The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has published its annual report for 2018/19, highlighting a positive year for the sector which continues to contribute strongly to the state economy. The industry was credited by the Board with employing 16,000 individuals, delivering annual expenditure of $500m and generating $1.6bn in tax revenue.

Sports wagering, said the report, got off to a strong start in November 2018 when Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course became the first casino to open a retail sportsbook followed quickly by 10 other retail openings. In addition, five online sportsbooks launched as of October 1, 2019.

During the 2018/2019 Fiscal Year, the Board received petitions from nine of the 13 casino operators seeking approval for sports wagering. All nine petitions were approved during the fiscal year and fees received through June 30, 2019 totaled $80m. 

To date, nine operators have opened land-based sportsbooks at their casino facilities. One operator, Parx Casino, also opened sportsbooks at two of its off-track betting facilities (South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook and Oaks Race and Sportsbook). Additionally, the Gaming Expansion Act permitted these license holders to offer sports wagering through an internet or mobile-based system, and five have launched those options to date. 

Board Chairman David M Barasch commented: “It has been an exciting and challenging year for the Board and the employees of this agency. While our dedicated staff has continued its responsible oversight of the mature casino industry, its work was greatly expanded to implement the myriad new gaming initiatives authorized by Expansion Act 42 of 2017. 

“It is important to first note that land-based casino gaming in the Commonwealth continues its strong performance. That is great news for all Pennsylvanians. The industry supports 16,000 living wage jobs and provided $1.4bn in tax revenue during the most recent fiscal year from slot machine and table game play.

He continued: “Overall, since the first casino opened in 2006, total tax revenues generated and benefitting the Commonwealth citizens has been $17bn. During the upcoming fiscal year, these financial benefits will grow as interactive gaming and sports wagering expand. Also, as the Board implements other legislative initiatives, such as video gaming terminals at truck stops and gaming in airport boarding areas, additional financial benefits will be gained by the citizens of the Commonwealth.”