaming revenues rose 5.5% to $259.2 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Indiana gaming revenue rose 0.2% to $190.1 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Iowa casino revenues rose 1.1% to $128.2 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Kansas gaming revenue rose 3.5% to $35.4 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Kentucky historic racing win rose 144.2% to $19.6 million. Racing Commission, 9-19
 
Louisiana gaming revenue rose 3.0% to $269.6 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Maine gaming revenue fell 6.3% to $13.3 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Maryland gaming revenue rose 5.4% to $154.3 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Massachusetts gaming revenue rose 243% to $285.3 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Mississippi gaming revenues fell 4.1% to $174.1 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Missouri gaming revenues rose 0.06% to $151.1 million. Gaming Commission, 9-190
 
Nevada gaming revenue rose 4.3% to $952.4 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
New York gaming revenue rose 1.76% to $230.8 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Ohio gaming revenue rose 4.2% to $164.4 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Pennsylvania gaming revenues rose 6.3% to $293.4 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
Rhode Island gaming revenue fell 3.8% to $52.6 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
South Dakota gaming revenue rose 3.9% to $31.9 million. Gaming/Lottery Commission, 9-19
 
Total gaming revenue rose 9.69% to $4.000 billion . David Rohn, 10-19

The other categories:
 
Macau gaming revenue fell 8.6% to $3.0 billion. Reuters, 9-1-19
 
Connecticut slot revenue fell 5.6% to $89.4 million. Gaming Commission, 9-19
 
The Dow Jones Industrials fell 0.6% to 26,403.28. Yahoo Finance, 9-19
 
Adams Index fell 6.0% to 569.15. CDC Gaming Reports, 9-19

Across the Country - August 2019

In August, Atlantic City had what was probably its best month in 12 years, with total revenues up 16.1 percent to $338.7 million. Casino win rose 6.1 percent to $286.5 million, online gaming was up 65.7 percent to $41.1 million, and sports betting rose two and half times to $25.2 million. Slot win was up 6.1 percent to $208.2 million and table games rose 6.3 percent to $78.2 million.
 
Except for a less than one percent drop in Harrah’s win, all casinos posted revenue increases in August. Hard Rock was up 30 percent to $40.8 million; Ocean Resorts had a 25 percent increase to $25.6 million; and Borgata reported an increase of 4.7 percent to $79.9 million. However, the most impressive increases came from Golden Nugget and Resorts. Golden Nugget was up 24.9 percent to $36.1 million, 41 percent of which came from internet wagering; Resorts was up 34 percent to $33.5 million, 28 percent of which came from online betting. With the online revenues Golden Nugget is number three on the revenue chart for the month, behind Hard Rock and Borgata.
 
Maryland reported a 5.4 percent increase in gaming revenue to $154. 2 million. MGM National Harbor was the market leader with a 40 percent market share, up 7.0 percent to $62.3 million. Live! had a 12.7 percent increase to $53.0 million, the Horseshoe Baltimore fell 13.0 percent to $18.2 million, Ocean Downs was up 6.5 percent to $8.8 million, Hollywood Perryville fell 2.7 percent to $6.3 million, and Rocky Gap saw a 5.8 percent boost to $5.3 million.
 
Massachusetts had a 243 percent jump in revenue in August to $85.5 million. Encore, in its second full month, generated 61 percent of the total, with $52.4 million. MGM Springfield had $20.9 million compared to $9.4 million last year in August, when it was open for only seven days. Plainridge Park reported $12.0 million in 2019, down 21.5 percent from 2018. September will be the first full month of year-over-year comparison for MGM, but with the addition of Encore to the market it will still not be a straightforward comparison; that will not happen until July 2020 when Encore has been operating for a full year.
 
Although other markets were also probably affected by the opening of Encore in Boston, Connecticut and Rhode Island are the loudest in their lamentations. Slot win from the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut fell 5 percent, consistent with their long-term trend, but MGM Springfield and Encore have exacerbated that trend. In Rhode Island, only Twin Rivers was definitively affected by Encore: in August its revenues were down by 20 percent and management laid off 30 table game supervisors and as many as 100 table games dealers. Though Encore impacted both tables and slots, the casino’s slots were only down 5.5 percent. The state’s other casino, Tiverton, moved to a new location last year and is doing much better in 2019. In August its gaming win more than doubled from 2018. But aided by $800k in sports betting revenue, the two Rhode Island casinos, combined, were down by only 2.1 percent.
 
New York total gaming win was up 1.76 percent to $230.8 million, with Resorts World having a 42 percent share of that. VLT revenue fell 2.8 percent to $172.7 million and the racinos took 1121 VLTs off the floor, leaving 17,381 VLTs in operation. Resorts World in New York City, with 5499 VLTs, generated a win of $59.5 million, up from $57.9 million in 2018; its Nassau OTB has 596 VLTs and produced a $15.6 million in win; combined the two Resorts World properties have 43.4 percent of the state’s VLT win and 35 percent of the VLTs in New York’s racinos.
 
New York State has four casinos; the total casino win in August rose 18.3 percent to $58.1 million. Tioga Downs, Rivers in Schenectady, and Resorts World Catskills had increases, while del Lago dropped 1.4 percent. The largest increase was at Resorts, where gaming win rose 50 percent to $22.4 million.
 
