- Pennsylvania’s total casino revenue reaches $3.248 billion in 2018
- This constitutes a 0.007% uptick year-on-year
- Rivers Casino’s own performance improves this year
- The DoJ Opinion will come into effect after a 90-day grace period
Amid the expanding betting industry, Pennsylvania’s casinos managed to notch up a slight revenue record, topping previous performance in 2018, even if just by a small margin. Despite the record, table games struggled.
Pennsylvania’s New Casino Record
On Wednesday, January 16, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released its annual data on casino performance across the state’s 12 land-based dedicated gaming venues. Overall, casinos managed to perform better over the entire year, although there were a few bumps in the road. Casino revenue fluctuated, up and down across properties:
- Rivers Casino – $357,448,057
- The Meadows Racetrack – $246,875,182
- Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin – $32,298,183
In December, casinos marked a slight trickle downward, with the accumulated revenue standing at $74.5 million, or 1.75% dip year-on-year. Another segment to lose some of its momentum were table games, which generated the still impressive amount of $878.8 million, marking another 1.34% fall. Commenting on the overall results for Post-Gazette, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Managing Director Chris Grove said:
No one went into 2018 expecting incredible increases in land-based revenue, and that was part of the justification behind the gaming expansion bill … in trying to attract people who otherwise would not be visiting the casino or would be doing so far less frequently.
Thankfully, slots came to the rescue, bringing $2.37 billion for the state and boosting their year-on-year performance by 1.4%, helping to set a very nominal record indeed. Pennsylvania collected a total of $3.248 billion, marking the slighted 0.007% increase in its overall performance, compared to a year before.
The Total Lifelong Revenue
Since Pennsylvania introduced its land-based properties, the overall handle has reached $32.37 billion, an impressive number given the time frame and the availability of properties to play from. The results could have been much better, should Pennsylvania has been allowed to expand online.
Out of the $32.37, $25.94 billion has been generated through slots, with table games making up the difference ($6.40 billion). Compared to other hot beds of gaming, Pennsylvania did quite well, with Atlantic City posting $2.51 billion in 2018, generated through slots.
Sports Betting Is a Deal Maker but DoJ Is a Deal Breaker
Pennsylvania is also headed for a rapid expansion of its operations insofar sportsbooks are concerned. While the state hasn’t published any information about developing betting online on the territory of the state (bar a hint last year that it should happen in the first quarter of 2019), new game-changing circumstances have emerged.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently published an Opinion discussing the interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. The move comes after rumors in December that a reversal of a previous DoJ ruling was being prepared.
However, on Wednesday, January 16, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the new Opinion wouldn’t take effect until after an initial 90-day period, citing an document he signed and his office published on January 15. The document confirms that DoJ attorneys should stick to enforcing the decision of the Office of Legal Counsel:
Department of Justice attorneys should adhere to OLC’s interpretation, which represents the Department’s position on the meaning of the Wire Act.
The PGCB has responded to the Opinion by saying that the Board will have to examine the document and look into any possible complications that could stem thereof for gaming & betting in Pennsylvania.