The crowds are coming to the track, but with new competition in the form of nearby Rivers Casino Schenectady, where they gamble is no longer a foregone conclusion.
Saratoga Casino revenues are down year-over-year, while Rivers is aggressively courting Saratoga racing fans.
Rivers Casino tough to miss at the track
The new Rivers Casino is a presence at the track every day. Per The Daily Gazette, the casino has a booth with phone charging stations on site. The casino is also shuttling guests to and from the track and hotel.
The drive between Rivers and Saratoga takes about half an hour. While Saratoga Casino is just across the street from the track, the new resort-style Rivers Casino features several amenities beyond just gambling.
Additionally, the property has a newly-opened boutique casino, The Landing Hotel. It also helps that Rivers has novelty on its side. Saratoga offers slots and electronic table games. Rivers, on the other hand, can offer the real deal on table games. Moreover, there is a popular poker room.
Saratoga Casino did try to compete though. It expanded its hotel as well as added a Morton’s Steakhouse to the dining options. The company originally considered applying for one of the four upstate New York casino licenses, but opted to renovate and expand instead.
In other words, Saratoga patrons have a shiny new toy to play with this year, even if the familiar is spruced up.
Saratoga revenue down substantially so far
The Daily Gazette looked at the numbers and noted that Saratoga Casino revenues took a nose dive this season.
Throughout the first four weeks of racing season, Saratoga Casino revenue is down 21.5 percent overall. So far, the casino has generated $10.6 million in revenue, compared to $13.5 million last year.
In previous years, Saratoga Casino generated over $3 million in weekly revenue on average. This year, there has only been one week where the property topped $3 million, which it only just managed to do.
Meanwhile, Rivers Casino is popping. The property had not been living up to revenue expectations so far. If Rivers can capitalize on this momentum though, it could certainly close the gap between expectations and reality.
Over the course of the first month of Saratoga, Rivers took in $11.9 million. Most importantly, it had an absolutely massive third week of the month, taking in over $3.8 million. That is the most the casino has ever earned in a single week of operation so far.
By comparison, in May Rivers revenue dipped below $11 million. The property hit peak revenue when it first launched in March, taking in over $13 million in that first month.