January 7, 2021 3 min read


Pennsylvania Gambling Industry Grows, But Casinos Hit Hard

Pennsylvania’s gambling tax revenue is up to $33 million in the first half of the fiscal year. The recent lockdown’s impact is not fully clear yet.

Pennsylvania on the Grow

Pennsylvania is one of the strongest markets for gambling and gaming in the US. Despite legalizing gambling only a decade ago, the state has seen substantial and dynamic growth to the point where its casino revenue rivals that of Nevada.

Pennsylvania’s gambling industry has proven its strength and resilience over the years, and is doing so again. The gambling and gaming scene has managed to grow in 2020, despite the pandemic and the accompanying safety measures. However, the impact of the recent casino closures remains to be seen.

According to recent figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the total tax revenues for the state was at $471.4 million in the first five months of the current fiscal year. This is an increase of around $33 million compared to the $438.1 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

The state also attracted many new players last year with its thriving online gambling market. This includes big name players such as BetMGM, Leadstar, Caesars and more. Pennsylvania also auctioned several casino licenses, saw the opening of a new casino in Westmoreland County, with a few more in development.

Casinos Face Challenge

According to Doug Harbach, speaking on behalf of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state will likely see an approximately 25% increase in share tax revenue from legal gambling. This figure factors in the losses incurred by casinos during the lockdown.

Casinos in the state have been forced to close twice this year. The first lockdown lasted around 2.5 months and took a $265 million toll on the industry’s tax revenue. The second closure lasted from 12 December to 4 January. It remains to be seen how much missing out on the holiday season will affect the industry.

The Gaming Control Board will divulge the financial figures for December within a few weeks. The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will publish the official Q4 tax revenue figures around the same time.

Overall, Pennsylvania’s gambling and gaming market seems to be in a good state, given the current global economic climate. This is especially true for online gambling and sports betting, which generated $130 million in tax revenue during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

However, this is contrasted by the substantial decrease in tax revenue from traditional forms of gambling. The Gaming Control Board’s report shows that slot and table game revenue has dropped by $361.7 million and $38.8 million respectively. This is bad news for the state’s counties and communities that rely on this money for its budgets.

It will take some time for the industry to bounce back.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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