A Trio Of $3 Million Winners Highlight July’s Scratch-Off Lottery Winners

PA lottery scratch-off winners claimed more than $172 million in prizes throughout July, marking the third month in a row with over $165 million won.

July 2018 marked the third month in a row the Pennsylvania Lottery has given away more than $165 million in scratch-off ticket prizes.

In fact, figures released by the Pennsylvania Lottery this week show scratch-off ticket winners claimed $172,733,641 in prizes throughout the month of July. This includes two massive $3 million prizes and three $1 million prizes.

Pennsylvania Lottery scratch-off players also claimed upwards of $181 million in prizes this past May, and more than $167 million in prizes in June.

Two $3 million scratch-off winners

The Port Royal Pit Stop/Uni-Mart on Market Street in Port Royal sold July’s first $3 million winning ticket. It was a $3 Million Mega Multiplier ticket.

The Morton Street Wawa in Folsom sold the second $3 million winning ticket. It is a $3,000,000 Pennsylvania Club ticket.

The Denver Road Turkey Hill in Denver sold a $1 million winning ticket for the aptly named Million Dollar Winner game. The Convenient Food Mart on Main Street in Pittston sold a $1 million winning $1,000,000 Power Payday ticket. And finally, the Centre Avenue Turkey Hill in Leesport sold a $1 million winning My First Million ticket.

Other rather large scratch-off ticket prizes claimed across PA throughout July included:

  • Five $300,000 prizes
  • One $250,000 prize
  • 15 $100,000 prizes

PA Lottery scratch-off prizes range from a free ticket to $3 million. It is rare to see two $3 million winners in a single month. In fact, even in May when the Pennsylvania Lottery reported more than $181 million in Scratch-Off ticket prizes won, only a single $3 million top prize was claimed.

Proceeds from all Pennsylvania Lottery scratch-off games and its other lottery product sales go to programs that directly benefit older PA residents. The lottery has contributed $29 billion to such programs since ticket sales began in 1972.

Record-breaking PA lottery sales

In fact, after posting a record of more than $4.2 billion in sales throughout the 2017-18 fiscal year ending June 30, the PA Lottery added another $1 billion-plus to its contributions to programs benefiting older Pennsylvanians. It was the seventh-consecutive year it exceeded $1 billion in contributions.

Sales of scratch-off game tickets also broke records, with more than $2.8 billion recorded throughout the fiscal year. A number that was up by $97.6 million over 2016-2017, and broke the previous record of $2.79 billion set in 2015-16. Scratch-off game ticket sales actually accounted for more than 67 percent of total PA lottery sales in 2017-2018.

Even the proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery’s new instant win online lottery games go to benefit older people in the state. The games, which are similar to electronic versions of scratch-off games, launched at the end of May.

Online instant win lottery game recorded $20.8 million in sales from the May 22 launch through June 30.

The games are available on the PAiLottery.com website and through the PA Lottery mobile app.

Scratch-off game rules and info

PA Lottery scratch-off winners have one year following a game’s end-sale date to claim any outstanding prizes. The Pennsylvania Lottery advises players to check all tickets and claim winnings as soon as possible.

The PA Lottery employs a random distribution system through its network of more than 9,300 lottery retailers. Thereby ensuring where a winning ticket will be sold is always unknown.

Parx Breaks The Silence, Says It Will Launch Sports Betting In PA

Parx Casino announced it will use software partner GAN to launch sports betting in Pennsylvania. They are the first PA casino to commit to accepting wagers.

Pennsylvania’s top-grossing casino has indicated that it plans to enter the PA sports betting market.

PA’s 13 casino license holders have been able to apply for a license to operate sportsbooks since the end of May. The licenses allow for sportsbook operations both online and inside the casino.

However, none have. As a result, it has been widely speculated license holders see the state’s $10 million licensing fee and 36-percent tax rate as a barrier to market entry.

