For the 44 weeks since the 1st Anniversary celebration began for Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor, gambling revenues at the Schenectady Casino have been up a mere 10.1% from the dismal take its first year. But, making the anemic results even more worrisome, the total increase has come from Slot machines, up 16.8%, with Table Games and Poker Table GGR both down over the first year. Click here for the Rivers Casino Weekly Revenue Reports.
A Ten Percent increase is surely disappointing, now that the Casino has its long “wait until” list in place: Its own Landing Hotel; the Large River House apartment complex open and nearly full; the Marina attracting boaters, and its Amphitheater bringing thousands to free concerts; the popular Druther’s Brewery restaurant crowded, help from the Convention and Tourism Bureau, a large shopping-mall-style sign for Mohawk Harbor, and more.
A FLAT NOVEMBER. Also, the Rivers Casino numbers for November 2018 compared to November 2017 are not impressive and should be worrisome to our tax revenue bean counters, if they signal the likely results for the rest of the year:
Total GGR – 1% increaseNov 2018 $11,434,584Nov. 2017. $11,326,616SLOTS/ETG- 6.4% increaseNov. 2018 $7,847,001.Nov. 2017. $7,376,744TABLE GAMES – 10.3% decreaseNov.2018 $3,189,766.Nov.2017. $3,551,859
WPU/WPS PERFORMANCE? The Albany Times Union recently told us that Rivers Casino is “outperforming” its upstate commercial casino rivals. Rivers is clearly bringing in more gambling revenue per slot machine than either del Lago Casino at Tyre NY or Resorts World International at Monticello. Resorts World has about 1000 more slot machine than Rivers, and del Lago has 800 more. But, I am not sure how much weight to give to the Wins Per Unit or Wins Per Slot numbers presented by the TU as a measure of “performance” by the casino. Because I am not even close to being an expert in casino slot strategy, tactics or theory, I can only muse here, and be bemused. Naturally, I would appreciate hearing from experts on how to assess the situation. This is what the Times Union was told by Rivers Casino:
A Rivers spokesperson put out the following statement after the Times Union asked the casino to comment on what has helped the facility bring in revenue: “We are very thankful for the support this year from our loyal guests,” read the statement attributed to Justin Moore, Rivers’ assistant general manager. “We continue to focus on providing a great guest experience every day.”
- Wins Per Slot is “The amount of money left in a slot machine at day’s end”. It is derived from looking at the Gross Credits played on a casino’s slot machines and subtracting the amount paid out; that figure is the Slots GGR for the covered period, which yields the Casino’s WPS when divided by the Number of Slot machines on the floor of the Casino.
TU, using NYS Gambling Commission numbers, says that Rivers Casino had a WPS of $236 for October 2018, compared to del Lago’s WPS of $166. [Resorts World’s operations are far from stabilized, so I am only comparing del Lago and Rivers here.]
The Slots/ETG GGR total for each casino is “dollars in” minus dollars paid. Looking at the Slots GGR as a percentage of the Credits Played, it looks like Rivers’ is paying out 1.25¢ to 1.5¢ (1.25% to 1.5%) less than del Lago for each dollar of credit paid in. For example, click on the screen shot compilation to the right, with monthly numbers from April through October 2018 for the two casinos. To wit:
- Rivers Slots GGR is 8.60%, a 1.25% higher retention after payouts than del Lago’s 7.35%
- 1.25% of the $728 million played on the slots during that period at Rivers is $9.1 million
- There were 214 days in the period, or $418K extra left per day in the machines than if Rivers had used del Lago’s higher payout rate
- Divided by 1150 slot machines, there is an extra $36 per day per unit
- If each casino had used the other’s payout rate, their WPU’s would be a lot closer, but I am not certain what that would tell us about their “performance” as opposed to strategies for attracting players to their slot machines.
Nonetheless, I do wonder:
- Wouldn’t their “loyal customers” like to know that Rivers pays out 1.25% less for each dollar played at a Slot Machine than del Lago is paying?
- Is this a version of the Worst Case Scenario we casino opponents raised in 2014: Rivers is missing its gambling revenue projections by a significant amount. It is attracting lots of repeat local slots customers, raising the potential for increased gambling addiction and problem gambling in our community. AND, it is paying its loyal slots customers less per dollar played than its competitors.
By the way, if del Lago were to reduce the number of slot machines it has in use by 800, to increase its “performance” and offer the same number of slots as Rivers , it would save $500 per machine in annual licensing fees, meaning the State would receive $400,000 less toward a fund to help fight problem gambling. By starting with the lower number of slot machines, Rivers has saved itself $500 per machine in licensing fees.