Pennsylvania casino revenue fell 1.44% to $3.07b in 2014, the fourth straight year that casino gaming revenue in the state has topped $3b. It’s also the second consecutive year of negative growth, although the total was enough to maintain the state’s status as America’s #2 casino gambling market.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) had previously released the state’s slots figures for 2014, which showed revenue down 2.7% to $2.31b. On Thursday, the PGCB revealed that table game revenue had risen 2.7% to $749.5m, the highest total since the state allowed table games five years ago. However, table revenue growth was less than the 6.2% gain recorded in 2013.
The state’s high water mark came in 2012, when overall revenue topped $3.15b. Since then, new casinos have opened up in neighboring Maryland and Ohio, giving Pennsylvania a dose of the same medicine it has inflicted on New Jersey, where gaming revenue has fallen every year since 2006, the same year Pennsylvania launched its own slots venues.
Still, don’t cry too much for Pennsylvania, as the state’s highest-in-the-nation tax rates – 54% on slots and 14% on tables – diverted $1.34b of 2014’s haul into the government’s coffers.
The full-year numbers were aided by a boffo December, which saw slots rise 6% and table games jump 15.3% over December 2013. Sands Bethlehem led December’s table tallies with $14.2m in winnings, followed by Parx with $10.2m (+13%) and SugarHouse with $7.3m (+12%). Sands benefited from having 206 tables in action during December, compared to just 183 in December 2013. Parx’s gains are all the more impressive considering its table total fell from 165 to 154 over the same period.
For the year as a whole, Sands Bethlehem’s tables earned $189m, up 7% year-on-year and representing nearly one-quarter of the total statewide haul of $749.5m. The Parx’s tables were up nearly 9% to $130m, about 17% of the statewide total. Just four of the state’s dozen casinos – Harrah’s Philadelphia, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Meadows Racetrack and Presque Isle Downs – were in negative table territory for the year.