Two popular land-based casinos – both based in upstate New York – have decided to reduce the number of slot machines they’re offering, after reaching an agreement with the state. Just a few days ago, the New York Gaming Commission agreed the Resorts World Catskills and Tioga Downs plan to remove a certain number of slot machines from their venues.
Resorts World Catskills have decided to remove 550 slot machines from their premises, while Tioga Downs will remove 50 slot machines from their premises.
According to recent reports, both of the casinos are choosing to remove some of their slot machines due to revenue issues. The removal of these machines will – supposedly – allow both venues to focus on other amenities. This could include sports betting and poker facilities, although no firm decisions have been made as to what the spaces will hold.
Unfortunately, despite high expectations for land-based casinos in the state, both venues have struggled to meet their projected revenues during their first year of operations. By receiving authorization to remove these slot machines, the venues will be able to “maximize their offering to their patrons without having a negative effect on the overall experience.”
Both venues have made it very clear that the reduction in slot machines will not affect the number of workers employed at the venues, and it will also not have a negative impact on the state’s revenue from the facilities.
It may come as a surprise to some readers to learn that in the USA, regulators often require licensees to operate a certain number of machines in their venues. Most people think this is to ensure there aren’t too many – but it works the other way too, and it requires that operators have a minimum number of machines as well.
Resorts World opened in February last year, and as part of its opening requirements, it needed to have 2,150 slot machines on its gaming floor. As part of the new agreement the operator have reached, there will now be a total of 1,600 slot machines on its floor. This represents a reduction of around 26%.
The Tioga Downs casino is a much smaller venue, and when it opened it had a total of 942 slot machines. After the new agreement, the casino will contain a total of 892 machines, which is a 5.3% reduction.
When speaking about the changes, Brad Malone – the official spokesperson for the New York Gaming Commission said: “It is common industry practice to adjust the number of slot and table assets and configurations after opening, based on market conditions.”
Alongside these changes, the Resorts World Casino’s owner – Empire Resorts – will also be shutting down their video slot terminals at the Monticello Casino and Raceway some time in April. This shutdown was first announced back in January 2019, and they’re – surprisingly – making the raceway act as… well, just that; a raceway. The rationale behind this was to help remove any further competition from Resorts World – which, when you think about it, does make sense.
As part of the agreement, Tioga Downs has been allowed to change the types of table games it offers to players. However, they have decided to only drop two games, meaning they’ll be going from having 36 gaming tables, to 34 – losing only two.
While we mentioned earlier in this article that neither venue has announced any firm plans for what they’re going to do with their newly-freed up space, both have hinted that they’ll be offering sports betting facilities. This seems to be a common trend in US-based land-based casinos, and we’re seeing more and more operators choosing to incorporate sportsbooks within their casinos; it’s clear that this is something players want, clearly!