Pennsylvania Ranks Second in Nation in Total Monthly Gambling Revenues
According to a speed given by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board commissioner, Pennsylvania is the second leading state in gambling revenues. John J. McNally III gave the speech to the Lebanon Rotary Club detailing the numbers.
John J. McNally is a parter in Thomas, Thomas and Haber, a law firm in Harrisburg. He was appointed to the Gaming Control Board in February 2013 and is currently serving a two-year term. McNally’s numbers are a measure of gross gambling revenues across the state, involving all forms of gaming.
$4 Million Per Day – Gambling Revenues
The gambling industry of Pennsylvania generates $4 million in tax revenue per day. Focusing on Lebanon County, McNally detailed how the gaming revenues help state and local government make a better life for the people in Lebanon County.
Lebanon County’s six school districts are set to receive a total of $4.75 million in slot machine revenues in fiscal year 2014. In everyday terms, this means that property owners in Lebanon County see a reductio in their school property tax bills.
The various Lebanon County fire departments received $495,100 spread over 40 different grants. The Lebanon Area Fair also received $21,000 in funding.
Hollywood Casino’s Economic Impact
Hollywood Casino has a direct impact on the county’s economy. Hollywood Casino, owned by Penn National Gaming, employs 1,100 workers. Most of these people live inside Lebanon County. Also, the casino spent $14.4 million on local goods, which spreads wealth throughout the community and helps local businesses.
What Is the Gaming Control Board?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is a 7-member panel which oversees most forms of gaming in the state (besides the lottery). The Control Board has a staff of 300. These people investigate and audit the state’s 12 gambling facilities. These facilities include stand-alone casinos, resort casinos, and the gaming machines at the horse tracks.
At the momet, the state’s regulators are considering licenses for two more gaming venues. It is expected that licenses will be approved.
Nearby Competition and Market Saturation
Despite the strength of Pennsylvania’s gambling industry, the state does face stiff competition from nearby rivals. Pennsylvania borders New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Ohio, and each has their own gaming industries. While West Virginia and Maryland (states also bordering Pennysylvania) have less established gaming industries, both New Jersey and Delaware now have licensed online gambling.
The competition is expected to become more substantial in the next few years. New Jersey is discussing the option of building a land casino in northern New Jersey. While this is not likely to happen until 2016 at the earliest, it would represent a potential drain on gamblers coming from New York City.
New York Casino Licenses
Another possible rival is a proposed casino in Woodbury, New York. Woodbury is located in Orange County, which is only 50 miles from Manhattan. New York state’s gaming regulators are expected to announce four casino licenses in the next couple of weeks. All four of these casinos could harm Pennsylvania’s gaming industry.
Back in the Old Days
McNally has seen the impact of a new casino before. The Gaming Control Board’s chairman says he remembers seeing crowds at Harrisburg Mall line up for buses bound for Atlantic City. This was in the time before Pennsylvania had legal casino gambling. Now, says McNally, that does not happen anymore.
In fact, one of the chief reasons Atlantic City has faced a financial decline in the past 8 years is competition from Pennsylvania. Most of the gambling dollars Pennsylvanians spend now went to Atlantic City gaming operations. Now, a much smaller percentage of money passes out of Pennsylvania’s gamblers’ hands and into New Jersey’s casino operations.
In 1989, Nevada and New Jersey were the only U.S. states which had regulated casino gambling. After the Native American tribes won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, casino gambling spread across the nation. Now, 38 different U.S. states have some form of land-based gaming houses. This has saturated the market. Back in 1989, Atlantic City still could fool itself into thinking it might one day rival, or even surpass, Las Vegas.
Now, New Jersey is struggling to wring as much money as it can out of its intrastate gaming community, while states like Pennsylvania surpassed it. But then, Pennsylvania has surpassed a lot of U.S. states in gambling consumption.
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