Share This Page

Pennsylvania reports first annual slots revenue decrease

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 8:18 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania's casinos recorded their first annual decline in gross revenue from slot machines during the fiscal year that just ended, the latest sign the state's casino business is leveling off after six years of growth.

The state's 11 casinos generated $2.43 billion in gross slots revenue during the fiscal year that came to a close Sunday, down nearly 2 percent from the $2.48 billion generated the year before, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures released this week. The annual slots decline marked the first such decrease since the state's first casino opened in November 2006.

Before the latest 12-month period, gross slots revenues had increased each year as the state grew into the nation's second-largest gambling market behind Las Vegas, eclipsing Atlantic City for the No. 2 spot. Gross slots revenues began with $454.6 million in fiscal year 2007, built up to $1.4 billion the following year and then hit $2.48 billion in the 2012 period.

But last year, nine of the 10 casinos open for all of both fiscal years reported slots declines as growth slowed. Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem was the only one to post a yearly gain, with gross slots revenue up 1.7 percent to $290.9 million from the year before. Valley Forge Casino Resort outside Philadelphia reported $55.9 million in gross slots revenue over the past year, up from $11.8 million the year before, but it opened in March 2012, so figures for the previous fiscal year were only for three months.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie reported the biggest annual slots decline, down 16 percent to $138.5 million. That casino has been experiencing significant declines since a new casino opened across the state line in Cleveland in May 2012.

Overall, Pennsylvania'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 gaming came on line, it's now feeling the effects of gamblers having new options elsewhere in the region.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in northeastern Pennsylvania was down about 6 percent, followed by Harrah's Casino Resort Philadelphia, which was down a little more than 5 percent.

Tax revenue from slot machines during the last fiscal year was $1.3 billion, down nearly 3 percent from the year before. The state taxes slot machines at a rate of about 55 percent; the state uses casino revenue to support the state budget, schools, development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and horse racing.

While slots growth has been slowing, table games, which were introduced in 2010, have still been showing strong growth. The gaming board said it expects to release annual table games revenue figures for the last fiscal year later this month.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.