Pennsylvania Has Second Consecutive Monthly Gaming Revenue Record, Tops $404M

Posted on: May 18, 2021, 11:47h. 

Last updated on: May 18, 2021, 12:02h.

The Pennsylvania gaming industry is alive and well, as gross gaming revenue (GGR) exceeding $400 million for the second consecutive month. 

Pennsylvania casino gaming revenue
Live! Casino Pittsburgh, a satellite gaming venue in Pennsylvania, opened its doors last fall. The ongoing expansion of casinos and gambling in the state is resulting in record revenue. (Image: Tribune-Review)

March GGR totaled $403.1 million. It was, at the time, the state’s highest gaming revenue number ever. The record didn’t last long, however, as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board revealed today that April revenue came in at $404.1 million.

The haul is the result of gaming revenue from the state’s 15 land-based casinos, online slots and table games, including poker, sports betting both mobile and retail, video gaming terminals inside truck stops, and fantasy sports. 

Brick-and-mortar slots led the way, the terminals winning more than $201.3 million from gamblers. Casino tables won $77.8 million. 

Online, interactive slots delivered operators $62.6 million, and iTables $27.6 million. Sportsbooks — both online and in- person — kept $26.3 million of the bets wagered. VGTs won $3.8 million, online poker rake was $2.3 million, and fantasy contests generated revenue of $2 million. 

Land-Based Declines

In April 2019, Pennsylvania’s gaming industry was fully reliant on brick-and-mortar gambling. Online casinos only began to go live in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2019. April of 2019 is a better comparable due to COVID-19 closing all land-based casinos during in that month in 2020,

Despite iGaming and mobile sports betting continuing to see revenues surge, last month marked a strong return to pre-pandemic brick-and-mortar. In fact, overall, the casinos fared even better than they did before the coronavirus ravaged the world.

Casino slot machines and table games in April 2019 won $277.8 million. Last month, they won $279.1 million.

The reinvigorated land-based gaming market, spurred by easing of COVID-19 mitigation measures, coupled with the continued strong showing of play in the online sector, is good news for Pennsylvanians who will benefit from the tax revenues,” Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Communications Director Doug Harbach said. 

However, there is slightly more to the story. In April of 2019, Pennsylvania was home to 12 casinos. Today, there are 15. 

Some casinos that were operating two years ago are winning fewer dollars today from their land-based operations. A few examples:

Casino — April 2021 — April 2019

  • Wind Creek — $36.6M — $47M
  • Rivers Pittsburgh — $30.1M — $31.3M
  • Hollywood Penn National — $19.6M — $20.7M
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono — $18.3M — $19.3M

Skill Concerns

Pennsylvania is reopening. Beginning Memorial Day, May 31, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is lifting all COVID-related restrictions.

That means bars and restaurants can return to operating at full capacity. Many of those establishments are likely to turn back on their controversial skill-based gaming machines that the licensed casinos in the state desperately want eradicated. 

In February, the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee heard testimony from representatives of the licensed casinos. Unlike the 15 commercial gaming venues, skill gaming devices, which closely mimic a slot machine, pay no licensing fees, and the terminals are not taxed, nor regulated. 

Adrian King, an attorney representing the state casinos, said further distributed gaming is bad “almost as much as COVID.”