Upstate NY Casinos Close Out 2023 Strong But Just Miss Single-Year Record

Written By Grant Lucas on January 8, 2024 - Last Updated on January 11, 2024
patrons play slots at resorts world catskills for a story on december 2023 revenue reported by new york casinos

Commercial casinos in New York will have to wait another year to set a revenue record.

Despite the industry enjoying its second-best December in its eight-year history, the four upstate casinos finished 2023 with $680.6 million in gross gaming revenue, falling less than $10 million off the record set the previous year.

Now — as state officials mull over downstate casino proposals and potentially hand out licenses later this year, and as lawmakers potentially legalize NY online casinos — upstate properties will likely enjoy their final year as the lone land-based casinos in the Empire State in 2024.

New York casinos have second-best December in history

All told, the four commercial casinos upstate combined for $55.99 million in December, according to data from the New York State Gaming Commission. Only 2022 topped that total in terms of December revenue, clocking in at $56.41 million.

It was a strong finish to 2023, to be sure. In fact, last month, land-based casinos reported $1.1 million from poker. It represents the best month for poker since April.

graphic showing total 2023 revenue for retail casinos in new york

Breaking down individual casinos in NY

Of the four fully fledged casinos in the Empire State, del Lago arguably enjoyed the biggest highs in December.

The Waterloo casino had its best month since March with $14.26 million in NY casino revenue. That total was bolstered by del Lago’s highest slots total ($10.68 million) since March, highest table game revenue ($3.07 million) since November 2022 and highest poker total ($254,245) since March 2019.

Meanwhile, Rivers Casino Schenectady wrapped up 2023 with its third straight month leading the industry in total revenue. A highlight for Rivers included revenue from NY sports betting, which generated $628,297 in December for the casino’s highest total since December 2022.

Consistently jockeying with Rivers for the top spot, Resorts World Catskills had its lowest month since April with $1.1 million in total revenue.

CasinoTotal GGRSlotsTable GamesPokerSports BettingTotal Tax
Rivers Schenectady$17,534,695$12,727,038$3,825,158$354,203$628,297$4,298,877
Resorts World Catskills$15,324,019$8,071,273$6,715,211$440,491$97,045$3,146,656
Del Lago$14,260,298$10,682,613$3,075,254$254,245$248,186$3,562,552
Tioga Downs$8,866,464$7,859,087$946,037$47,843$13,498$3,008,600

Downstate casino, NY online casino expansion coming in 2024?

A new year brings brighter lights on New York issuing three downstate casino licenses. While we still await the second set of answers before the Gaming Facility Location Board officially opens the application process, it is expected that the GFLB could hand out those licenses by the end of the year.

As a result, 2024 could stand as the last full year for upstate casinos to enjoy a full monopoly on fully fledged casino gaming.

There is little doubt that casinos around the New York City area would push land-based casinos in New York over the 2022 record of $690.5 million in total revenue. Howard Glaser, the global head of government affairs for Light & Wonder called New York “the holy grail of casino expansion.” Why? Because, he said, the Empire State could outshine Las Vegas in terms of revenue.

In addition, Sen. Joe Addabbo will renew his quest to legalize online casinos in New York this year. The lawmaker remains optimistic that this is the year the Empire State does just that for a variety of reasons. The overarching one, however, is the fact that New York faces a $4.3 billion deficit in 2024. Online casinos, Addabbo argues, would certainly help cut into that total.

Photo by Seth Wenig / AP Photo
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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