Pennsylvania casinos rank high in tax revenue

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When it comes to gambling meccas, you might want to start counting Pennsylvania among them.

Pennsylvania casinos generated more tax revenue last year than those in any other state and more gross revenue than any state but Nevada, according to a national American Gaming Association report released Monday.

The "State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment" found that the commonwealth's 11 casinos produced nearly $1.5 billion in tax revenue in 2012, up 2.1 percent from the previous year. Nevada placed second at $868.6 million and New York third at $822.7 million.

Pennsylvania also was first in 2011.

The ranking is attributable in part on Pennsylvania's rate of taxation on gambling revenues -- 55 percent for slot machines and 16 percent for table games -- among the highest in the country.

The report also found that state casinos generated $3.1 billion in gross revenue last year. Pennsylvania even finished ahead of New Jersey, whose revenues dropped 8 percent in 2012 because of Superstorm Sandy and regional competition, the report stated. Ohio's new casinos produced $429.8 million in revenue last year.

Among other findings, the Rivers Casino on the North Shore and The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane together ranked as the 17th-largest casino market in the United States, with $636.4 million in revenue. Philadelphia was sixth, with nearly $1.2 billion in revenue, and the Poconos ninth with $902.5 billion.

In addition, The Meadows, with $284.3 million in gross revenue, finished as the ninth-largest racetrack casino market in the country. Philadelphia was first, with $835.3 million in revenue.

Overall, gross gambling revenue in the United States hit $37.34 billion in 2012 -- the second-highest level ever. The only year it was higher was 2007, the year before the Great Recession.

"After three years of increasing growth and positive signs in all sectors of the industry, it's clear that we have weathered the recession," Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., AGA president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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