Winter Tanks New York Casino Revenue, But Light Remains At End Of Tunnel

Written By Grant Lucas on February 13, 2024 - Last Updated on February 15, 2024
Woman plays slots at Resorts World Catskills for a story on January 2024 revenue generated by the four upstate casinos in New York

The winter season typically brings a dip in business for casinos in New York. With the holidays comes an urgency to save on spending and traveling, after all.

But what the upstate land-based casinos in the Empire State saw in January was somehow lower than expected.

All told, according to data from the New York State Gaming Commission, the four full-scale commercial casinos generated $49.1 million in gross gaming revenue, the lowest total they have combined for since January 2022.

There’s little doubt that this is just a blip, the annual dip casinos traditionally endure. That said, it seems there is only one way for those properties to go: up.

Record lows from upstate casinos in New York

Some 23 months had passed since the last time NY casinos saw a revenue total as low as January.

What’s more, the $49.1 million marked the first time the industry fell below $50 million since February 2022.

While it also reflects a nearly 10% decline from the same time in 2023, last month’s number does stand as the third-best January number since land-based casinos opened in late 2016.

Still, lowlights abound from January 2024.

At $201,891, revenue from retail NY sports betting was the lowest monthly total since June. Poker, clocking in at $885,334, had its worst month since May. Table game revenue, standing at $14.1 million last month, had not dipped that much since July. And slots, which reported $33.9 million, performed their worst since January 2022.

Details from individual land-based casinos

Typically the market leader, Rivers Casino Schenectady again topped the market with $15.7 million in total GGR. Yet that total, nearly $2 million below December’s numbers, stands as the casino’s lowest since February 2022.

Just behind, Resorts World Catskills reported $15.5 million in total revenue – the only property to see month-over-month growth from December. While Resorts saw its lowest slot revenue total since December 2020, its table games generated $8.3 million in revenue for a $1.6 million spike from the previous month.

Elsewhere, del Lago is closing in on $1 billion in lifetime NY casino revenue. With $7.2 million in January, the casino sits at $987.2 million and is a strong February away from joining Rivers and Resorts in the billion-dollar club.

CasinoTotal GGRSlotsTable GamesPokerSports BettingTotal Tax
Rivers Schenectady$15,657,031$12,030,306$3,061,405$327,960$237,361$3,971,764
Resorts World Catskills$15,521,312$6,872,262$8,341,703$321,422($14,075)$2,926,584
Del Lago$10,708,245$8,310,474$2,110,625$197,088$90,059$2,732,919
Tioga Downs$7,224,959$6,689,180$608,368$38,864($111,454)$2,060,332

Casino industry looking for brighter future

Hopefully, this will stand as the last (or, at least, second-to-last) January the New York casino industry will have to endure with only four upstate casinos.

For over a year, state officials have cautiously trudged along the downstate licensing process. Once those New York City-area casinos open to the public, there is little doubt that the state will see a business boom.

But that process has not moved as rapidly as many initially hoped. And if the Executive Budget from Gov. Kathy Hochul is any indication, it may not be until mid-2025 that regulators officially issue those three licenses.

The state could enjoy a quicker solution if lawmakers elect to legalize online casinos in New York, however. Sen. Joe Addabbo does have a bill proposal in the Senate to do just that.

However, passage requires the bill to overcome a few hurdles, most significantly the opposition of the New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council.

All of that is to say that the days of record-low winter revenue appear to be numbered as a light remains at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a matter of how quickly the state can reach that oasis.

Photo by Julie Jacobson / 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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