In fact, some license holders claim the cost of running a sportsbook in PA makes it impossible to turn a profit.

Apparently, Parx Casino in Bensalem and its online gambling content and software supplier GAN don’t feel the same way.

GAN and Parx sports betting partnership

In fact, GAN’s Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Berman told  PlayPennsylvania.com it will be providing the tech behind Parx sports betting roll out over the coming months:

“We’re being used to deploy on-property sports betting as well as online, to be made available to on-property patrons on self-serve kiosks/tablets, deployed on-property, as well as traditional retail over the counter services.”

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board also began accepting applications for the state’s $10 million online gambling licenses in April. The licenses are for operating online slots, online table games, and online poker. No casino license holder applied for almost 90 days. However, at the 11th hour before the July 16 deadline, nine of the 13 finally filed applications.

Parx was one of those applicants. GAN, the same company behind Parx’ play-money online casino ParxOnline.com, will provide its real money online gaming software platform.

A single Parx account

Berman says Parx customers will be able to use one account across its online gambling and sports betting platforms:

“Patrons will have a single ‘Parx Account’ on the GAN platform to deposit/withdraw funds from, which can be used for retail sports betting, internet sports betting as well as internet gaming. The concept is to reduce anonymous cash-only sports betting on-property as much as possible, and to drive sports betting patrons to open their ‘Parx Account’ to maximize all-important cross-sell to online sports/casino.”

Berman said its all about GAN allowing market-leading Parx to offer a complete gambling experience to its customers:

“Following the execution of this extension and amendment, GAN now offers clients a platform equipped with multiple options for integrated sports betting to be launched seamlessly alongside GAN’s market-leading internet casino product. We welcome the opportunity to deliver sports betting in the retail channel, as well as online, through GAN’s unique platform containing patented technology.”

No data service provider has been named. However, GAN officials have indicated its deal with Parx includes a share in both retail and online sports betting revenue.

Sports betting at Parx by the end of 2018

Parx says sports betting will launch before the end of 2018. This despite the fact the state’s Gaming Board has yet to announce any sports betting license applicants. The board is still designing regulations to govern sports betting in the state.

In the meantime, there are still concerns in the local casino industry. Particularly that lofty licensing fees and oppressive tax rates will make it hard for legal sportsbooks to compete.  Offshore online operations, illegal bookies, and legal sportsbooks in neighboring states don’t have the same expenses.

New Jersey’s sports-betting tax sits at 8.5 percent. The state will charge online operations 13 percent when they launch. Of course, there is also a five percent federal excise tax on all sportsbooks revenue.

New Jersey’s initial sports wagering license fee is just $100,000.

That leaves PA’s $10 million fee and 36-percent tax as the highest in the country.

Phillies Legend Hopes Sports Betting Radio Network Is A Home Run

Philadelphia Phillies great Ryan Howard is investing in broadcasting legend Brent Musburger’s latest foray into sports gambling media.

A Philadelphia Phillies great is buying into a broadcasting legend’s latest foray into sports gambling media.

It was announced Monday that SeventySix Capital has made a strategic investment in Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN). VSiN is a media network solely dedicated to sports betting information.

SeventySix Capital is led by partners Wayne Kimmel, Jon Powell, and Ryan Howard. Howard spent the entirety of his 13-year Major League Baseball career with the Phillies, winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2005 and NL Most Valuable Player Award in 2006.

Additionally, Howard is a three-time All-Star, who won the World Series with the Phillies in 2008 and the NL Championship Series MVP Award in 2009.

According to a press release, the goal of the investment is to aid Las Vegas, Nevada-based VSiN in expanding its video capabilities and data offering. Plus, it will help the organization create and distribute compelling and actionable sports gambling content.

Hall of Fame Sportscaster Brent Musburger

Hall of Fame Sportscaster Brent Musburger is VSiN’s co-founder. Additionally, he has served as its lead on-air personality since leaving ESPN and ABC Sports in 2017.

