Gambling Revenue in Pennsylvania Skyrockets to Over $3.4 Billion

Bright Colored Slot Machines Inside of a CasinoThanks to a major boost as the result of the aggressive new expansion of gambling authorized by state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, Pennsylvania’s commercial casinos have reached an all-time high in revenue.

Pennsylvania, the nation’s second-largest commercial casino state, took an even deeper plunge into gambling that allowed people to bet online, in airports and at truck stops for the first time. The major expansion of gambling in the state was largely due to government leaders searching for money to plug holes in Pennsylvania’s tattered finances.

Their plan worked. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, revenue at the state’s 12 casinos, as well as through fantasy sports contests and video gambling terminals at truck stops, rose in 2019 by $146 million, or 4.5%, over 2018 to above $3.4 billion.

For the fifth straight calendar year, casino revenue in Pennsylvania has grown.

A Breakdown of the Revenue Figures

Slot machine revenue was the lion’s share of the revenue at almost $2.4 billion, but shrank about $7 million. Revenue from table games rose by about $25 million to above $900 million.

The fiscal year 2019 demonstrated revenue coming in from the initial excitement of offering online gambling, sports betting, and video gambling terminals at truck stops.

Sports betting contributed over $84 million in profit, while online gambling through several licensed casinos contributed nearly $34 million. Over $2 million in revenue was achieved at video gambling terminals available at truck stops throughout PA. Daily fantasy sports contests brought in a whopping $26 million. This is over $10.5 million more from 2018, and a clear indication that sports gambling is on the rise.

Online Sports Betting Continues to Heat Up

The most lucrative online gambling vertical in Pennsylvania is sports betting. Last December, operators collected $14.5 million in revenue from online sports betting, dwarfing the $2.2 million generated in the market from land-based (retail) sports wagering.

Despite the fact that the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is technically gambling on sports, and the biggest operators also offer sports betting in Pennsylvania, sports betting figures reported by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board do not include revenue from DFS operators.

Protecting Pennsylvania’s Tax Revenue

Apart from Nevada (of course), Pennsylvania casinos bring in more gross revenues than any other state in the US. This is a statistic according to figures gathered by the American Gaming Association. But Pennsylvania is the No. 1 state in tax revenue from the casino industry, netting $1.4 billion in the most recent fiscal year.

Pennsylvania’s lottery is also one of the nation’s biggest, delivering $1 billion in profits on $4 billion in sales, though its revenue has flattened.

Lawmakers saw the casino gambling expansion as a way to bring in more tax revenue to their districts and pet projects. Wolf had also focused on ensuring that a gambling expansion would not damage the state’s existing tax collections from casino revenues or receipts from the struggling Pennsylvania Lottery.

When talks of the gambling expansions were still taking place, Wolf told reporters this:

“There’s been a lot of pressure from a lot of places in the commonwealth to actually expand this and we do need some recurring revenue. Again, the goal has been all along to do what’s prudent, not cannibalize existing gambling revenue coming to the state, and I think what we’re settling on will actually do that.”

 

 

Lawmakers Discuss Gambling Regulations in Georgia

To say that Georgia is not a gambling-friendly state is an understatement. It has some of the strictest laws towards the gambling laws of almost any other state in the country. Surprisingly, lawmakers are discussing whether or not to change the current set of gambling regulations in Georgia.

Georgia State Flag

It’s extremely exciting news for gambling fans here. Now is the perfect time to look at the current laws here, and discuss how they could change in the future. Let’s get into it!

Gambling Laws in Georgia, Explained

As we’ve already mentioned, Georgia has some of the most restrictive laws in the country when it comes to gambling. The first real set of regulations here came in 1878. That year, lawmakers in the country decided to ban the sale of lottery tickets.

Things haven’t improved much since then. For a brief time, gambling fans found a legal loophole that allowed making wagers through online poker machines. State officials quickly created legislation that made this form of gambling illegal.

In 1993, the state finally decided to create an official lottery. It’s tightly regulated, though.

A bill to legalize casinos was nearly passed here in 2012. Unfortunately, lawmakers eventually decided to shut it down. Today, traditional casino gambling remains illegal. Only cruise ships that take gamblers into international waters are available here. Amazingly, a committee was formed here to begin studying the gambling industry in April of this year.

In May of 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, giving every state the option to legalize sports gambling. For many months, officials in Georgia seemed uninterested in making this form of gambling legal. This now appears to be changing.

Lawmakers are now meeting to talk about the current set of gambling regulations in Georgia.

Officials May Soon Change Gambling Regulations in Georgia

Earlier this month, several of Georgia’s biggest sports teams officially voiced their support for the legalization of sports gambling. The Presidents of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta Hawks all officially support these plans.

Interestingly, lawmakers are beginning to warm up to the idea of expanding gambling regulations in Georgia. These officials are now taking their show to the road. A house committee officially held a meeting in Valdosta, talking about tax revenue.

The goal is to educate residents here on the ways that expanded gambling operations could benefit the state. Many of these lawmakers believe that opening the state’s casino, sports betting, and horse racing market could help bring money to the state’s HOPE scholarship program. Today was the first meeting of the entire tour.

State Representative Brett Harrell commented on the discussion on gambling regulations in Georgia to the media today.

“Our intent is to ask the citizens, ‘Do you support inviting this industry to Georgia?’” he said. “If the answer is yes, how do you want us to enable this industry to come to Georgia so you all get your piece of the pie?”

As of now, it’s unlikely that any small cities such as Valdosta will receive a casino. Larger cities may have the ability to open one if the state changes its laws. We’ll need to wait and see how lawmakers feel about the possible changes.

More States Continue to Legalize Sports Betting

Georgia may not be completely on-board with legalizing sports betting yet. Many other states, however, are currently working to legalize this form of gambling. Several states have recently passed bills to legalize this industry and will soon begin offering odds on sporting events taking place around the world.

On November 5th, Colorado officially approved a sports betting bill. It allows for both in-person and online betting. The first bets will become available here sometime in 2020.

Many believe that in time, every state in the country will choose to legalize this industry. California seems likely to do so over the next year or two. This state is the most populous in the country. The state government would likely earn millions of dollars every single month with sports betting legalization.

Many lawmakers are beginning to realize how much money can be earned from this industry. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in this country.

Gambling regulations in Georgia could soon change. Hopefully, both casino gambling and sports betting will become available here.

Stay tuned for more updates over the next few months!