Revenue down at biggest casinos even before pandemic

After peaking in 2018, average casino revenue in B.C. has dropped by 5.2%

Even before the pandemic forced their closure, British Columbia’s largest casinos were facing declining revenues in 2019, according to data collected in BIV’s Biggest Casinos and Bingo Halls in B.C. list (page 20).

B.C. casinos have been following a broader industry trend, with slot machine sales gaining a bigger percentage of total revenue at the expense of table game revenue.

Since 2015, slot machine revenue has grown from 65.4% of average B.C. casino revenue to 72.8% in 2019. This has been due in part to losses in average table game revenue, which sank 17.7% to $22 million in 2019 from $26.7 million in 2015.

Average revenue at the top casinos and bingo halls peaked in 2017 at $87 million. Slot machines made up 68.9% of revenue for casinos in 2017. In 2019, average slot machine revenue fell to $60 million from $61.3 million in 2018, the first decrease in at least five years. This contributed to the largest decline in average casino revenue over the past five years, a 3.7% drop to $82.5 million in 2019 from $85.7 million in 2018.

Casinos slot machines

No. 4 Hard Rock Casino Vancouver was the only casino in the top five to record growth in 2019. Its revenue increased 8.1% to $142.1 million in 2019 from $131.5 million in 2018. That growth was a welcome sign for the casino, which had suffered an 18.3% revenue decline in 2018 from $160.8 million in 2017.

No. 17 Cascades Casino Kamloops posted the highest one-year growth. Its revenue increased 29.7% to $31.4 million in 2019 from $24.2 million in 2018. The growth was fuelled by a 32.4% increase in slot machine revenue.

No. 1 River Rock Casino Resort had the steepest one-year revenue decline: 11.3%, down $36.5 million, to $287.2 million in 2019 from $323.7 million in 2018. •