Pandemic halves casino gaming revenue

Thursday 16th April 2020

Presque Isle Downs and Casino has been closed since March 17.

The shuttering of Pennsylvania's 12 casinos in mid-March resulted in a loss of $162 million in revenue over the same period of 2019, new numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board show.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie County saw revenue drop 52 percent, from $12.3 million last March to $5.9 million last month.

Specifically, slot-machine revenue declined 56 percent, from $10.8 million to $4.8 million, while revenue from table games fell nearly 58 percent, from $1.45 million to $615,000.

Statewide, total revenue for March dropped from $316 million in 2019 to $153 million. Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino lost the most money. Its revenue declined 71 percent for March, from nearly $51 million last year to $14.6 million.

When Presque Isle Downs and Casino closed its facility at midnight on March 17, it followed six other casinos in doing so -- five in the Philadelphia area where the COVID-19 outbreak began, and one in Pittsburgh. The Gaming Control Board also ordered the other casinos that remained open to close March 17.

The decision came the same day that Churchill Downs, which owns Presque Isle Downs and Casino, postponed the running of the Kentucky Derby from May 2 to early September.

Offsetting losses from table games and slot machines was internet gaming, which increased 25 percent between February and March, or from $19.5 million to $24.2 million.

However, another new form of gaming took a hit as major college and professional sporting events were canceled, including the men's and women's NCAA Basketball Tournaments and the NBA. Total revenue dropped from $11.4 million in February to $8.6 million in March.

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