Pennsylvania Poker Rake Can’t Stack Up to Table Game Revenue
By Bob Garcia
Poker is more popular than ever in Pennsylvania, but there is just one problem: it doesn’t pull its own weight. While the game is great at attracting competent players, poker rake can’t stack up to the revenue earned by house-banked games and other table games.
Even in massive casinos like Sands Bethlehem and Parx, casino operators must make very calculated decisions about how to use every square inch of real estate on the gaming floor. Underperforming slot machines are regularly swapped out for new, but what about underperforming table games?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released data comparing revenues from table games, banked games, and poker in October. It shows massive gap between poker rake and income from other table games. The revenue figures raise concerns that Pennsylvania could raise poker rake sometime after online poker goes live.
Each of the state’s 230 poker tables brought in an average of $690 per day in October, while each of its banked tables earned $2,308. These numbers are essential to lawmakers as well as casinos. The state collects just $97 per day from each poker table winning $690, but it receives $323 from each banked table earning $2,308.
Poker’s reduced profit margin is all the more troubling with online poker on the horizon. Soon, Pennsylvania players will be able to play a game of poker anytime they like, without ever leaving their homes. Brick-and-mortar poker rooms are expected to run crossover promotions with online sites, but the impact of online poker on live poker in the state is not yet known.