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Despite Lots Of Promise, NY Casinos Are Not Living Up To Their Potential

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After a strong start, New York casinos are starting to slump a bit this summer. As a result, it appears the new properties upstate will not meet revenue projections for 2017.

The situation is far from catastrophic. Nonetheless, it is problematic that the casinos will likely miss revenue projections by almost $60 million.

New York casinos projected to take in $267 million this year

According to the New York Gambling Commission, the non-tribal New York casinos generated $133.6 million from the start of the year through the end of May. With the year now almost halfway over, that puts year-long estimates at $267 million.

That may sound like a solid number, but it is 18 percent lower than the Commissions original estimates of $325 million.

The casinos got off to a strong start. Initially it appeared they would be close to projections. However, some casinos, like Tioga Downs, experienced their best months in the spring.

The good news is the drop off is not too substantial. Tioga Downs peaked at just over $6 million in March, but generated $5.89 million and $5.99 million in revenue during April and May, respectively.

Meanwhile, del Lago is trending downward, taking in $13.2 million in April, but only $12.7 million in May. Rivers Casino in Schenectady is also slipping. The newest New York casino took in $10.9 million last month compared to $11.2 million in April.

More on Rivers, Tioga Downs, and del Lago

Now that the new New York casinos have had a few months to get their bearings, the pecking order is falling into place.

Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs existed before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the 2013 gambling expansion law. The racino upgraded to a full casino, adding table games, as part of the expansion.  The casino currently offers over 1,000 slot machines and 40 table games.

It is the smallest of the three casinos. With that in mind, even though it had the time advantage, it is generating the smallest revenues of the three new casinos.

Rivers Casino Schenctady

Rivers Casino is the newest of the New York properties, but only opened one week after del Lago did. The property features 1,200 slot machines, 65 table games, and a 15-table poker room. Rivers is already establishing itself as a poker destination, holding a wildly successful tournament last month.

Like Tioga Downs, Rivers hit peak revenue of more than $13 million in March. However, last month was the worst one yet for the property, dropping below $11 million in gross gaming revenue for the first time.

del Lago Casino

The top performer of the trio is del Lago casino. It is substantially larger than the competition, with over 2,000 slot machines and 90 table games. While del Lago has Rivers outgunned in terms of offerings, the revenue differences are minuscule. On average, del Lago is taking in $12-$13 million in revenue each month, coming out only a couple hundred thousand ahead of Rivers each month.

The real question now is what will happen when Resorts World Catskills opens next March. Will it give a boost to the casino economy? Or will it take revenue away from the existing competition?

Jessica Welman

About

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the Managing Editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.