A Down October Still Has NY Casinos Within Reach Of Record-Breaking Year

Written By Grant Lucas on November 13, 2023
A customer rolls dice at a craps table at Resorts World Catskills, one of four upstate commercial casinos in New York that have helped the industry potentially set a record for single-year revenue.

Upstate commercial casinos in New York will need a strong finish to 2023 if the industry intends to set a single-year revenue record.

Even if they don’t set the record, and despite month-to-month and year-over-year decreases, NY casinos have had an incredible 2023.

According to data from the New York State Gaming Commission, commercial casinos in New York reported $55.9 million in total gross gaming revenue in October. While it reflects a 7.4% year-over-year downturn, October’s numbers push 2023 totals to $570.5 million, a mere 0.007% off the pace set in 2022.

NY casinos near landmark totals, potentially en route to record year

When looking at month-over-month numbers, there wasn’t much to celebrate for the four upstate casinos in New York.

But that’s what happens when, in September, you put together the highest month in 2023.

The $55.9 million in October represents a 6.2% decrease from the previous month as well as a 7.4% decrease year-over-year.

All facets of NY casino gaming took a hit in October. The biggest victim, however, was NY sports betting, which banked $999,475 in revenue, reflecting downturns of 21.4% and 16.1 percent month-to-month and year-over-year, respectively.

That said, the New York casino industry can celebrate in several areas. Slot gaming in the state crossed $2.5 billion in lifetime revenue, for example. Meanwhile, state tax revenue from NY casinos now stands just $970,967 from reaching $1 billion.

Looking at October 2023 revenue for each NY casino

Back at the top, Rivers Schenectady reported the highest total NY casino revenue at $17.5 million, the only property to see a month-over-month uptick. Rivers also enjoyed its highest sports betting handle ($4.5 million) since November 2022.

On top of that, Rivers became the first New York casino to surpass $25 million in sports betting revenue.

Meanwhile, Resorts World Catskills, which reported its lowest total revenue since February, crossed $1 billion in lifetime revenue. Resorts joins Rivers ($1.07 billion) to enter such territory in the Empire State.

In Waterloo, del Lago also had its lowest monthly total since February. However, not only did the casino report its highest sports betting revenue and handle totals since March and February, respectively, del Lago also crossed $200 million in table games revenue.

Finally, Tioga Downs saw its highest sports betting revenue ($198,128) in a month since August 2022 while accepting its most bets ($1.9 million) since October 2021. However, Tioga also had its lowest poker revenue ($38,051) since first offering the game in September 2021.

CasinoTotal GGRSlotsTable GamesPokerSports BettingTotal Tax
Rivers Schenectady$17,514,396$12,792,332$4,077,355$303,736$340,973$4,309,906
Resorts World Catskills$16,606,261$8,051,343$8,049,147$392,491$113,280$3,270,895
Del Lago$13,010,654$9,903,013$2,571,759$188,788$347,094$3,281,668
Tioga Downs$8,764,452$7,446,304$1,081,970$38,051$198,128$2,886,947

Upstate NY casinos could have extended reign with downstate delay

It was believed that 2023 would be the last year in which upstate New York casinos would have a full year on their own. When the state released a request for applications in January, many believed the three downstate licenses would be awarded by 2024.

However, one analyst projected that the state would not do so until 2025. The analyst cited the already-lengthy process state regulators have taken in just answering questions from prospective bidders.

In addition, though, decision-makers will also have to consider the Seneca Nation of Indians still attempting to renew its gambling compact with the state. Then there’s the news of a former executive with MGM Resorts and Genting Group who finds himself mired in controversy.

According to Sen. Joe Addabbo, none of that should affect the potential legalization of online casinos in NY. Addabbo continues to emphasize that online casino gaming would not cut into the bottom line of brick-and-mortars, a much-feared aspect of digital expansion.

Addabbo hopes for NY online casinos to be included in the 2024 budget, which could open the door for the first platforms to launch by 2025.

All of that is to say, these four existing upstate commercial casinos could have a longer run without downstate or online competition.

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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