Pennsylvania casinos are now tops in the nation outside of Las Vegas, and recent data proves it. Their revenues are growing rapidly, too, with no sign of slowing up.

According to the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Revenue Tracker, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation for commercial gaming revenue in Q1 2022, totaling $1.28 billion. It was second for 2021, as well, generating $4.83 billion in total revenue for the year.

This news comes on the heels of Pennsylvania leading the nation in online casino revenue for the second straight month, unseating its industry-pioneering neighbor, New Jersey.

PA casinos lead the US during a period of unprecedented growth

The AGA Q1 report stated that nationwide revenue was $14.3 billion, the best first quarter on record and barely shy of the record $14.31 billion, set in Q4 2021. 

Pennsylvania’s $1.28 billion revenue accounted for almost 9% of the country’s totals, even edging out New Jersey’s total reported $1.18 billion in revenue. That represents a 22.3% year-over-year increase from 2021 and a 52.6% gain from 2019.

Only Nevada did better, with its $3.54 billion more than tripling what PA casinos could do. Of course, Nevada benefits from having the longest history of legalized gambling and the greatest number of casinos in the US.

The year 2021 was also the winningest for US casinos across the board, meaning PA’s revenue helped set the pace for that mark, too. 

Q2 is already off to a fast start, too

As if there were doubts, Pennsylvania’s fast start in 2022 proves that the previous year was not a fluke. Q2 numbers appear to be just as attractive, too.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board‘s (PGCB) April report stated its total gaming revenue was $461.6 million, which would put it on pace for Q2 revenue of $1.38 billion. That number is also a 14% YoY increase from April 2021.

The Empire State seems to be less of a threat than initially expected

Online sports betting in New York went live on Jan. 8, 2022, and has done so with great success. Prior to its launch, questions remained about how that may affect neighboring states such as New Jersey, the top sports betting market in the nation, and Pennsylvania, another top-five market.

Those questions have since been answered, as both states watch numbers continue to rise regardless of New York’s standing.

As such, New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s results continue to be their own best measuring sticks. By those measurements, the AGA reported sports wagering activity in Pennsylvania increased 25% YoY in Q1 2022. New Jersey did even better (34.9%).

PA’s gaming industry is still growing

As Pennsylvania’s casino legislature has grown, its gaming revenue has followed. Of course, revenue attracts casino operators, too, with several having obtained Category 4 (mini-casino) licenses from the PGCB, which allow for 300 to 750 slot machines on-premises.

The first of these casinos opened in Nov. 2020, with two more following in 2021:

  • Live! Casino Pittsburgh (opened Nov. 2020)
  • Hollywood Casino York (opened Aug. 2021)
  • Hollywood Casino Morgantown (opened Dec. 2021)

Two more are also on their way: 

  • Parx Casino in Shippensburg was awarded a license in Jan. 2022 and is expected to open this winter.
  • Bally’s Casino in Centre City (near State College) is awaiting final approval from the PGCB before breaking ground on its property.

Of course, having more in-state gaming facilities gives Pennsylvanians more (and convenient) access to gamble responsibly. This brings the potential for more outright revenue, as well as the ability to keep more business within PA. Numerous casinos exist across state lines in New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and New York, within reasonable driving distance.

Penn National has also opened its branded Barstool Sportsbook at the new Hollywood locations, citing that a retail sportsbook presence will be even more attractive for its existing younger demographic. 

Like having more facilities, attracting more foot traffic at current ones can create more action at table games and slot machines. And all of that generates more revenue.

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