Musburger has developed a reputation for fitting thinly-veiled gambling references into his broadcasts. However, with VSiN, the veil has been lifted.

A May 2018 US Supreme Court decision lifted a federal ban on sports betting, creating an emerging US sports betting market across states willing to legalize it. Plus, a growing demand for sports betting media and information networks like VSiN.

Howard said SeventySix Capital wants in the US sports betting market. Plus, the media and information side of things is a critical aspect of it:

“If someone is going to place a sports bet, credible information is crucial. My partners and I at SeventySix Capital are investing in the elements within the sports betting industry that consumers need, including data collection, analytics and, now, media.”

Kimmel’s family owns the two-time United States Football League champion Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars. He said the growing US sports betting sector made VSiN a viable investment for the sports tech venture capitalists:

“The sports betting industry is projected to be over $250 billion by 2020 and we believe that VSiN is positioned to capture a significant share of the media and analytics segment of this new market. We’re excited to partner with the VSiN team to build the media network for the sports betting industry.”

The growth of US sports gambling

VSiN Co-Founder, Chairman and Musberger’s nephew Brian Musburger said the investment comes at a perfect time:

“This investment comes at an exciting time, as the legalization of sports gambling across the country is driving an evolution within the sports media space. This will change the way people watch sports. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Wayne, Ryan and the SeventySix Capital team are taking this ride with us. The team’s knowledge and expertise within sports and technology make them an essential partner. We’re looking forward to leveraging their expertise and relationships to capitalize on the huge and rapidly growing opportunity within the sports betting space.”

VSiN debuted in 2017. It started out producing three hours of live programming. However, it now has a subscription-based product broadcasting 24 hours a day on SiriusXM and vsin.com.

SeventySix Capital and sports

SeventySix Capital also has a strategic partnership with Rubicon Talent. Rubicon is a New York sports marketing and talent agency. It represents baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. and NFL stars Emmanuel Sanders, Greg Olsen, Mark Ingram, and DeMarco Murray.

Terms of SeventySix Capital’s VSiN investment are not available. However, estimates have it in the seven-figure range.

The PA DFS Market Features Two Top Dogs And Eight Also Rans

Two months into regulated fantasy sports in Pennsylvania, it’s a two-horse race, with DraftKings and FanDuel generating over $1 million in monthly revenues.

Now two months into regulated fantasy sports in Pennsylvania, the local market is proving to be a two-horse race. And in this race, the country’s leading daily fantasy sports operators have been trading spots at the top.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released its second monthly Fantasy Sports Contests revenue report this week. The report shows fees collected from Pennsylvania fantasy sports players, adjusted revenue for operators, and the tax revenue the state will ultimately collect from them.

Over $1 million in monthly fantasy sports revenue

According to the report, the ten approved fantasy sports operators in the state generated $1,017,862.32 in revenue in June. Thanks to a 15 percent tax charged on adjusted revenue reported by the operators, the state expects to collect $152,679.34 in taxes for the month.

Fantasy sports operators reported $1,331,706.34 in revenue in May. The state claimed $199,755.94 of that in taxes. As a result, regulated fantasy sports has generated $352,435.28 in tax revenue since it launched.

Most of the tax revenue continues to be generated by the country’s top two daily fantasy sports operators: FanDuel and DraftKings.

FanDuel and DraftKings trade top spot

New York-based FanDuel led PA fantasy sports operators in May, generating $673,013.94 in revenue. Boston-based DraftKings was a close second, posting $632,008.62 in revenue.

However, DraftKings took over the top spot in June, generating $511,234.93 in revenue. This time around, it was FanDuel coming a close second to its rival operator with $490,038.78 in revenue.

