lot revenue for 2010 jumped about 16 % over 2009’s total of $1.96 billion, according to year-end figures released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Pennsylvania closed out the year with a strong December, taking in slot revenue of us$ 174.7 million, up nearly 13 % compared with the same month in 2009.
For now, Atlantic City’s 11 casino hotels maintain an edge in slot winnings over their 10 Pennsylvania rivals. Through November, Atlantic City grossed us$ 2.3 billion from the slot machines. Final year-end figures for Atlantic City will be reported Monday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
Competition from Pennsylvania and the sluggish economy have affected Atlantic City negatively. The resort town has suffered four straight years of declining revenue, including a 9 % drop in slot winnings and a 10 % decrease in table games revenue in the first 11 months of 2010.
In what would be a monumental shift in the market, Pennsylvania should be able to eclipse Atlantic City in slot revenue in 2011 if it maintains its double-digit growth and Atlantic City continues to falter.
Although Pennsylvania may leapfrog Atlantic City in slot winnings in 2011, Atlantic City’s table games should allow New Jersey to maintain an overall advantage in gambling revenue. Atlantic City is on track to gross more than us$ 1 billion from table games in 2010, while Pennsylvania’s nascent table games franchise is shaping up to be about a us$ 450 million to us$ 500 million per year industry.
Bob Griffin, CEO of the three Trump Entertainment Resorts casinos in Atlantic City, said Pennsylvania benefits from more liberal smoking policies and better tax incentives on its gambling promotions. Atlantic City restricts smoking to just 25 % of the gaming floor, while Pennsylvania’s casinos allow smokers to light up in 50 % of their gambling space. “I think the bottom line is, Pennsylvania has a competitive edge over New Jersey,” Griffin said.
New Jersey’s Legislature hopes to rejuvenate Atlantic City’s casinos through a package of bills that will encourage more gambling, tourism and investment. Plans for Internet gambling, sports betting and a tourist-friendly casino district top the legislative agenda, which is expected to be approved this month. “What we’ll see come out of the tourism bill is that New Jersey is not sitting idly by,” Griffin said. “I expect the legislation will pass to revitalize the industry and the city.”
Pennsylvania’s gaming industry got a boost in 2010 from September’s grand opening of the us$ 355 million SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and the introduction of Atlantic City-style table games in July. Year-end figures for Pennsylvania’s table games revenue will be reported later this month.
“2010 was another good year of solid growth in slot revenue,” said Kevin O’Toole, executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. “For the fourth year in a row, Pennsylvania saw an increase in revenue from legalized casino gaming, and with the popularity of table games, tax revenue should continue to grow throughout 2011.”