PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Boosted by $4.3 million from play at the state's newest casino, Pennsylvania saw a slight increase in gross revenue from slot machines last month compared to the same period a year ago, according to state gaming board figures released Tuesday.
However, the 10 "existing" casinos that were open in both September 2011 and September 2012 showed a 2 percent decline in gross slots revenue for the period.
Overall, the eleven casinos brought in $200.5 million in gross revenue from slot machines last month, an increase of less than 1 percent over the $200.1 million from the same period a year ago, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. That slight rise came on the strength of the $4.3 million in gross revenue from slots at Valley Forge, which opened in March.
Excluding the revenue from Valley Forge, the 10 casinos that were open in both September 2011 and last month saw gross revenue from slots dip to $196.2 million, a decline of about 2 percent from the same period a year ago.
Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie reported the biggest decline, an 11.6 percent drop. That facility is facing new competition from across the state border, where Ohio's first casino — Horseshoe Casino Cleveland — opened in May. Six other Pennsylvania casinos saw smaller declines.
Three casinos posted modest gains: Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in western Pennsylvania were both up about 3.3 percent, while Mount Airy Casino Resort in northeastern Pennsylvania reported gross revenue that was up about 1.7 percent.
Pennsylvania, which legalized gambling in 2004 and opened its first casino two years later, could one day be home to 14 casinos. The state is accepting applications for a second casino in Philadelphia; the gaming board also has awarded a casino license to a resort outside Pittsburgh, but one of the losing bidders for that license is challenging the decision in court; and another license is tied to a yet-to-be built racetrack.
The state uses casino revenue to support the state budget, public schools, civic development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and the horse racing industry. Pennsylvania taxes gross slots revenue at a rate of about 55 percent.