A week before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board releases the gaming industry’s official revenue report for March, the board’s executive director teased that it will contain exceptional news.
It was a record-setting month for online casinos, for brick-and-mortar table games, and for industry revenue overall, Kevin O’Toole told board members at the start of their monthly meeting Wednesday morning. O’Toole normally lets the revenue numbers speak for themselves each month, but he made an exception this time due to the extent of the positive results.
While allowing that the numbers still were just “preliminary,” O’Toole said that the overall gaming revenue in March exceeding $463 million, including $118 million from iCasinos and $94 million from table games inside the 16 casinos, represented “an excellent month of revenue production.”
Pennsylvania’s legal, commercial gaming industry generated $4.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to exceed $5 billion this year due to continued expansion. Its success and growth are of key importance to government officials, as Pennsylvania’s budget relies on more revenue from gambling than is the case in any other state. That is due to both the wide range of gaming options available and their comparatively high tax rates.
“The future does look good,” O’Toole summarized for board members in previewing the numbers.
More than $200,000 in fines though
The potential pitfalls within the industry, meanwhile, were reflected at the board meeting in the form of fines totaling $238,500 imposed through consent agreements with six different companies. Their handling of patrons who had admitted gambling problems, were underage, or were visibly intoxicated were among the issues resulting in an unusually high number of penalties discussed this month.
The violators and their fines were as follows:
- Gaming Partners International USA and GPI Mexicana S.A. de C.V., which both hold table games manufacturer licenses, were each fined $85,500 for filing their audited financial statements for 2019 and 2020 long past their deadlines to do so.
- Hollywood Casino at the Meadows was fined $40,000 for overserving alcohol to three different individuals last May, one of whom injured himself and two of whom tangled in altercations with either other patrons, casino security staff, or police.
- Mohegan Sun Pocono agreed to pay $10,000 after an individual on the state’s self-exclusion list — meaning they have an admitted problem and are supposed to stay out of casinos — not only played slot machines for hours but was able to use a personal check at the cashier’s cage to obtain $400 to continue gambling.
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia was also assessed a $10,000 fine for failing to keep a 20-year-old male from gaining access to the floor and playing high-limit blackjack, before he was evicted after his girlfriend tipped off the casino’s security staff.
- Rivers Pittsburgh has to pay $7,500 for a technical violation, in failing to remove from 12 of its slot machines a type of software that the PGCB had deemed no longer permitted.
Hearings ahead on Rivers Philadelphia, Valley Forge
The gaming board has announced two public input hearings scheduled this month where individuals and organizations may comment on separate license renewals required every five years of Rivers Philadelphia and Valley Forge Casino Resort.
The Rivers Philadelphia hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 26 at the SEPTA office in Philadelphia, while the Valley Forge hearing will be at 10:30 a.m. April 27 at the Upper Merion Township Building in Montgomery County.
More information on the hearings and the ability to speak at them is offered on the gaming board’s website.