The eight other approved fantasy sports operators in PA combined to generate less than $17,000 in revenue in June. In fact, two reported no revenue and one operated at a loss. Here is a look at the other DFS operators:

  • DRAFT ($10,192.32)
  • Fantasy Draft ($4,392.37)
  • Sportshub Technologies ($1,570.69)
  • Boom Fantasy ($639.93)
  • Fastpick ($62.48)
  • Full Time Fantasy Sports (No revenue)
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship (No revenue)
  • Yahoo Fantasy Sports (-$269.18)

Each posted similar numbers in May, proving that, so far, the PA fantasy sports market appears to be an oligopoly, with FanDuel and DraftKings the only two entities generating tangible revenues.

Fantasy sports are essentially a form of sports betting. Players compete against each other in contests where each player drafts a team of pro athletes and earns various points based on the real-life statistical performance of those athletes.

Fantasy sports in PA

Pennsylvania residents may have been playing in fantasy sports contests on sites like DraftKings and FanDuel for the past few years. However, the state did not legalize the contests until it passed comprehensive gambling expansion legislation in October 2017.

The first regulated fantasy sports contests in PA ran at the beginning of May, marking the launch of the first new form of gambling made legal under the legislation.

FanDuel and DraftKings have dominated the US daily fantasy sports market since they launched in 2009 and 2012 respectively. In 2016, the two companies planned a merger. However, it was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission in 2017, because it would have left a single entity controlling a 90 percent market share.

Photo by Cheryl Ann Quigley / Shutterstock.com

Latest Caesars Restructuring Puts Harrah’s Philadelphia In New Hands

Caesars is selling its Harrah’s Philadelphia in a sale and lease-back deal with bankruptcy spin-off real estate investment trust VICI Properties Inc.

Caesars Entertainment is selling its Harrah’s Philadelphia casino and racetrack property in Chester. However, the property won’t exactly be changing hands.

The US casino giant announced this week it had struck another sale and lease-back deal with bankruptcy spin-off real estate investment trust (REIT) VICI Properties Inc. This deal will sell Harrah’s Philadelphia for $82.5 million in cash and then lease it back. As such, Caesars will continue to run the casino and racetrack.

Additionally, a similar deal was struck to sell and lease back its Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada for $507.5 million in cash.

The Harrah’s Philadelphia transaction will close in the fourth quarter of this year.

VICI Properties and Caesars

VICI Properties was born out of Caesars’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2015. Caesars split into two companies, a REIT taking ownership of its casinos, and an operating company that continued to manage them. REIT’s are designed to allow small investors into large real estate investments and provide certain tax breaks.

At the time, some members of US Congress members opposed the reorganization, claiming that allowing Caesars to create a REIT amounted to giving a taxpayer-funded subsidy to one of the largest casino companies in the country.

However, the spin-off went ahead regardless. VICI Properties launched in 2017 with ownership of 19 Caesars casino properties, including its flagship Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

Now, VICI Properties calls itself one of the country’s largest owners of gaming, hospitality, and entertainment destinations.

The company struck another sale and lease-back deal for Harrah’s Las Vegas in December 2017 and its portfolio now includes 20 casino properties. The properties are all leased to Caesars Entertainment and continue to operate under brands including:

  • Caesars
  • Horseshoe
  • Harrah’s
  • Bally’s

In fact, VICI Properties now boasts 36.6 million square feet of space, 14,500 hotel rooms and more than 150 restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

MGM Growth Properties made an estimated $5.9 billion offer to buy the company in January of this year. Howeve, VICI’s board rejected the offer. VICI went public in February 2018, raising $1.2 billion through its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

Harrah’s Philadelphia opened as Harrah’s Chester in 2006. It was originally a harness racing track overlooking the Delaware River. However, slot machines were added within the first four months. Construction cost an estimated $400 million.

The casino and racetrack sit just off I-95. Additionally, it is only a half-hour drive from the center of Philadelphia.

Harrah’s Chester became Harrah’s Philadelphia in 2012. Additionally, three new restaurants opened at that time and the property launched a summer concert series.

