Gambling was first legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004 and revenue has grown steadily every year since then. In March 2021, revenue topped $400 for the first time. The aggregate number includes table games, slot machines, internet gaming, fantasy contests, retail and online sports wagering, and video gaming terminals. The revenue generated is more than a 160% increase from March 2020 when state-mandated, Covid-19 restrictions shut down many casinos.
March revenue figures
Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board figures showed that monthly casino revenues exceeded $403 million in March 2021. Of the 15 licensed casinos in the state, Parx in Bucks County saw the highest total revenue in March, bringing in over $61 million. It also registered impressive revenue numbers on its online casino that has expanded into other US states such as New Jersey.
Executive Director of the Gaming Control Board, Kevin O’Toole, said the record was due to various factors. One is that March is historically a high revenue month. Another is that patrons are becoming increasingly familiar with gaming on the internet and this is contributing to steady revenue growth. Finally, patrons are gaining more confidence with lifting Covid-19 restrictions and are resuming gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos once again.
Slot machine and table games revenue
In casinos statewide, slot machine revenues totaled over $199 million and table games brought in more than $7 million. When comparing slot revenue from March 2019 to March 2021, there was a 12% decrease in revenue. There were also fewer slot machines in operation in March 2021 than in March 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Sports wagering is popular
Sports wagers totaled more than $29 million in March. Of all the sports wagers placed in March, over 90% were made online. The growing popularity of iGaming and online sports wagering is contributing to the growing US economy. Online platforms provided the only gaming revenue for casinos during the months of lockdown and as more people become familiar with betting online, its popularity is unlikely to fade.
Online betting soared during the pandemic when everyone was at home. However, brick and mortar casinos across the country have been working hard to recoup after they were forced to close twice last year due to the pandemic. Successful leadership is playing a part in their strong recovery. The Gaming Control Board reported that combined revenues from January through March exceeded $1 billion for the quarter, setting a new record.
The impressive revenue numbers in March also meant a record month for total taxes. The majority of tax came from land-based slots but iGaming was responsible for almost a quarter of the tax revenue. Land-based tables and sports betting each accounted for between six or seven percent of total taxes.