PA Casinos: $274.9M for Racing in 2010-11

Pennsylvania’s 10 casinos—racetrack and standalone—generated $274.9 million for the state’s Race Horse Development Fund in fiscal year 2010-11, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board annual report released Sept. 30.

The figure is up 5.86% from $259.7 million in fiscal year 2009-10, according to figures in the annual report.

The top generator of racing funds was Parx Casino & Racetrack at $44.6 million, followed by Harrah’s Chester Racetrack & Casino at $32.8 million and Sands Bethlehem Casino at $30.7 million, according to PGCB figures.

Under the law that legalized slot machines in Pennsylvania, racetrack casinos paid 12% of gross revenue to purses, breed development, and other programs, while non-racetrack casinos paid 6%. The amount, however, was reduced by legislation.

Table games were introduced later at casinos in the state. Racing gets no cut of that revenue.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, 34% of the money deposited into the Race Horse Development Fund was transferred to the state’s general fund to pay bills. On July 1, 2010, the amount was reduced to 17%. The financial transfer is supposed to sunset June 30, 2013.

The opening of non-track casinos in major markets the last few years has helped offset the general fund transfer. Three of those facilities—Sands Bethlehem in the Lehigh Valley, Rivers in Pittsburgh, and SugarHouse in Philadelphia—generated $75.2 million for horse racing in fiscal year 2010-11, according to the annual report.

Statewide more than $29.7 billion was wagered at the 10 casinos in the most recent fiscal year. Parx in the Philly suburbs topped the list at $5.1 billion in wagers, followed by Sands Bethlehem at $3.7 billion and Harrah’s Chester at $3.3 billion.

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