The casino now features more than 2,800 slots and 125 table games. Additionally, it houses a World Series of Poker-branded poker room. It is the fourth-largest grossing casino in Pennsylvania. The 5⁄8 mile racetrack features a limestone-based surface.

In connection with the sale of Harrah’s Philadelphia to VICI Properties, Caesars will face some near-term rent increases.

Caesars Entertainment calls itself the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment provider. In fact, it now operates 47 casinos in 13 states and five different countries.

Photo by cheapbooks / Shutterstock.com

PA Casinos Claiming New Online Lottery Games Violate The Law

PA casino operators wrote a letter to PA Revenue Secretary Daniel Hassell this week claiming Pennsylvania’s new online lottery games violate state law.

Are Pennsylvania’s new online instant win lottery games too much like casino games?

Pennsylvania’s 13 casino license holders seem to think so, and they want state lawmakers to do something about it.

This week, operators of the state’s 12 casinos, and a 13th now under construction in Philadelphia, penned a letter to PA Revenue Secretary Daniel Hassell claiming Pennsylvania’s new iLottery online games violate state law:

“In virtually every way imaginable, (the Pennsylvania) Lottery’s iLottery program mimics a casino operation offering simulated casino-style games in direct contravention of (the law’s) express prohibition on (the Pennsylvania) Lottery offering ‘interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style games.'”

PA Lottery online instant win games

The Pennsylvania Lottery launched 11 online instant win games at the end of May 2018. There are now 12 of the games available on the new PAilottery.com website and PA Lottery mobile app. These games represent the first legal and regulated online gambling products available in Pennsylvania.

State lawmakers authorized the launch of online gambling and online lottery products in October 2017. However, the regulatory and licensing process for online casinos is still underway.

There is little doubt the online instant win lottery games closely resemble online slots. However, they are perhaps best described as stripped down versions of online slots.

The PA iLottery games do not feature the same high-quality graphics, high-end soundtracks, and interactive video displays many of today’s most popular modern online slots employ. Nor do they feature themes based popular films, TV shows, bands, and musicians like online slots.

Both are purely luck based games in which computerized random number generators determine the outcome of each play. However, the differences may end there, with instant win online lottery games featuring a bit of a different look and feel than that of online slots.

Pennsylvania online lottery law

Pennsylvania law clearly includes regulations preventing the Pennsylvania Lottery from offering online lottery games that use casino themes or simulate casino game play.

Now, PA casinos are saying the PA Lottery’s instant win online games resemble slot machines enough to violate that law:

“Overall, the games essentially have the same backbone as a slot machine; an outcome that is determined by a random number generator with animated graphics and computer operations used to provide a visual depiction of that outcome.”

In fact, the letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says the casinos want the games removed by next Tuesday.  Or else they will consider all actions available to them.

Part of the casinos complaints seem to revolve around the idea the lottery’s instant win online games give the organization an unfair advantage in the emerging PA online gambling market.

The Lottery got a head start, having already launched online. Plus, its games are available to players 18 and up instead of 21 and over at the casinos. Plus, as a government-run agency, the PA Lottery isn’t subject to same $4 million to $10 million in licensing fees potential online casinos are.

The casino operators also claim payout percentages are similar to slots. Plus, the lottery is using free play and player loyalty programs to market the games. These are literally the same tools casinos employ to draw players in.

The Department of Revenue agreed in part with the argument. The group ordered the PA Lottery to change its marketing approach and remove any language calling the games slot-like.

Signup Now and get $5 Free Play at PA iLottery!

PA online lottery proving successful

In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Lottery’s new online instant win lottery games are proving to be a big success.

In fact, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue communications director Jeffrey A. Johnson told The Times Leader that $21.6 million has been bet on the games through June 30.

