Casino Revenues Down Year-Over-Year–Can We Please Have Online Gambling Now?

For only the second time since the introduction of Pennsylvania casinos, the fiscal year revenues are on the decline. Thankfully, the dip is a relatively small one.

Don’t worry, Pennsylvania casinos are still a multi-billion dollar industry. In FY 2016-2017, the state’s 12 properties generated¬†$3,202,620,448 in revenue. The dip from FY 2015-2016 is a meager .78 percent. However, the fact that this is typically a growing endeavor means any regression does give some pause.

Table games saved the year

The news table games growth helped keep the FY numbers close is not surprising to anyone following the brick and mortar casino industry in the Keystone State. Year over year, table games grew over 3 percent. Meanwhile, the overall slots take dipped 2.2 percent.

The bulk of casino money does come from the slots, which generate over $2 billion a year. Table games, in comparison, took in over $888 million. Even though table games are taxed at a much lower rate than slots, the state still took in $138 million in table game tax revenue. That is up $19 million from FY 2015-2016.

Month-to-month slot decline extends to nine

The year-over-year decline is small. However, when you look at monthly results, you realize the issue is bigger than some might think. For the ninth straight month, slot revenues declined from the previous year. These are not outlier months or issues related to seasonality. Across the board, slot machines are not generating the same revenue the once were.

Moreover, this does not appear to be an instance of a couple of casinos struggling. Nine of the 12 PA casinos’ slot revenues for this FY were down compared to the previous one.

The three that did post increases were small at best. Valley Forge was up over 3 percent, SugarHouse up just one percent, and Lady Luck Nemacolin grew .76 percent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, three casinos, including Harrah’s Philadelphia, experienced slot revenue drops in excess of five percent.

FY numbers all the more reason to push gambling expansion bill through

The tax revenues from $3.2 billion in casino revenues are certainly helpful for the state. Especially when you consider the 54 percent tax rate on slots means the Keystone State rivals Nevada in terms of gambling tax dollars taken in annually.

With the winds clearly changing on slots popularity and a budget deficit that keeps growing past $1.2 billion though, alternate revenue sources are becoming increasingly necessary.

The Pennsylvania again met this weekend in an attempt to finalize a budget. Unfortunately, they once again left without a solution. In the meantime, the gambling expansion bill allowing for online casinos amongst other things, which could generate a large chunk of the shortfall, remains in limbo.

About The Author

Jessica Welman

A graduate of USC and Indiana University, Jessica Welman has long been involved in the poker industry. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and as the managing editor for WSOP.com.

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