Mohegan Sun Pocono Adds Sportsbook, Eliminates 400 Slots

Mohegan Sun Pocono Slots - Mohegan Sun Pocono Sports Lounge

Mohegan Sun Pocono began the week with slightly over 2000 slot machines.

Mohegan Sun Pocono presented a reorganization plan to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board which sparked concerns among the board members. While the plan includes a sports betting area, it also eliminated over 400 slot machines.

Anthony Carlucci, the general manager and president of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, gave most of the Mohegan Sun Pocono‘s presentation. Carlucci told board members of plans to build a land-based sportsbook section at a cost of $400,000.

The casino will move the poker room near the new sportsbook, because Carlucci believes it will encourage cross-betting. Once the poker room moves, the number of tables will decrease from 18 to 8. Carlucci also wants to eliminate 9 table games, as well.

Mohegan Sun Pocono’s sportsbook will sit in an old electronics store. The original casino space will be closed down, leading to the loss of about 350 gaming machines. Anthony Carlucci said the old gaming space was at a distance from the rest of the gaming, and therefore had a high cost of maintenance.

High Limits Section

Instead, Mohegan Sun plans to create a high-limits slot machine section consisting of 18 slot machines. It will build a non-smoking section with gaming tables and gaming machines.

Not every change eliminates slot machines. For instance, the removal of 9 gaming tables opens the space for 75 slot machines, which is factored into the overall total number of EGMs.

Mohegan Sun Pocono Sportsbook

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board members voiced concerns that Mohegan Gaming will add a sportsbook, but no racebook. While horse racing and greyhound racing are less popular than they were a generation ago, advances in simulcasting allows racebooks and off-track betting facilities to concentrate betting on the nation’s list of races.

Bettors have over 200 races per day for wagers. That naturally draws in bettors who otherwise might not visit the casino. The PGCB thinks Mohegan Sun Pocono is turning away customers by declining the racebook option.

On the other hand, Mohegan Sun Pocono says it is making the most of its limited space. As for the lost slot machines, Carlucci told board members they are some of the lowest-performing gaming machines on site. He suggested they are among the lower 25% of the gaming types in revenue generation.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board must approve the reorganization plan. From minutes of the meeting, it is clear the PGCB members have concerns about the elimination of so many slot machines.

Mohegan Gaming has a long history and lots of experience in the casino industry. Having access to the casino’s revenue statistics, Anthony Carlucci presumably knows the optimal mixture of gaming machines, gaming tables, poker, and sports betting.

Slot machines across Pennsylvania have experienced a downturn in the last few years. Millennials do not like slots as much as Baby Boomers do, so demographic shifts have changed the equation for many casino operators. Slots remain the primary source of revenue for casinos, but a reduction in their number allows a casino with limited space to offer others forms of betting.

Mohegan Gaming’s Sports Betting

The sportsbook should bring in a new and different set of bettors. Sports gamblers not only include handicappers who know how to exploit the betting lines, but also a massive wave of amateur sports bettors and casual sports fans to the casino.

While sports betting has a low margin, the draw of customers means the casino can sell the bettors on other forms of entertainment and leisure. Sportsbooks bring in more visitors, who buy food and drink, rent hotel rooms, and bet on other gaming types. That’s why moving the poker room near the sportsbook makes more sense.