PA Gambling Revenues Continue To Fall, Could Online Gambling Stop The Skid?

Pennsylvania gaming revenues continued to slide in February. In fact, the industry posted year-on-year declines for the fifth straight month.

According to numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) this week, total gaming revenues from slots and table games dipped close to 3.6 percent in February 2017 compared to the same month last year. It is worth noting 2016 was a leap year, giving the month of February an extra day.

Statewide gross gaming revenues from all Pennsylvania casinos reached $258,571,093, compared to $268,354,231 in February 2016. This represents a difference of $9,783,138.

Gross revenue from slot machines fell 3.95 percent to $192,268,470, compared to $200,166,274 in February 2016.

Gross revenue from table games in Pennsylvania casinos was down 2.8 percent to $66,302,623, compared to $68,187,957 last year.

Parx: PA gaming revenues leader

Parx Casino continued to lead the state’s 12 brick and mortar casino properties in gross gaming revenues with $44,528,440. However, Parx gross revenue was down almost four percent compared to the same month last year. This mirrored the Pennsylvania casino industry as a whole.

The only two casinos in the state to post gross revenue gains were Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (Up 3.4 percent) and Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin (Up 7.4 percent). Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem actually posted $44,049,849 in gross gaming revenues, inching ever closer to market leader Parx.

SugarHouse Casino saw the biggest decline, posting $22,769,853 in gross gaming revenues, down close to 9.2 percent from the $25,072,941 posted in February 2016.

$112 million in gambling tax revenue

The State continued to take a sizable chunk of the revenues. The state collected $10,717,173 in total tax revenue from table games in February. It also collected another $102,145,159 in total tax revenue from slot machines. This represents a grand total of $112,862,332.

The PGCB maintains the state’s 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos, and two smaller resort casinos are still expected to generate approximately $1.4 billion in tax revenues annually. This despite the downward trend.

The biggest portion of that tax revenue goes to helping reduce property taxes for Pennsylvania homeowners.

The Pennsylvania online gambling hope

There is some hope there is a solution to the casino revenue slide. This comes in the form of online gambling legislation.

There are two identical bills in Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate which both seek to legalize online poker, online casinos, and daily fantasy sports. The proposed laws grant licenses to the existing brick and mortar casinos first.

Earlier this month, there was a joint hearing between the Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee, and House Gaming Oversight Committee to discuss online gambling and gaming expansion issues. Currently 10 of 12 Pennsylvania casinos support online gambling legalization.

The state’s two largest casinos, Parx and Sands Bethlehem, are the only opponents. However, that number would change if Sands Bethlehem is sold to MGM Resorts, as expected. MGM is a staunch iGaming supporter.

Industry analyst Robert DellaFave believes Pennsylvania would see an estimated $426 million in tax revenue through 2022 if the state authorized regulated online gambling in 2017.