Pennsylvania casino revenue rivals AC; ‘robbery by infectious disease’ foiled

pennsylvania-casino-revenueAtlantic City may have broken its 40-month streak of gaming revenue declines in December, but figures out of Pennsylvania show that AC may soon lose its ranking as the nation’s second-largest gambling market. As reported by the Associated Press, revenue at Pennsylvania’s 10 casinos rose almost 22% in 2011, coming in at $3.19b, not far off the $3.3b generated by AC’s 11 gaming joints last year. Slots revenue was up 6% to $2.4b, while table games brought in a further $619m. Table game revenue was almost double that of the previous year, as the state didn’t officially begin table game play until midway through 2010. State Treasurer Rob McCord cautioned that future revenue growth would probably not be as explosive as that of recent years, especially with states like New York and Massachusetts seeking to open their own casinos, thereby doing to Pennsylvania what Pennsylvania’s done to New Jersey.

Casinos in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania were recently fined by their respective regulators for permitting underage individuals to gamble on their premises. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board fined the Parx Casino $30k for allowing a 20-year-old to play slots, roulette and consume alcoholic beverages. New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement fined the Tropicana Casino and Resort $17,500 for somehow allowing a 14-year-old to play slots. The Tropicana was fined an additional $10k for allowing a dealer to conduct a four-hour game of Spanish 21 without first removing the ‘10’ cards from the decks (a gaffe even a 14-year-old shouldn’t have made).

Another Pennsylvania gaming establishment, Lucky’s Internet Café in Sharon, was recently the site of what police Chief Mike Menster described to the Sharon Herald as “our first case of robbery by threat of an infectious disease.” Police say 41-year-old Fred Parker walked into Lucky’s and started rubbing his hands over the walls and gaming machines, all the while claiming he had MRSA (an antibiotic-resistant staph infection). Parker then threatened to spread his alleged cooties to a cashier if he didn’t make with the money, but when the cashier refused to open the till, Parker fled the scene, only to be arrested not long after (by police wearing rubber gloves, we assume). You know, this sort of thing is why people choose to gamble online…