Cashing in on Table Games

Pennsylvania has grown into the nation's second-largest gambling market

Gross revenue from table games at Pennsylvania's 11 casinos was up 8.9 percent last month compared with April 2012, but total gambling revenue was down slightly, state regulators reported Thursday.

Table games generated $61.6 million last month, up from $56.5 million during the same period the year before, according to revenue figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The increase was fueled by the gains at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (up 28.7 percent) and The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in western Pennsylvania (up 63 percent), as well as the growth of the newest casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened in March 2012 (up 21.7 percent). Three other casinos also showed table games growth for the month.

There were also significant signs of the effects of competition from other states, especially at Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie, which showed another decline, down 42.9 percent. It's facing competition from a new casino that opened across the state line in Cleveland a year ago. The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh was also down 16.7 percent to $5 million.

Pennsylvania's first casino opened in 2006, and the state has grown into the nation's second-largest gambling market behind Las Vegas. The state uses casino revenue to support the state budget, schools, development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and horse racing.

While table games growth has remained strong, slots revenues have been decreasing. Gross revenue from slot machines declined for the fifth straight month in April, down 4 percent from the same period the year before.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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