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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Pennsylvania now the country's second-largest gaming market

20 January 2012

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania -- Move over Atlantic City, you’re now No. 3.

Gaming is now a $3 billion industry in Pennsylvania, making the state the No. 2 gaming market in the U.S. behind Nevada.

For the first time, combined revenues from slot machines and table games at the Pennsylvania’s 10 casinos hit $3.024 billion in 2011. The figure was a 21.65 percent increase over 2010, when table games were still in their infancy in Pennsylvania.

Revenue from table games fueled the increase, jumping 191.2 percent, from $212.5 million in 2010 to $618.9 million in 2011. Table games did not debut in Pennsylvania casinos until the summer of 2010.

In all, slots and table game gambling produced $1.4 billion in tax revenue for the state in 2011, or $128.3 million more than in 2010.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Richard McGarvey attributed the increase in revenue to a full year of table games and opening of the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia in late 2010.

The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp., experienced the greatest year-over-year revenue gains of any Pennsylvania casino in 2011.

Sands Bethlehem’s revenue increased almost 32 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, with Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino its closest competitor with a 28 percent gain. The state average was 21.6 percent.

Much of Sands’ gains came from its table games business, which increased almost 300 percent in 2011 compared to a 4.6 percent gain in slots revenues.

Pennsylvania is expected to see the opening of the state's 11th casino in the spring at Valley Forge and there are three unused casino licenses in the state that should add to revenue growth in future years.