Revenue from Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos dipped 1.4 percent in 2013 to $3.1 billion. That’s the first time the industry has experienced an overall decline in revenue since casino play began in 2006.
“We saw a little up, we saw a little down,” said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. “Table games continue to be a growing segment. We saw their revenue go up around 6 percent. A slight decrease in slot machines, but that’s not unexpected.”
Casinos raked in about $730 million from more than 1,000 table games last year, an increase over 2012, according to year-end revenue numbers released Thursday. Casinos' haul from slot machines declined 3.5 percent last year to less than $2.4 billion.
“Slot machine revenue is certainly impacted by the increased competition over our borders,” Harbach said. “Ohio, for example, continues to grow their market. We see more in Maryland. That’s going to try and lure some of the customers away that have been coming to Pennsylvania to stay in their state.”
The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh bucked the trend. Revenue from slot machines increased slightly, while table game revenue decreased. Total revenue for Rivers Casino was up slightly in 2013 over 2012. The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in nearby Washington County saw revenue drops for both slots and table games, resulting in a gross revenue drop of more than $1.2 million.
Despite last year's revenue drop, Pennsylvania remains the nation's second largest gambling market after Las Vegas in terms of gross revenue and No. 1 in taxes collected. Pennsylvania collected about $1.4 billion in taxes last year. It uses that money to support the state budget, public schools, civic development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and the horse racing industry.