Slot Machines Vs. VGTs: Will it Be a Problem for PA?

by Kyle Miller

PennsylvaniaAs VGTs are set to be discussed in Pennsylvania, will they be a problem for the slot machine industry if allowed?

In Pennsylvania, we know all too well the issue behind the current gaming package that has yet to be passed in the state. For months now, lawmakers of the state have been trying to find a way to expand the gaming industry and bring much-needed revenues to the area. A main point of contention has been video gaming terminals. Some want to see the games allowed while others do not and feel that they would hinder the slot industry that is already failing in the state. Take a look below to see how slot gaming has fared over the past ten months.

Slot Machine Revenue Drop

For the last ten months, slot machines have continued to be on the decline. Table games continue to be the most popular games in the state and slots are not earning like they were. For the month of July, total gaming revenues were down .5% with slots dropping just over 2%. Slots brought in just over $209,000,000 for the moth. Now this is a lot of money but not as much as the state is used to.

Since October of last year, the slot machine games of the state have been on the decline. Players are not hitting the slots like they used to and casinos are taking a hit. Now, if we consider that slots are already seeing a drop in revenues, would video gaming terminals cause further harm?

The Possible Impact

Consider this. If video gaming terminals were allowed in the state, bars and restaurants would offer slot style gaming. Players who enjoy slot machines could just walk down the street or visit their favorite bar or restaurant close to home to gamble instead of visiting one of the twelve casinos located across the state. The VGTs would be more convenient and players might opt to play them.

On the other side of the argument, you could say that since slot machines are already on the decline, there might not be a platform for VGT gaming. Players might not care too much for slots anymore and instead want to play games like poker or blackjack. In many other states, there has been a shift to skill games, where players take part in enjoying gaming options based on skill rather than traditional casino games like slots.

Out of the twelve casinos in the state, four saw revenue increases overall for July while eight were in a decline. Five of these venues had declines of 5% or more. This is a big shift and accounts for lost funds that would otherwise be used by the state. The Sands Bethlehem saw just over 4.6% drop in slot revenue while the SugarHouse Casino was down even more at 5.61% in decline.

These amounts show that slot gaming is on the decline and with ten months in a row on the downside, slots are not showing any signs of improvement. The casinos will need to come up with some kind of plan or hope that online gambling is going to be approved soon in order to provide additional revenue sources.

The lawmakers of the state will be back in session by September and will hopefully get back to work on such subjects as VGTs and online gambling. The hope of proponents is that lawmakers will finally be able to make a decision and the state will see their expansion in a variety of areas, including into online game play.