PA Gaming Revenue Tops $3 Billion in 2011

For first half of fiscal year 2011-12, horse racing has gotten $137.7 million.

Revenue from slot machines and table games at 10 casinos in Pennsylvania in 2011 topped $3 billion for the first time, state officials said Jan. 18.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which oversees gaming at six racetrack casinos and four non-racing casinos, reported total gross revenue of $3,024,772,959, up 21.65% from $2,486,408,061 in 2010. Slots revenue made up the bulk of the 2011 total at $2,405,867,897.

The first slot machines began operating in Pennsylvania in late 2006 at racetracks. Several non-track casinos later opened, and table games were added.

“Since one of the intents of the (2004 gaming law) was to provide a significant source of new revenue, it is certainly gratifying to see this continued increase,” PGCB chairman William Ryan Jr. said in a release. “The ability of Pennsylvania casinos to offer top-scale amenities and high-quality service is certainly a driving factor in the patronage of these entertainment facilities.”

The original legislation awarded purses and breed development 12% of gross slots revenue at racetrack casinos and 6% at non-track casinos. Legislative changes reduced the amount to racing by 34% in January 2010, but in July of that year the take dropped to 17%.

According to the PGCB the transfer of revenue to the state general fund will expire June 30, 2013. No money from table games goes to the racing industry.

The PGCB regularly reports gaming revenue by fiscal year, from July 1 through June 30. With six months of revenue in the books for fiscal year 2011-12, the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund has banked $137,779,854 from slots.

The racing fund—for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing and breeding—in fiscal year 2010-11 earned $274,936,669 from slots, according to PGCB figures.

For the first half of fiscal year 2011-12, Parx Casino and Racing produced $21.39 million for purses, the most of any facility in the state. Two non-track casinos, The Rivers in Pittsburgh and Sands Bethlehem in the Lehigh Valley, were next at $15.78 million and $15.63 million, respectively, despite the smaller percentage of revenue paid to racing.

Since late 2006 more than $210 million in slots revenue at Parx has gone to the PRHDF.

In the roughly five years Pennsylvania has had casinos, racing has banked more than $1.1 billion, including purses, breed development, and horsemen's pension plans. The state has received more than $3.1 billion, and casino owners have collected more than $4.2 billion, according to the PGCB.