Philly Park Slots Big Business After Three Weeks

The first three weeks of slot-machine gaming at Philadelphia Park Racetrack & Casino generated total wagering of $175.2 million and produced more than $15.1 million in gross revenue.

Slots at the facility in Bensalem Township, Pa., went online Dec. 18 with a “test night,” and the casino opened the following day. According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, players won about $160 million at Philly Park during the three weeks.

Under the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004, the racetrack operator, which pays the cost of building and running slots casinos, gets 45% of adjusted gross revenue, while purses and breed development get 12% from racetrack slots. The state earns 34% under the law.

Based on those percentages, Philly Park, which has 2,076 machines, collected about $6.8 million in revenue in three weeks, purses and breed development earned $1.8 million, and the state received $5.1 million.

In a statement, gaming control board executive director Anne Neeb said the weekly reports are designed to make the public aware of the slots financials. “The gaming industry is up and running in the commonwealth, and citizens are very interested in seeing exactly how much money is being generated,” Neeb said. “The amount of revenue at these facilities has been tremendous, and it is important that this information be available.”

During the same three-week period, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a harness racing facility in northeastern Pennsylvania, generated about $98 million in slots wagers. Gross revenue was more than $9 million. The track operator got about $4 million, and purses and breed development about $1 million based on the percentages in the law.

Three additional slots casinos are expected to open early this year: Presque Isle Downs, a new Thoroughbred track near Erie; Harrah’s Chester Downs, which opened for live harness racing in 2006; and The Meadows, a western Pennsylvania harness track.