Pa. slots prove to be profitable

January 14, 2008 5:20:11 PM PST
Pennsylvania's move to legalize casinos is paying off big for the state, with its slots parlors reeling in more money than anywhere on the east coast. A casino research report says 4 of Pennsylvania's casinos rank among the top 5 highest-grossing casinos in the northeast. This all comes a week after Atlantic City casinos revealed they had their first down year ever and attributed it to competition from Pennsylvania.

Slots income in Pennsylvania is exceeding expectations and gamblers at Philadelphia Park are betting they know why. "I like here better cause it's closer," says Helen Pine of Feasterville.

The report accounted for gross slots revenue in the fall of last year. In our area, the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs generated $403 per slot machine per day. Philadelphia Park came in third and Harrah's Chester fifth. Each beat the industry target of $250-300 per slot per day. So at Philadelphia Park the casino is adding even more machines.

Elizabeth Reeder of Solebury Township tells us, "The revenue is going to benefit someone in Pennsylvania, especially seniors I think."

In fiscal year 2007 the state's slots have generated about $364-million in taxes earmarked for property tax relief. So far, just 6 of the planned 14 casinos are operating.

Today, the governor was gloating. Rendell said, "All of you and the opponents of gaming, when I said how money much this would generate for property tax relief, you said, 'Oh, governor, you're way off base. You're way too high.' Turns out I was way too low! I was far too pessimistic!"

The state takes 34 percent of the casino slots incomes, so the gaming experts say that the payout is actually lower in Pennsylvania than in other states. But today's report shows that for Pennsylvania gamblers, it doesn't matter.