Gross revenue from slot machines at the state’s 11 casinos was down 4.4 percent last month from the same period a year ago, a decline blamed in part on the effects of Superstorm Sandy.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported Friday that gross slots revenue at the state’s 11 casinos last month totaled $188.4 million, down from $197.2 million during the same period in 2011 — when just 10 casinos were open. The decline marked just the fourth time since the state’s first casino opened in 2006 that monthly slots revenue was down.
Sandy caused massive power outages, especially in the Philadelphia area, which has four casinos. While there was little major flooding, the storm’s heavy rains and high winds downed trees and made travel difficult in the region.
In Chester, just outside Philadelphia, Harrah’s closed its casino on Monday and part of Tuesday due to the storm, gaming board spokesman Doug Harbach said. Other casinos were not at full operation due to the storm, which wreaked havoc and hampered daily life in the region for much of the final week of October.
“The major thing is that the customers weren’t able to get to some facilities,” Harbach said.
In hard-hit New Jersey, the effect on the casino business was much greater. Atlantic City’s casinos weren’t given the OK to reopen until Friday, five days after the approaching storm forced them to close their doors.
But Pennsylvania still felt the effects of the storm. The state’s eleventh casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, opened in March; so, when comparing just the 10 casinos operating during both October 2011 and last month, the decline was 6.5 percent.
And the effect of the storm on the casino business appeared to be statewide.
In Philadelphia, Sugarhouse Casino saw slots revenue decline 7.7 percent. Elsewhere in the region, Harrah’s was down nearly 10 percent and Parx Casino in Bensalem was down more than 5 percent.
In northeastern Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was down nearly 10 percent. In central Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino was down more than 9 percent. Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie, which is facing new competition from a casino across the state line in Cleveland, saw a monthly decline of nearly 22 percent over the same period last year.
Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem and Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos both saw slight increases.
In addition to the effects of Sandy, the gaming board also said the fact that October 2011 had five Saturdays, while last month only had four, likely contributed to the decline in revenue.
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