Additionally, approximately 45,000 unique players have signed up for iLottery accounts. Plus, the iLottery has awarded $18.7 million in prizes already. Which would mean the iLottery generated close to $3 million in revenue in its first month.

PA Gaming Board Hands Out Close To Half A Million In Fines

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board dished out a total of $481,116 in fines to one casino and a variety of gaming services firms this week.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) dished out close to half a million dollars in fines last week.

In fact, the Board levied a total of $481,116 in fines to one casino and a variety of gaming services firms at its latest public meeting in Harrisburg on June 27.

The largest fine went to a Nevada-based gaming manufacturer and distributor. Apparently, the firm was doing business with Pennsylvania casinos without proper authorization from the Board, or its knowledge.

American Gaming Systems (AGS) was hit with a $351,271.40 fine. The Board says AGS failed to disclose its intellectual property purchase agreement with a New Jersey casino games company called In Bet Gaming. AGS also did business with PA casinos through In Bet Gaming. Plus, it received proceeds from that business, without gaining authorization or a license from the Board.

In Bet Gaming is authorized by PGCB to conduct gaming related business with PA casinos. A $55,744.60 fine was also levied against it.

PGCB says Pennsylvania licensing requirements were circumvented when games in which AGS holds the intellectual property right were operated in PA casinos.

Super 4 Blackjack Progressive

AGS manufactures and distributes a variety of casino games and slots, including a number of Asian-themed slot machines. Plus, the company produces various versions of traditional table games like Baccarat and Blackjack.

It also runs a number of social casino mobile apps on its own and for various casino partners. For the most part, it’s clients are in the Native American gaming market.

In Bet Gaming is a casino game developer. The company has developed a variety of Blackjack and Baccarat side wager and progressive wager games. The games are in various casinos across the US. In Bet Gaming’s website claims its Super 4 Blackjack Progressive game is available in Pennsylvania. In fact, it lists Valley Forge Casino Resort and Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack as locations where the game can be found.

However, AGS bought five games from In Bet Gaming in October 2017, including Super 4 Blackjack Progressive.

As part of the purchase agreement, AGS received the five games and approximately 500 installations of those games. In addition to Super 4 Blackjack Progressive, the other games include:

  • Blackjack Match Progressive
  • Jackpot Blackjack
  • Royal 9
  • Jackpot Baccarat

AGS also purchased In Bet Gaming’s In Between and Criss Cross Poker games in 2014.

Super 4 Blackjack side bets win when the dealer shows an ace. Players trigger the Super 4 Bonus if the dealer makes Blackjack. This allows them to combine their cards with the dealer’s cards to make a four-card poker hand. Various four-card poker hands offer the opportunity to win progressive jackpots.

Excess free slot play

Additionally, a $50,000 fine was levied against operators of Valley Forge Casino Resort. The board says  Valley Forge was guilty of giving out what it calls excess amounts of free slot play.

According to PGCB regulations, PA casinos must impose limits on the amount of free slot play an organization can give away. Plus, they must impose limits on the number of employees who can give it away.

An investigation by the PGCB’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement revealed that in 2015 and 2016, various amounts of free slot play was awarded to Valley Forge players by employees who were not authorized to do so. Plus, authorized employees gave away more than approved levels.

Finally, a Nevada-based slot machine provider, licensed to do business with PA casinos, filed financial statements late.

A $24,100 fine was levied against Ditronics Financial Services as a result.

Photo by  nrqemi / Shutterstock.com

Signup Now and get $5 Free Play at PA iLottery!

More Losers Than Winners When It Comes To May Casino Revenue

May was a decent month for PA casinos with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reporting slight increases in combined table game and slots revenues.

May was a decent month for PA casinos with revenues pretty much holding steady across the board.

In fact, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) reported a slight increase in combined table game and slots revenues for the state’s 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos and two smaller resort casinos. As a result, combined total gaming revenues were up 0.43 percent from $277.7 million in May 2017 to $278.9 million last month.

