Virginia’s three brick-and-mortar commercial casinos had their slowest month since May in October. Greater context shows that it isn’t as bad as all that, however, despite revenue falling below $50 million for the first time in five months.
October still ranks among the top five in state history as far as revenue from poker, slots and table games is concerned. October’s total suggests that the various cities and the state may have reached a reliable tax threshold from gaming, too.
Virginia casinos rake $49.5 million in October
Caesars Virginia in Danville, Hard Rock Bristol, and Rivers Casino in Portsmouth had been on a streak of four consecutive months with at least $50 million in combined revenue. There had been a steady decline since July’s record, however.
Technically, October’s total is a 71.5% improvement from October 2022. However, that was a low bar for October 2023 to clear. In the same month of 2022, Hard Rock Bristol was the only casino operating in the state.
That’s a good demonstration of the shallow state of data on Virginia casino revenue. Even for the Hard Rock, which opened in July 2022, the numbers could be preliminary. The current facility is only temporary as construction on the permanent casino is ongoing.
That is also the case for Caesars in Danville. Furthermore, construction of the Headwaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk has hit delays. What’s more, the status of Virginia’s potential fifth casino remains up in the air after a second failed referendum in Richmond.
All of that is to say that the status quo represents a mere shell of what the final iteration of land-based casino gaming in Virginia could one day be. At the same time, there could be some stability within the status quo.
Gaming revenue taxes establish floor
According to the Virginia Lottery’s October revenue report, taxes from gaming revenue have landed over the $9 million threshold for the past five months. While five months’ worth of data is a small sample in a vacuum, it could represent the norm for such funds in Virginia for the foreseeable future.
The situations in Norfolk and Richmond seem unlikely to change anytime soon. Even if the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and Norfolk leaders resolve their differences in the coming weeks, a potential casino likely won’t open until sometime in 2025.
Developers don’t plan to open permanent casinos in Bristol and Danville until sometime in the spring or summer of 2024. Thus, $40-$50 million in revenue with $9-$10 million in taxes coming from that win seems like it could be the norm for Virginia casinos. At least until it isn’t.