Pennsylvania casinos have been taking a closer stock of their gaming machines and how patrons utilize their floor spaces, especially off the back of the post-pandemic industry changes.
Hollywood Casino Morgantown was one of the first properties in the state to recognize changing demand signals around slot machines, filing a request in May with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to reduce their slot count.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin has submitted a similar petition to the PGCB seeking approval for a proposed redesign to its gaming floor layout with changes, including slot count reduction.
The PGCB has approved the requests from the two PA casinos, allowing them to reduce their slot machine portfolios. Other smaller regional casinos, including Mohegan Pennsylvania, have petitions for slot cuts pending PGCB approval.
Hollywood Casino Morgantown to Cut 30 Slots for ADA Compliance
Hollywood Casino, located off PA Turnpike in Morgantown, has 750 slot machines across its 50,000-square-foot gaming space. The Penn National Gaming-owned property had tabled slot performance data with PGCB through General Manager Marc Guastella and legal lead Michael Fabius.
Their request focused on 30 slot machines on the exterior gaming porch. With occupancy rates averaging 33% of indoor units, these porch slot machines generated 75% less revenue.
Relocating all porch units was infeasible due to ADA compliance issues with expanding the indoor floor space. The approved request will see Hollywood Casino Morgantown reduce its slot machine portfolio from 147 to 117 to maintain compliance.
Approval was granted to remove the underperforming machines and concentrate play on the higher-yielding interior banks. Historical analysis supports the move by the casino management from an operational efficiency and revenue standpoint.
When 17 slot machines were previously relocated indoors from the exterior porch area in early 2022, total slot revenue spiked. A subsequent removal of 14 additional units from the exterior play area late that year produced another revenue increase.
The mid-tier regional casino, which opened in December 2021 west of King of Prussia, is also home to 30 table games, a retail sportsbook, a bar, and three restaurants. Barstool Sports operated the sportsbook until Penn Entertainment sold it back to founder Dave Portnoy for $1 in early August.
An incisive look at PA’s gaming revenue for July shows that Hollywood Morgantown’s slot machines generated $4,715,441, a nearly 14% increase from the same month last year. They accounted for almost two-thirds of monthly revenue.
Slot revenue and contribution to the casino’s bottom line are projected to climb further with the 30-machine reduction planned for September.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin to Slash 19 Slots through a Swap with CDI
In its initial request, Lady Luck informed PGCB of its plans to slash 19 slot machines from its casino floor. The Farmington-based Nemacolin’s casino received approval to lower its total count through a slot machine swap rather than outright removals.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin had leased 100 additional units on a temporary basis during an ownership transition from CDI to Woodlands Fayette LLC. With the ownership transfer finalized, the property sought to return these leased slot machines and install a refreshed portfolio of 81 units optimized for the floor.
As the general manager of Nemacolin property, John Gibboni, informed PGCB, the inventory will be made up of 6 pre-owned units and 22 slot machines under lease, while the rest will feature entirely new titles. This will introduce variety, with high-quality slot games taking center stage.
The GM argued that the refresh would drive greater betting through the introduction of newer, more enticing game themes not previously emphasized under prior management. The casino’s legal counsel, Michael Fabius of Ballard Spahr, says it will result in a more engaged player base, supporting slot revenue growth.
Lady Luck Nemacolin currently houses 600 slot machines and 27 table games. Reviewing PA’s latest gaming revenue, the $60 million property’s slot machines generated $1.87 million in July, a 4.88% drop from the same month last year.
Mohegan Pennsylvania to Shed 120 Slot Machines
Hollywood Morgantown and Lady Luck Nemacolin are by no means the only casinos rethinking their slot portfolios. They are the 7th and 8th PA casinos to receive PGCB approval for slot count reduction post-pandemic.
Mohegan Pennsylvania has also submitted a similar request to the PGCB. The submission, likely to be approved by October, will see the Wilkes-Barre casino shed 120 units and reduce its slot count to 1550.
In a petition filed with PGCB in May, the property owned by Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribe of Indians said the slot reduction will improve ease of access around the floor, as well as enhance the safety, health, and comfort of guests.
The 67,000-square-foot casino floor offers 60 table games, 1700 slot machines, a Unibet sportsbook, and a poker room. The property also hosts a ⅝-mile oval racetrack, a 20,000-square-foot convention facility, and a 237-room hotel with a spa and a dozen restaurants.
Casinos in More States are Right Sizing their Slot Portfolios
Pennsylvania casinos are not alone in leveraging the Goldilocks Principle to cut costs and boost slot profits. Nevada casinos. Nationwide slot machine counts have declined since 2019 as established casinos optimize footprints post-Covid.
Casinos in Nevada slashed their slot count from 140,554 in 2019 to around 122,000 post-pandemic, according to Forbes Magazine. According to industry analysts, Pennsylvania saw a modest reduction at 475 machines year-over-year.
States with deep year-over-year slot cuts were Mississippi at 859 fewer, New Jersey down 729, and Missouri declining by 719 machines.
PA properties like Hollywood Morgantown, Lady Luck Nemacolin, and Mohegan Pennsylvania plan to slash slot counts to enhance the player experience through more open floor plans and amenities like expanded sportsbooks.
Hollywood Casino Morgantown’s data-driven approach proved that underperforming units sapped yields, justifying their removal. Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin more qualitatively argued that a refreshed portfolio focused on new titles would re-engage customers.
Other Pennsylvania casino operators like Parx Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh should examine their own floor layouts, game rotations, and slot performance metrics through the lens of strategic portfolio optimization.