Pennsylvania Gaming Revenue Tops $3.3B in Latest Fiscal Year, More Expansion Coming to Keystone State

Posted on: July 20, 2019, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2019, 10:39h.

Pennsylvania gaming revenue topped $3.3 billion during the state’s 2018-19 fiscal year, which is a new record and a 1.8 percent premium on the previous high.

Pennsylvania gaming revenue GGR casino
Pennsylvania gaming revenue reached a new high over the last 12 months, and the inclusion of sports betting should help further grow the industry. (Image: Philly Ringer/Twitter)

Data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) reveals that gross gaming revenue (GGR) from land-based casinos, sports betting, and online fantasy sports contests totaled $3,309,766,175. That is a more than $59 million bonus on top of the prior all-time record set in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Slot machine revenue accounted for the vast majority of the winnings, with the terminals delivering casinos more than $2.37 billion in revenue. Table games won $885.5 million, sports betting $21.7 million, and fantasy games $23.5 million.

Pennsylvania’s gaming industry is the second richest in the nation behind only Nevada. Las Vegas and the rest of the Silver State reported GGR of $11.9 billion in 2018.

However, due to Pennsylvania’s high gaming tax, the Keystone State is No. 1 in tax revenue generated from casino gambling. The PGCB says $1.39 billion in taxes were collected from gaming initiatives in 2018-19.

More Where That Came From

Pennsylvania is hoping to become an even richer gaming state. Its 2017 Expanded Gaming Act set the regulatory framework for sports betting should a repeal to the federal ban come – which it did in May 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was unconstitutional.

The gaming package additionally legalized daily fantasy sports, online gambling (which went live this week), airport gaming lounges, video gaming machines inside certain qualified truck stops, and as many as 10 land-based satellite casinos.

Five of the so-called mini-casinos have already been auctioned off. The PGCB has another auction planned for September 4, with only the current casino licensees permitted to bid.

Each satellite is initially permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games, the latter, however, comes with a $2.5 million add-on fee.

Penn National Gaming won two of the satellite auctions and picked York and Berks counties for the venues. Cordish Companies’ Stadium Casino LLC subsidiary is building a mini-casino in Westmoreland County. Meanwhile, Mount Airy Casino won the satellite auction for Beaver County, and Parx Casino won the auction for a casino in Cumberland County.

The satellite auctions delivered the state nearly $127 million in upfront licensing fees. Slot machine win will be taxed at an effective rate of 54 percent, and tables at 16 percent.

Market Saturation

The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed off on the gaming legislation in an effort to help bridge a budget funding gap without raising taxes.

But the Democratic governor expressed concerns that he didn’t want to simply poach “from one bucket called gambling to another.”

While sports betting and fantasy sports are new gaming revenues, the satellites could slow GGR at the state’s 12 current brick-and-mortar casinos. Along with the mini-casinos, a $700 million casino resort is being built in Philadelphia next to the city’s sports stadiums.

Can Pennsylvania support the new gaming options? The year ahead will answer that question.