Statewide table game revenues were up 0.6 percent from $74.4 million in May 2017 to $74.9 million last month. Additionally, statewide slot revenues were up 0.37 percent from $203.2 million in May 2017 to $203.99 million in May 2018.

More than $118 million in taxes

The state collected more than $118 million in taxes from the casinos. A little over $106 million of that came from the 25,840 slot machines operating at Pennsylvania casinos. Another $12,058,720 came from the 1,271 table games in operation.

Parx Casino in Bensalem held on to its spot as the states top revenue generating casino. It posted total gaming revenues of $51.7 million, up 7.11 percent from the same month last year.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem continued to post second-place numbers, despite seeing total gaming revenues decline 3.3 percent from $48.2 million in May 2017 to $46.6 million last month.

Valley Forge Casino Resort saw the biggest percentage increase in revenue from last May. In fact, the King of Prussia casino saw a 25.18 percent increase in total gaming revenues from $9.3 million in May 2017 to $11.7 million last month.

The Philadelphia-area casino paid $1 million to the state to eliminate it’s $10 resort fee for customers at the end of last year. It has seen traffic at the property and revenues climb substantially ever since.

PA casino movers and shakers:

Four of 12 PA casinos saw increases in total gaming revenue in May 2018, including:

Unfortunately, the other eight open and operating casinos in the state all saw revenue declines in May.

Mount Airy Casino Resort reported the biggest revenue drop. It saw revenues decline 9.62 percent from $17.2 million in May 2017 to $15.5 million last month.

Here’s a look at the eight PA casinos reporting revenue declines in May 2018:

Below is a pie chart examining May 2018 PA casino market share courtesy of PlayPennsylvania.com:

Additionally, here is a complete May 2018 PA casino revenue analysis also courtesy of PlayPennsylvania.com:

Carlisle Tells Parx No Means No On That Mini-Casino

The Harrisburg suburb of Carlisle is making it clear it doesn’t want a mini-casino despite the persistence of Parx Casino’s effort to put one there.

The Harrisburg suburb of Carlisle is making it quite clear it really doesn’t want a mini-casino.

When lawmakers authorized the construction of up to 10 mini-casinos across the state as a part of a gambling expansion law passed in October 2017, they gave PA municipalities an out.

Individual municipalities that didn’t want casino gambling inside their borders could simply opt-out by passing a resolution, then forwarding it to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) before the end of the year.

More than 1,000 of Pennsylvania’s 2,500 municipalities opted out, including Carlisle.

In fact, Carlisle council voted 4-2 in December 2017 to opt out of allowing a mini-casino there. However, that hasn’t stopped the company behind the state’s top-grossing casino from trying to change its mind.

The persistence of Parx

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, owner and operator of Parx Casino & Racing in Bensalem, won the fourth auction for PA mini-casino construction rights in February after a bit of drama.

Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC, owner Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, actually submitted the highest bid. It’s $9.9 million bid was accepted by the board, until board members figured out the area where Sands planned to build intruded on an area already claimed in a previous winning bid. That previous bid was from the owners of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Sands’ bid was invalidated and Greenwood’s second-biggest $8.1 million bid to build in Cumberland County was accepted instead.

That gave Greenwood six months to submit an application for a Category 4 slot machine license. The application must include specific details regarding the exact location where it plans to build a mini-casino in Cumberland.

At the time, Greenwood officials said the growing population in Cumberland and surrounding counties, and the Interstate 81 corridor running through it, made it a perfect location. Each Category 4 mini-casino can operate between 300 and 750 slot machines and 30 table games. The operators can also petition PGCB after one year to add 10 more table games.

Last month, it became clear Greenwood officials were eyeing Carlisle as a possible location. In fact, in an effort to get it to rescind its previous resolution and opt back into allowing mini-casinos, they met with Carlisle council.

