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Pennsylvania gambling revenue up about $60 million, boosted by sports betting

Pennsylvania state and local governments raked in $1.39 billion in tax revenue last year from gamblers, compared to $1.34 million the previous year.

The SugarHouse Casino March 18, 2019, along the Delaware River.
The SugarHouse Casino March 18, 2019, along the Delaware River.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Pennsylvania reported a 1.8 percent annual increase in gambling revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, boosted by last year’s launch of sports betting and fantasy sports contests.

Gaming operators took in — and gamblers lost — a record $3.3 billion last year, up about $60 million from the previous year, according to year-end figures released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Sports betting, which launched in November, accounted for $21.7 million in revenue last year. Fantasy sports contests, an online game where participants assemble teams of real players of a professional sport, took in $23.6 million last year. Fantasy sports launched in May 2018.

State and local governments raked in $1.39 billion in tax revenue last year, compared with $1.34 billion the previous year.

Slot machines accounted for 72 percent of all gaming revenue last year, about $2.4 billion, up 1 percent from the previous year. Table games took in $886 million, down about 1 percent from previous year.

» READ MORE: Pa.’s first sports-betting casino attracts a younger crowd

Though sports wagering is not expected to challenge traditional casino games for generating revenue, public officials and industry experts say the new offerings are a growth opportunity because they attract a new audience to casinos.

The May launch of online sports betting, as well as this week’s inauguration of internet casino betting, are expected to boost revenue in the coming year.

The early results of online sports betting suggest there is a strong consumer interest, which should come as no surprise because New Jersey already reports that 80 percent of its sports bets are placed online, rather than in casinos.

SugarHouse Casino, the first casino to report a full month’s online sports wagering data, said that half of its $932,000 in sports-betting revenue in June came from online bettors, according to Gaming Board data released Thursday.

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