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East Coast slots gain in '08

Jan 27, 2009 5:10 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

Slot machines on the East Coast generated $9.65 billion in gross revenue last year, an increase of 3.7 percent due largely to the continuing growth in emerging jurisdictions, according to Gaming Industry Observer’s East Coast Slot Report.

The 41 casinos (including racinos and slot parlors) operated 109,656 slot machines at year end. Each machine won, on average, $245 a day, a decline of 4.8 percent over the 2007 results. Philadelphia Park generated the East Coast’s highest daily win per unit at $386, followed by the Meadows and Mohegan Sun at $366 each, Harrah’s Chester at $358, and Harrah’s Atlantic City at $332.

In overall slot revenue, Mohegan Sun topped the chart at $842.9 million, followed by Foxwoods at $728.1 million, Empire City at Yonkers Raceway at $486.5 million, Harrah’s Atlantic City at $446.5 million, and Charles Town Races at $442.8 million. More than half of the casinos reported year-over-year declines in slot revenue.

"The impact of the economy took its toll on the growth rates of the established gaming properties. For 2009, the industry’s fortunes are joined at the hip to those of the economy at large," said Joseph Weinert, editor of Gaming Industry Observer.

The East Coast Slot Report each month tracks every gaming property in nine state-regulated gaming jurisdictions from Maine to Florida. It does not include the results from the 14 Indian casinos in Florida, New York and North Carolina, which do not publicly report their gaming revenue.

On average, East Coast slot machines had a payout percentage of 91.13 percent, a decrease of 0.07 percentage points over the previous year. Delaware Park slots offered the highest average payout for the year at 92.53 percent, followed by Borgata at 92.29 percent and Monticello Raceway at 92.25 percent.

Nevada slot machines returned an aggregate 93.86 percent to players over the last 12 months.

The East Coast was home to the five highest-grossing racinos in the country. Empire City led the pack, followed by Charles Town Races, Twin River at $407.5 million, Philadelphia Park at $400.6 million and Harrah’s Chester at $369 million.

"The East Coast results were the sum of broadly mixed components. Note that, without exception, the only operations that posted revenue growth were either newer, recently improved or expanded, and/or enjoyed some form of legislative or regulatory relief in 2008 that allowed enhanced marketing," said Bill LaPenta, Director of Financial Analysis for Spectrum Gaming Group, which publishes Gaming Industry Observer.