A Slot in a Box – Delivery Day


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sugarhouse slot machines arrive 072010_20100720082742_JPG

Actually yesterday I left out a couple of facts about Pennsylvania that will add to Atlantic City’s competitive problems, or to use yesterday’s metaphor, turn up the heat even more.  Currently, there are nine operating casinos in Pennsylvania, but there are also three more expected – eventually.  Two of those casinos to come are going to be in Philadelphia, one has all of the approvals and is under construction, after fighting seemingly endless legal and political battles – it is called SugarHouse – it took deliver on its first slot machines today, the property is expected to finished soon and to open in September.  The other two are much further away; the other Philadelphia casino was originally to be built by a partnership that included Foxwoods casino from Connecticut, it has a license, but no money and not many prospects and has not started construction;  Harrah’s is rumored to be negotiating to takeover the position of Foxwoods, but it is still a year or two from any possible opening.  Meantime the entity, or non-entity depending on your point of view, is accruing a daily fine imposed by Pennsylvania regulators for failing to meet its obligations and deadlines.  The third license has yet to be awarded, but a bidding process is underway.

All of the delays and missed steps have been good news for the Atlantic City casinos, delaying the final blows or at least spreading them out over time – and that does give Atlantic City some to react.  The delays are even better news for the other casinos in Pennsylvania. So far every new casino has taken at least some of its revenue from existing ones; certainly a new casino in the Philadelphia area will impact the three already operating in the vicinity – those are the casinos the just began table games operations on Sunday.  Of course there is still one more shoe to fall that will have a negative impact on all of the casinos in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states – slot machines in bars and social clubs.  The proposal by the governor would put another 15,000 to 20,000 slot machines around the state; the governor has made much progress getting his idea put into legislation and he is at the end of his tenure, so maybe it won’t happen.  And to touch again on what I said a few days ago, there is still the online lottery like the one just started in British Columbia that I think many states will at least be discussing unless the economy gets better. It is a complicated an ever-changing picture.

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