New casino gives a lift to Pa. slots revenues in April

Philadelphia - Slot machine revenue was up slightly last month from April 2011 at Pennsylvania's casinos, but there were signs of a possible slowdown in the industry's rapid growth as the state saw just its third such decline ever for existing casinos.

The state's 11 casinos brought in $214.1 million in gross revenue last month, up 1.3 percent from the same period the year before, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures released Wednesday.

Those figures, however, include the first full month of revenue from Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened March 31. Without that revenue, the money generated by existing casinos actually fell 0.6 percent from the same period the year before. The only other times that has happened were in October 2011 (down 0.1 percent) and January 2011 (down 3.7 percent), with the latter decline blamed on weather.

"One month never makes a trend," gaming board spokesman Richard McGarvey said. "Revenue goes up, goes down."

McGarvey noted that April 2011 had five Fridays and five Saturdays - days that tend to produce the highest revenue - while last month there were only four of each.

One casino that has been seeing repeated declines is Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, just outside Philadelphia. For the latest period, revenue at that casino - which opened in January 2007 - was down 7.6 percent. Several other casinos also saw declines for the period, including Hollywood casino near Harrisburg (down 5.6 percent) and Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie (down 6.6 percent).

Meanwhile, the state's second-newest casino, Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia, continued to show gains, with 7.5 percent growth last month from the year before.

Last month, the casinos set an all-time monthly high with $233.1 million in gross revenue.


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