The thousands of slots players visiting the new gambling hall of The Meadows Racetrack & Casino have made it the No. 1 revenue generator among the state's seven casinos since it opened April 15.
The 3,714 slot machines in North Strabane produced $7.5 million in revenue in their first full week of operation, from April 20-26, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures released yesterday.
It did even better in the five-day partial week of its opening, with customers leaving $8.1 million in the machines April 15-19. That figure was inflated, however, by the high number of patrons eager to pay a visit in the expanded casino's first few days.
General Manager Mike Graninger said weekly revenue of $7.5 million, or anything above $7 million, is a realistic goal that would indicate success on an ongoing basis.
The Meadows had been averaging about $5 million in weekly revenue, which is shared with the state and local governments, during nearly two years of operation in the temporary casino with about half the number of slot machines.
The Meadows collected nearly $300,000 more in machine revenue last week than Philadelphia Park, the racetrack-casino that has typically been the busiest casino in the state. The Meadows now has about 800 more slot machines than Philadelphia Park and is the only Pennsylvania casino with more than 3,000 devices.
"It wasn't a surprise for us to see revenue numbers higher than in the past," gaming board spokesman Richard McGarvey said of the new figures. "Certainly The Meadows' past performance has really demonstrated their strong marketing, and with their new facility opening and the live racing coming on line there at the same time, it certainly enhanced that."
Mr. Graninger said officials at The Meadows can't assume they will maintain their present revenue pace because new competition will come in August from the opening of the Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore. Also, he noted, West Virginia's racetrack-casinos have received approval in that state to begin offering the same promotional free play for members of their slots clubs as The Meadows has used effectively.
The Meadows may see its busiest day yet Saturday, meanwhile, with a large crowd expected for wagering and festivities to accompany the Kentucky Derby.
Gary Rotstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255.