The state of Pennsylvania is home to a huge number of casinos. In early December, state officials ordered all casinos to temporarily close their doors. After weeks of being shut down, Pennsylvania’s casino industry is now finally up and running again.
No one knows the impact that these shutdowns will have on this industry in the long-term. Hope is that things bounce back quickly. Now is the perfect time to talk about how casinos in Pennsylvania might fare over the next few months.
Let’s get into it!
Sports Betting Continues to be Profitable for Pennsylvania
Since May of 2018, every single state has been able to set its own laws on sports betting. 26 states have now chosen to regulate this popular form of gambling. Specific regulations towards sports betting differ from state to state.
Most areas of the country are seeing a massive amount of revenue come in from this industry. That seems to be mostly true for the states with regulated internet sports betting platforms. Places like New Jersey are seeing hundreds of millions wagered on sports online every single month.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania legalized sports gambling almost immediately after PASPA was struck down. The first legal sports wager was placed here in November of 2018. It’s proving to be a very profitable industry for the state each month.
This past November, Pennsylvania saw a total of $492 million in sports betting handle. That was a large drop from the $525 million in sports betting handle seen in October. The state is still seeing significantly more money come in from its sports gambling platforms than many other states in the area.
The casino industry in Pennsylvania isn’t faring quite as well. In fact, lawmakers have been ordering all commercial casinos here to close their doors for the past few weeks. Today, that mass casino shutdown finally came to an end.
Here’s what casino fans in the state can expect.
Pennsylvania’s Casino Industry is Set to Reopen Today
Pennsylvania, like many of the other states in the north-east area of the country, is home to a large and successful casino industry. There is a mix of Native American-run and commercial gambling venues in this state. Several popular “racinos” are also operating throughout Pennsylvania.
In early December, lawmakers ordered all of the commercial casinos to close their doors to the public. Health experts had been calling for this move for months. Eventually, it became clear that the state needed to implement tougher restrictions to cut down on rates of Covid-19.
Today, Pennsylvania’s casino industry was finally given the green light to open its doors again. 13 casinos here can now begin operating. They must all run at just 50% occupancy until further notice.
Despite the difficulties, casino revenue actually increased in Pennsylvania this year. Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the PA Gaming Control Board, spoke about the economic situation here to the media this weekend.
“Even with the decrease in revenue from casinos due to covid-19 closures, it is likely that (the 2020) calendar year will see an approximate 25% increase in the total local share tax revenue from all forms of legalized gambling,” he said.
2021 is expected to be a much better year for the casino industry in Pennsylvania. All of the casinos here have already been given permission to open back up. With effective health regulations set in place, we could see visitation rates at these properties increase significantly throughout the year.
Nearby Atlantic City is working hard to bring in more gamblers right now. Many analysts expect big things for the popular New Jersey city moving forward.
How Will Atlantic City Fare in 2021?
Pennsylvania is quickly developing a successful casino industry. There’s no doubt that New Jersey still has the biggest casino market on the east coast, though. Atlantic City began opening back up again in July and has been trying to increase its tourism rates ever since.
It hasn’t been easy here. State officials have chosen not to implement another wave of casino shutdowns. Instead, they’ve been slowly ordering more regulations inside these venues. That includes lower occupancy levels and tough rules for casino restaurants and bars.
Fortunately, 2021 is expected to be significantly better than 2020 was for the casino industry here. Several analysts feel that vaccines could help to promote travel as the year goes on. Many will be looking for a fun vacation of gambling and entertainment that can be found in Atlantic City.
No one can say with 100% certainty that things will improve. We learned last year that anything can happen. Even Las Vegas, the world’s largest gambling destination, is still struggling to bring in gamblers.
Casino companies in New Jersey are certainly optimistic. Many have recently begun offering more entertainment options to their patrons. We’ll be sure to offer more updates on how the casino industry is faring over the next few months!
Are you excited to see Pennsylvania’s casino industry open back up? Let us know in the comments section below!