The Greenwood Gaming pitch

Greenwood Gaming CEO Anthony Ricci made a presentation to council May 2 claiming a mini-casino in Carlisle could bring in 250 full-time, permanent and above minimum wage jobs. Plus, it would inject as much as $50 million into the local community.

Additionally, Ricci said the operation would put $1 million into both Carlisle and Cumberland County coffers.

However, according to The Sentinel, a daily newspaper based in Carlisle, several residents in attendance raised serious concerns about what a mini-casino would do to the area.

One called slot machines the crack cocaine of gambling. Others claimed gambling targets the poor and addiction-prone.

The overwhelming sentiment appeared to be Carlisle residents don’t want the negative consequences often perceived to come with casino gambling.

Carlisle gives a clear no

A week later, Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott opened the Carlisle council meeting with a simple statement. He said the council was not in favor of a mini-casino there. With the majority opposed, there are no plans to take up the issue any further.

Mayor Scott also posted on the social media site Nextdoor claiming council had no plans to reconsider its decision to opt out on mini-casinos.

Rumors had Greenwood Gaming eyeing a soon-to-be-empty Bon-Ton store at The Point at Carlisle Plaza Mall. Now it appears it will have to look elsewhere. But if Greenwood remains focused on the I-81 corridor, that could prove tough. Like Carlisle, several area municipalities have already opted out.

Greenwood Gaming’s six months to apply for a license with location details will be up in August.

Delaware’s First Legal Sports Bet Was On A Pennsylvania Team

Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to launch legal single-game sports wagering on Tuesday, with Delaware Gov. John Carney making the first bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs.

Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to launch legal single-game sports wagering on Tuesday, with Delaware Gov. John Carney making the first bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs.

Born in Delaware, Gov. Carney admitted to being a life-long Philadelphia sports fan. He said he wouldn’t think of betting on teams from any other city:

“Today, I’m going to be the first here outside of Las Vegas to make a legal wager on one of those Philadelphia teams: The Fightin’ Phils… There will be no bets from this governor on any other teams than the Philadelphia teams.”

The Delaware state capital of Dover is just 80 miles from Philadelphia. Plus, Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, is just 30 miles away.

At 1:30 p.m. when the betting windows officially opened inside Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Gov. Carney bet $10 on the Philadelphia Phillies verses the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The money line on the Phillies was +200. The Phillies went on to beat the Cubs 6-1.

Delaware sports betting

Delaware announced last week full-scale sports betting operations would launch at all three Delaware casinos on Tuesday.

In addition to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, the state’s casinos include:

  • Delaware Park
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino

The Delaware Lottery single-game wagering sports betting product, Sports Pick, is now available at sportsbooks inside all three casinos.

The Delaware Lottery already offered NFL parlay betting, a product that will continue to be available at various lottery retailers and bars. However, full-scale sports wagering is only available at sportsbooks inside the casinos.

The US Supreme Court‘s May 14 decision to declare the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional opened the door for states to join Nevada in legalizing single-game sports wagering.

New Jersey fought PASPA in the courts, but lawmakers there are still putting together regulatory sports betting legislation. Delaware was able to open up its local sports betting market first because the legal framework for sports betting inside its borders was already there.

Pennsylvania sports betting

Pennsylvania passed sports betting legislation pending the Supreme Court decision as a part of a comprehensive gambling expansion bill given the thumbs up by lawmakers in October 2017.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board invited the state’s 13 existing casino license holders to apply for the right to establish sportsbooks last week. However, PA casinos appear to have balked at the $10 million licensing fee and 36 percent sports betting tax rate the state plans to charge. So far, no casino has applied for a sportsbook license in PA.

For now, Pennsylvanians who want to bet legally on sports will have to go to Delaware to do it.

Fortunately, Delaware Park is just 45 minutes from Philadelphia. Plus, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway & Casino are both less than a two-hour drive away.

Photo by Donald B. Kravitz, DBKphoto / Shutterstock.com