Illinois reported a combined win from the state’s 10 casinos and 7,079 VLT establishments of $259.2 million, up 5.5 percent from August 2018. Casino revenue was down slightly to $117.8 million, with admissions down 1.0 percent to 946,530; VLT revenue rose 11.1 percent to $141.4 million as the number of units grew by 9.6 percent to 32,561. Observers in Illinois have been distracted by the theater surrounding new casino licenses and the introduction of sports betting, but the underlying narrative of more VLTs and fewer casino customers continues on, at least in the short-term.
 
Missouri has 13 casinos which generated $151.1 million in gaming win in August, up 0.1 percent. Slot win dropped 0.3 percent to $128.3 million and table game win rose 2 percent to $22.3 million; the state recorded 1,721,400 patrons, down 1.7 percent from 2018. The Kansas City market was up 0.8 percent to $52.3 million, St. Louis dropped 0.4 percent to $76.9 million, and the “Out State Markets” were down 0.9 percent to $21.6 million. Missouri is fighting a battle with illegal slot machines that by some estimates are as high as 10 thousand games, with both lottery officials and gaming regulators calling foul and demanding that something be done. The story has gained more visibility each month with no obvious improvement in the situation.
 
Mississippi was off by 4 percent, due to a 9.1 percent decline in revenue from the coastal casinos. The coast was down from $108.7 million to $98.8 million. The local media said that the number of tourists dropped due to the beaches being closed but that with NFL coming back in session in September, Biloxi will be back on track. The central region reported an 8.1 percent increase to $25.2 million, while the Tunica market continues to decline, dropping 3.4 percent to $47.8 million. Overall, the state’s total was boosted by $2.8 million in sports book win.
 
Louisiana has 15 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino, four racinos, and 1640 establishments with VLTs. In August the total revenue from all sources rose 3.0 percent to $269.6 million. VLT revenue was up 4.4 percent to $52.1 million, racino win rose 3.4 percent, the land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans, reported a win of $23.3 million, up 1.7 percent, and the riverboat casino win was up 2.6 percent to $164.4 million, while casino admissions fell 1.6 percent to 1,794,281. The Shreveport/Bossier market was up 5.2 percent to $55.4 million. Lake Charles’s three casinos reported $65.4 million, up 1.9 percent; the three riverboats in New Orleans were up 1.7 percent to$23.5 million; and Baton Rouge was down 0.2 percent to $20.1 million.
 
Ohio reported a combined win from casinos and racinos of $164.4 million in August, 4.2 percent more than the previous year. Casino revenue was up 1.5 percent to 71.4 million; slot machine win was $50.0 million, up 5.4 percent; and table game win fell 6.1 percent to $21.4 million. Revenue from the state’s seven racinos was up 6.2 percent to $92.9 million; there were 11,609 VLTs, an increase of 3.4 percent (382 units), while the four casinos removed 98 units, leaving 7269 slots. The racino market leader was MGM Northfield with $20.7 million; Eldorado’s Scioto Downs was second with $16.0 million. The casino market leader was Hollywood Columbus with $19.1 million, up 4.3 percent; Jack Cleveland was second with $17.9 million, up 2.8 percent year over year.
 
Pennsylvania posted $293.4 million in gaming win, a 6.3 percent increase. That total includes slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and internet sports wagering, fantasy contests, and video gaming terminals. Parx was the market leader with $54.9 million in win, up 5.3 percent; Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands) was second with $44.9 million, up 1.2 percent; and Rivers in Pittsburgh was third with $32.2 million, up 7.5 percent. Statewide slot revenue was $206.2 million, up 2.2 percent, table game win was $76.1 million, up 3.6 percent, internet revenue was $3.2 million, and sports betting was $6.1 million, which includes $3.5 million from retail outlets and $2.5 million from online wagers.
 
Nevada had its third straight month of gaming win increase in August, up 4.3 percent to $952.4 million. The state’s dominant market, the Las Vegas Strip, was up 8.9 percent to $520.6 million. Downtown Vegas dropped 1.9 percent to $45.3 million, North Las Vegas fell 16.5 percent to $19.3 million, and the Boulder Strip fell 12.3 percent to $54.7 million. In the north, Reno was up 4.6 percent to $64.5 million, and Sparks increased 10.7 percent to $13.3 million. At Lake Tahoe, the South Shore fell 11.6 percent to $23.6 million while the North Shore was off 17.4 percent to $2.8 million. The Carson Valley casinos reported a 2.3 percent increase to $9.8 million, and Elko Country was up 11.4 percent to $26.8 million.
 
Statewide, blackjack was up 20.6 to $97.1 million, craps was up 40.3 percent to $36.4 million, roulette increased by34 percent to $29.7 million, and baccarat was up 6.4 percent to $98.6 million. Slot machine win dropped 0.4 percent to $615.5 million. The sports book win was $18.7 million, up 48.7 percent, with a handle of $288 million, up 16 percent. Thus in August, New Jersey wears the sports betting crown with $293 million in wagers and a $25.2 million win. By comparison, Pennsylvania recorded a $6.1 million sports book win and Mississippi was at $2.8 million.
 
Overall, with nearly a ten percent increase in total gaming revenues (almost $400 million more), August was a good month compared to a year earlier. It had good weather, an extra Saturday (theoretical value of plus 2.5 percent), two addition large casinos (Encore and MGM Springfield combined for $73.3 million in win), and 2852 additional VLTs ($13.3 million in win). But the game changer in the coming months is most likely to be sports betting in Pennsylvania, which will be the leading edge of changes coming as more states add mobile and in-venue sports wagering.
This report is written by Ken Adams