Pennsylvania Enjoys Bumper Year in Gambling Revenue

Gappy woman gambling at casino playing slot machine

Pennsylvania has reported that gambling contributed more than $385m (£306m) in just one year, easily surpassing budget predictions.

Bumper profits

The new report shows that licensing fees for casinos, online casinos, and sportsbooks, along with mini-casino auction profits and tax revenue from lottery expansion and daily fantasy sports, all contributed to the bumper profits.

The report was compiled by PlayPennsylvania.com, using a combination of official statistics and estimates based on iLottery, keno, and virtual sports sales numbers.

Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, said: “The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue gained from gamblers. Clearly, there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate the fees.”

Extra $1m a day

The numbers show that betting and gaming activities added up to an additional $1m (£0.8m) a day spent in Pennsylvania since figures were recorded from 2017.

Then, the state collected just $799.8m (£636m) in taxes from statewide slot revenues, while in February it was estimated that gambling would generate more than $34bn (£27bn) in general fund revenues for the state’s 2018-19 fiscal year. Add to that, in early 2019 additional revenue from online gambling should arrive.

Using return-to-player rates for the games, the report estimates that the state has collected more than $23m (£18.3m) in revenue from online lotto games ($19.6m; £15.6m), keno ($3.6m; £2.9m), and virtual sports ($87,000; £69,228) throughout October. Other sources of income include mini-casino auction profits, $128m (£102m); Interactive gaming petitions, $94m (75m); casino licensing, $78m (£62m); sports betting petitions, $60m (£48m); and Daily Fantasy Sports tax revenue, $1.4m (£1.1m).

Long-term picture less clear

Despite a lot to look forward to, Pennsylvania is not counting its chickens just yet. “The addition of retail sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”

Welman added: “We believe that the gambling expansion will eventually prove to be a winner for the state’s budget, but the long-term picture is less certain. More casinos and sportsbooks must open before we get a clear picture of whether Pennsylvania’s relatively steep tax rates and license fees will produce the desired outcome.”

Still, if the success stories of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are anything to go by, states across America will be kicking themselves that they didn’t legalize gambling sooner.