PGCB hails “impressive” 2022/23 industry progress

Pennsylvania statehouse
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The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole has hailed the transformation of the agency into “one of the most respected and effective gaming regulators in the world”. 

Publishing its Annual Report for 2022/23, the PGCB Director noted that proposed regulators in markets that are developing gambling frameworks are coming to Pennsylvania for advice and knowledge. 

O’Toole stated that now that the PGCB has built its reputation after gaining insights and advice from other global agencies, “now it is time to pay it forward”. 

He stated: “Worldwide jurisdictions have, over recent years, reached out to PGCB staff to gain expertise and knowledge as they set up their own gaming marketplaces and regulatory oversight. 

“In some cases, representatives of those regulatory bodies have visited us in Harrisburg to gain first-hand knowledge of how we effectively regulate. As an example, representatives from the Bahamas spent several days in our Harrisburg office and we gladly spent time with them.”

It comes as the PGCB publishes data about the gaming industry in the state for the FY2022/23, comprising July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023. 

Throughout the year, the regulator handed out over $672,000 in consent agreement fines, which were given out for violations uncovered from patrons’ complaints, audits by PGCB staff or Department of Revenue staff, or through observations by PGCB staff on-site at each casino or online platform. 

Meanwhile, the regulator placed 135 patrons on the Involuntary Exclusions List. 

Pennsylvania has been marred by child endangerment cases, in which players have left children unattended in cars while going into a casino to play. 46 parents were placed on the Involuntary Exclusion List throughout the year for child endangerment. 

Other sources of players being placed on the list include theft (32), cheating (18), and assault (12).

Gaming revenue continues to grow

The PGCB also updated stakeholders on the performance of the market throughout the period, in which sports betting and igaming both enjoyed significant upticks in revenue. 

Sports betting handle throughout FY22/23 amounted to $7.2bn, which marked an increase of 2% year-over-year. However, operators fared much better in terms of revenue, which jumped 56% YoY to $491m. 

Revenue was broken down into $440.5m in takings from online sports betting, while $51.5m was made from retail sportsbooks. 

The state benefited from sports betting during the year too, as set out in the PGCB’s mission statement. Operators paid a total of $177.1m in taxes during the year, $167.3m of which was paid to the state and $9.8m was in local taxes. 

Meanwhile, online casino also witnessed a rise in revenue throughout the period. Igaming operators generated $1.5bn, up 24% YoY. For the first time, online slot games yielded $1bn in revenue in a year, up 26.5%, whilst online tables revenue also grew 22.6% to $428m.

Online casino generated $652m in taxes for the state, also up 24% YoY. 

Finally, the regulator outlined the work it does to ensure that players in Pennsylvania are doing so in a safe and responsible manner.

The PGCB marked over 20,000 people signing up to its self-exclusion program during June, ensuring that those who feel like their gambling habits are out of control are not taking part in any activity. 

PGCB also ensures that all casino and online employees are trained on the signs and symptoms of a gambling disorder and the available responsible gaming programs and other regulations have been adopted to ensure player safety. 

Denise Smyler, Chair of the PGCB, added: “While most persons participate in gambling responsibly, a smaller percentage do not. This also goes to the heart of the PGCB’s work to protect the public. The Board assures that information is easily found to direct an individual to problem gambling assistance. 

“This assistance includes, but is not limited to, placing limits on their daily online gaming activity, self-excluding from entering and gambling at casinos, or finding the services of a counseling professional.”