For proof, head to Bensalem, where Parx - formerly called PhiladelphiaPark Racetrack - made $400 million last year. Impressive for a not-spot plopped among strip malls.
Inside the smoke-filled slots box, much of what casino bosses took for granted has changed. Gone are the days of wooing "whales" and dissing grannies in fanny packs. Parx president Dave Jonas says his revenue comes almost exclusively from local low rollers."
We underestimated significantly how many trips our customers were going to make," Jonas said at last month's Pennsylvania Gaming Congress in Valley Forge.
"When I was in Atlantic City, to have 12 to 15 trips out of customers, they were VIPs," Jonas said. At Parx, "it's not uncommon for us to have 150 to 200 trips.
"Moderator Michael Pollock, a well-regarded casino analyst, paused to digest the statistic."You said 150 to 200 times a year," he repeated. "That's three to four times a week, essentially."
"Yes," Jonas confirmed, most of his players fit that profile. In fact, because Parx players tend to live within 20 miles of Street Road, many go even more frequently.
Just remember, DeLeo wants 4 of these across Massachusetts -- in addition to 2 more casinos, which will prey on the same people, plus even more from the wider region by targeting the services that keep competing small businesses afloat -- food, drink, entertainment, shopping and more -- who may not (initially) come strictly for the slots, but at great cost to small businesses and neighbors in the region.