Total Penn. gambling revenue flat last fiscal year

Jul 17, 2013 9:51 AM

Total gambling revenue at the state’s 11 casinos was flat for the fiscal year that just ended, but gross revenue from table games grew 7.4 percent on the strength of continued strong growth at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and the first full year of play at Valley Forge Casino Resort, according to annual figures released by state regulators Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said casinos generated $3.14 billion in combined revenue from slot machines and table games during the fiscal year that ended June 30, up less than a tenth of a percent from the year before.

The minimal gain shows how the booming market has slowed. It follows five years of strong growth in total gambling revenue that increased as more facilities came on line in the years after slot machine casino gambling was approved in 2004, followed by the introduction of table games in 2010.

Gross revenue from table games increased to $713.1 million last year, up from $663.9 million the year before, according to the gaming board figures. Valley Forge, which opened in March 2012, was up from $7.1 million to $31.6 million for the period, its first full year of operation. The Sands casino in Bethlehem reported a 29 percent increase in gross table games revenue, from $127.8 million to $165.4 million, as it continued its booming growth.

Other facilities reported lesser table games growth. Six saw gross table games revenue decline; Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie, which is facing competition from a new casino across the state line in Cleveland, saw the biggest decrease - down 30 percent.

Earlier this month, the gaming board reported the state’s first-ever annual decline in gross slots revenue. Those figures showed the state’s 11 casinos generated $2.43 billion in gross slots revenue during the fiscal year, down nearly 2 percent from the $2.48 billion generated the year before.

The state’s casinos have been facing stiff competition from growing casino industries in Maryland, New York, Ohio and Delaware. Just as Pennsylvania siphoned business from Atlantic City when its gambling venues came on line, it’s now feeling the effects of gamblers having new options elsewhere in the region.

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