New Report Shows Just How Off 2017 Casino Revenue Projections Will Be

Written By Jessica Welman on September 28, 2017
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[toc]People within the New York casino industry have been talking for months about how disappointing revenue at the new casinos is. These conversations tend towards the general though.

Thanks to a new report from the Albany Times-Union, it is now clear exactly how every facet of the three upstate casinos are performing. The report looks at each casino’s projected revenue compared to how much each property generated so far in 2017. Additionally, it looks at how slots, table games, and the poker rooms are performing at each site.

Tioga Downs only halfway to $103 million projection

Tioga Downs is the smallest of the three new upstate casinos. It did have one competitive advantage though, in that it was first to market. The casino opened in Deeember of 2016. Technically, the casino existed before that as a race track and video slots parlor.

Now it is a 1,000-slot casino with table games and a poker room. The state expected roughly $103 million in revenue this year. Through August, the property has roughly half that with $52 million in revenue.

Tioga Downs has an average win of $197 per slot each day. Table games do not bode as well. There are 32 different tables at Tioga which collectively take in around $200,000 each month.

As for the 16-table poker room? It barely has a pulse. It has not generated more than $20,000 a week in rake since May.

Nonetheless, of the three, Tioga Downs is actually the property closest to on track for the year, which is truly saying something about the performance of both Rivers Casino Schenectady and del Lago Casino.

Rivers Casino poker is booming, but not much else is

Perhaps the real problem at the heart of Rivers Casino’s revenue is that expectations were too high. After all, of the three properties, it is the one with the best average win per slot machine at $222.

In addition to the 1,100 slots on site, Rivers also boasts a very successful poker room. As noted, Tioga Downs’ poker scene is basically non-existent. Meanwhile, Rivers management put time and effort into developing a poker scene by hosting tournament series and televised poker program Poker Night in America.

The result is a room that generates over $100,000 in rake each week. During peak times, like its Memorial Day tournament, the number jumped to over $180,000.

Another important spike came during the weekend the casino’s partner Landing Hotel launched and table games had a week’s take of over $2 million. Comparatively, the property’s table games return fluctuate between $600,000 and $1 million.

That is the best performance of all three casinos. This despite the fact Rivers has 67 table games compared to the 99 at del Lago.

Nonetheless, the property’s $82 million in revenue generated since its February opening is a far cry from the $222 million expected in 2017. That number came directly from Rivers when submitting for its casino license. Needless to say, it is unlikely the property finishes above $200 million, let alone up to projections.

del Lago might be faring worst of all

Rivers Casino is not living up to projections, but at least it is performing better than the competitors in most key categories. The same cannot be said for the biggest casino of the three, del Lago.

With 99 table games and 2,000 slot machines, the property still only has $88 million in revenue on the year. In part because of just how many machines there are, the slot win is a mere $155/day. Meanwhile, table games revenue struggles to exceed $1 million per week. At times, the return from those casino games is just $200,000 or $300,000 for a seven-day period.

At least the 14-table poker room fares better than Tioga Downs with around $50,000 a week in rake, but that is not going to be nearly enough to meet projections.

So far, del Lago has generated just one-third of the projected $263 million in revenue this year. With slots, table games, and poker all on a downward decline, this is the casino arguably in the most financial trouble.

Of course, lawmakers in the state have insisted there is nothing to worry about, but unless expectations are greatly revised, it appears these casinos will continue to disappoint for quite a while, especially with another casino, Resorts World Catskills, scheduled to enter the crowded marketplace.

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Jessica Welman

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 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.

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