HOT Stories more

New agreement will allow casinos to own slots

Article

Penn. cements status as second-largest gambling market

April 09, 2012 10:16 AM by Staff & Wire Reports

Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos pulled in more than $233.1 million in gross slot machine revenue last month, setting an all-time monthly high since the state’s first casino opened in November 2006 and cementing the state’s status as the nation’s second-largest gambling market.

The slots totals released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board include revenue from two test nights and one day of operations at the state’s 11th casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened Saturday. Overall, the figures broke the previous monthly record of $218.3 million set in July, and they represent an 8.5 percent increase over March 2011.

"Virtually every jurisdiction in the country would kill for that kind of growth, especially in a sluggish economy," said Joe Weinert, senior vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey casino consulting firm, who called the state the "envy of the casino industry."

When slots and table game revenues are combined, Pennsylvania has surpassed New Jersey and grown into the second-largest casino market in the country behind Las Vegas. The two traded places in July, Weinert said, and, by January, Pennsylvania had grown into a $3.66 billion market, compared to a $3.3 billion market for New Jersey.

For the first two months of 2012, Pennsylvania casinos tallied $515.7 million in gross revenue when slots and tables are combined, according to gaming board figures. During the same period, New Jersey reported comparable gross revenue of $479.6 million.

Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania gaming board, said the March figures simply show that the state’s market is growing, with each casino showing improvement over the year before.

"It still shows that the Pennsylvania market is still expanding," McGarvey said. "It just shows that the casinos are still drawing more patrons in."

The numbers also show evidence of the increasing competition. Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack, which is just outside Philadelphia, was up less than a percent over the year before, as it faces competition from Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia, Parx Casino in Bensalem, casinos in neighboring states and now the new casino in Valley Forge.

Valley Forge, a smaller resort casino expected to attract a more high-end clientele, brought in more than $500,000 in the three days recorded. Sugarhouse posted a 25 percent increase over last March, while Parx saw an 8.7 percent increase.

In July 2004, the state Legislature approved legislation legalizing up to 14 slot-machine casinos in Pennsylvania. The state’s first casino, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, opened for business two years later. The state taxes casino revenue and uses it to support the state budget, public schools, civic development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and the horse racing industry.

The law also calls for a second casino in Philadelphia, but that remains in limbo. A resort outside Pittsburgh was awarded the second resort license, but that decision is being challenged in the state Supreme Court. The final license is tied to a yet-to-be-built racetrack.

top stories

Bob Christ’s breakdown of Pro Football Week 8 | Teams such as the Buccaneers that lose by 30-plus points the week before a bye, have come back strong their next game, going 8-0-1 ATS the past six seasons.

NCAA Football Betting Primer | The story of two teams heading in opposite directions as the Buckeyes have won four straight contests by the staggering average of 38.7 points per game, while the Nittany Lions have dropped their last two outings.

Trump Entertainment Resorts is dropping its threat to close Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal casino on Nov. 13. The company said it still cannot guarantee the Taj Mahal won’t close by the end of the year, but said it will remain open throughout November.

Bob Christ’s Thursday NFL Football Breakdown | When Denver plays host to San Diego on Thursday night in Week 8, Denver QB Peyton Manning will be going against one of the few teams that packs kryptonite when it faces the record-setting quarterback.

Swish's Free Smart Play of the Day | Swish Analytics prides itself on a data-driven system, and unlike most handicappers, we try to give a detailed statistical breakdown of why and how picks are formulated. 

GamingToday subscription

GamingToday Race and Sports Futures

           Westgate Superbook  Stratosphere Sports Book  

                Wynn Sports Book  CG Technology