Pennsylvanians and tourists pulled the slots levers fewer times last month than in February of 2012, according to a report from the state’s Gaming Control Board.
Of the ten Pennsylvania casinos operating in both months, revenue was 11.5% lower this year. Even counting a casino that opened last March, Valley Forge Casino Resort, the state’s income fell 9.2% to $196 million.
Gaming Control Board spokesman Richard McGarvey said the decrease probably resulted from a few contributing factors.
“The leap year certainly played a bit of a factor in it, probably about three percentage points, because there was an extra day last year. One day equates to about seven million dollars,” said McGarvey.
He said neighboring states’ new gambling destinations could also be partly to blame.
“Ohio’s come online, and that’s certainly affecting Presque Isle Casino up in the Erie area,” said McGarvey. Presque Isle Casino’s monthly revenue fell 28% last month compared to February 2012. “We’ve also had casinos come online in Maryland and New York, so competition also plays a role.”
McGarvey said the Gaming Control Board isn’t expecting to see many more big revenue gains from year to year.
“In the past, it was nothing for us to see double-digit gains in revenue, but most of those gains could be attributed to new casinos coming online here in Pennsylvania. We really haven’t opened any new casinos in the last couple years. We opened one small one, but we didn’t expect it to generate a lot of revenue. I think what you’ll see moving forward here in the future is you’re going to have some months up, some months down, with no big swings back or forth.”
Pennsylvania slot machine revenue is dedicated to specific destinations, such as property tax relief, the horseracing industry, and counties with casinos. Local “economic development” projects also receive gaming funds, such as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ CONSOL Energy Center.