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Slots revenues slump in Pa.; Gaming Board cites out-of-state competition

 CURT HUDSON / Associated Press / File
CURT HUDSON / Associated Press / File

Increased competition from border states led to a drop in revenues for Pennsylvania slot machines in 2013.

Revenues fell 3.5 percent to $2.38 billion in 2013 from $2.47 billion in 2012, according to figures released today by the state Gaming Control Board.

“It’s similar to what we saw in New Jersey, but not to the same degree,” said Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the Gaming Control Board. “Ohio added a new casino this year; Maryland opened Maryland Live, which is a big revenue generator south of Baltimore; and the casino in New York City, a slots only facility put up some really big numbers.”

McGarvey said the slight decline was not a cause for alarm.  Pennsylvania slot machines last year generated $1.3 billion in taxes for the state, he said.

Among the region’s local casinos, Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester saw the largest drop with revenues falling nearly 10 percent. SugarHouse saw a nearly 5% decline and Parx revenues dropped 4%. The biggest loser was Erie's Presque Isle Downs and Casino which saw slot revenues slump an unlucky 13 percent.

“We’re still doing remarkable well,” McGarvey said. “Pennsylvania is still the Number 2 slots revenue generator in the nation, right after Nevada. And the state’s casinos ares certainly still the highest tax revenue generators in the nation. Because of the 55% tax rate, nobody else is even close.”

A report on table games revenue is due out later this month. With more gamblers playing poker and blackjack, McGarvey said revenue gains at the tables might erase the losses seen at the slots. 

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