Pennsylvania Gaming Industry Tops $400M in Single Month for First Time

Posted on: April 16, 2021, 01:46h. 

Last updated on: June 23, 2021, 01:10h.

The ever-expanding Pennsylvania gaming industry has topped $400 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in a single month for the first time. The first slot machines went live in Pennsylvania back in 2006. 

Pennsylvania casino gaming industry GGR
The new Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia gaming floor is pictured. Despite an ongoing pandemic, Pennsylvania casinos and the state’s gaming industry pulled in record revenue last month. (Image: Vineland Daily Journal)

Pennsylvania’s gaming operators are flourishing despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) from casinos, online gambling, sports betting, video gaming terminals (VGTs), and fantasy sports totaled $403.1 million in March. 

That is a 161 percent year-over-year surge, as land-based gaming was shut down during March 2020 due to COVID-19. In order to provide a fairer comparison of March 2021 revenue, March 2019 GGR totaled $316.2 million — 27 percent less than last month. 

March 2021 easily bested the state gaming industry’s previous all-time record revenue mark of $320.2 million, set last October. 

Gaming Diversifying

Pennsylvania’s 14 land-based casinos are all back open, and patrons are keeping their gaming floors busy. Brick-and-mortar slot machines won more than $199.2 million of gamblers’ money last month, while table games generated GGR of $71.3 million. 

Those figures are robust considering ongoing capacity limits and numerous coronavirus restrictions in place. But the totals are lower compared with March of 2019 when retail slots won $226.6 million, and tables $82.5 million.

The surge in the overall GGR is the result of Pennsylvania continuing to expand its gaming industry. In March 2019, Pennsylvania did not have online gambling, nor VGTs in truck stops, and there were three fewer land-based casinos. 

Online casinos last month won over $97.6 million on their interactive slots and tables, as well as poker rake. VGTs generated gaming revenue of $3.6 million. Sportsbooks kept $29.3 million of the bets wagered. 

As for land-based operations, Parx Casino near Philadelphia led the way in slot and table win. The casino reported March 2021 GGR of approximately $53.3 million. Wind Creek Bethlehem was next at $34.1 million. 

Live! Casino Philadelphia is off to a nice start. The $700 million integrated resort located next to the city’s pro sports stadiums reported GGR of roughly $20 million in its first full month in operation.

Expansion Continues

Pennsylvania’s gaming industry isn’t fully complete. Four additional satellite casinos are in the works, with two coming from Penn National Gaming.

Hollywood Morgantown and Hollywood York are both on track to open later this year. Parx is developing a satellite casino in Shippensburg, and the Bally’s Corporation plans a gaming venue in State College. 

The satellite casinos were authorized under the state’s gaming expansion act passed in 2017 and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D). The first to open was Live! Pittsburgh, located outside the city in Westmoreland. 

Each satellite casino is permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games. 

VGTs also continue to expand across the state. Truck stops that meet certain criteria, such as selling at least 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel each month and having at least 20 dedicated commercial parking spaces, are eligible to house up to five VGTs.