Pennsylvania has displaced Atlantic City as the country’s second-largest gaming market, now trailing only Las Vegas.
Whereas New Jersey last week reported that Atlantic City casinos brought in $3.05 billion in 2012 revenue, Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board on Wednesday announced the commonwealth’s 11 casinos took in nearly $3.16 billion last year.
Pennsylvania’s 2012 casino revenue increased 4.4 percent over the previous year, according to the Gaming Control Board, which allowed the state to leapfrog Atlantic City and take second place on the list of top U.S. gaming markets. Atlantic City’s revenues declined some 8 percent over the same period, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The year-over-year drop in Atlantic City includes the resort’s horrific results in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy.
While Atlantic City served for decades as the East Coast’s largest casino market, it took Pennsylvania just six years to surpass the seaside resort’s gaming revenues.
Also interesting is the disparity in gaming tax revenue collected by each state. Pennsylvania’s tax revenues for 2012 were $1.44 billion. That is the most of any state and more than six times New Jersey’s gaming tax revenues of about $217 million. Atlantic City casinos were also required to contribute about $38 million to projects approved by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Accounting for the difference in tax revenues are the gaming tax rates in each state. Pennsylvania has a blended tax rate for slots and table games of 55 percent. New Jersey’s gaming tax rate is 8 percent with another 1.25 percent in CRDA payments.
Although New Jersey casinos pay less in gaming taxes, the type of casinos that are in Atlantic City contribute economically in ways that Pennsylvania casinos do not. New Jersey’s casinos are also required to have large hotels. In some cases, Pennsylvania casinos are simply gambling halls with a handful of restaurants.