PA Gaming Review: Gambling Revenue Shines But Stormy Skies For Pace-O-Matic

Written By Kevin Shelly on January 22, 2020
Cloudy skies for PA skill games

In this week’s PA gaming review, we highlight gaming revenue numbers from December, which continued an upward trend across the board. Also, PA skill games manufacturer Pace-O-Matic lost its bid in court to prevent further seizure of its machines.

Pennsylvania is also connected to the relaunching of the Congressional Gaming Caucus, thanks to the involvement of a Congress member from the state.

Congressional gaming caucus co-chaired by PA house member

Pennsylvania Congressman Guy Reschenthaler is helping to relaunch the Congressional Gaming Caucus.

Reschenthaler and Rep. Bennie Thompson (Mississippi) will co-chair the caucus, starting with the current session of Congress. The caucus of more than 30 members will discuss federal policy issues connected to the country’s casino industry.

Rep. Reschenthaler (R – Jefferson Hills) told PlayPennsylvania why he is co-chairing the revived caucus:

“Over the last several decades, the U.S. gaming industry has expanded beyond traditional gaming markets to benefit new communities, including those in southwestern Pennsylvania. I’ve witnessed firsthand how the gaming industry helps create jobs and drives economic growth in our communities.

As co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Caucus, I look forward to working with the industry and other stakeholders to build on the progress we have already seen in southwestern Pennsylvania and throughout the nation.”

Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, said the relaunch topped the trade group’s to-do list.

In 2010, the casino industry accounted for $125 billion in spending and 820,000 jobs. Today,  the numbers are $261 billion in spending and 1.8 million jobs.

State Police may resume seizing Pace-O-Matic “skill game” machines

The ongoing battle between Pace-O-Matic (POM), the largest manufacturer of PA “skill games” in the state, and state authorities continued this week. POM was requesting to continue the order shielding their games from seizure by State Police.

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge denied POM’s request on Tuesday morning after listening to key stakeholders at last week’s hearing.

The ruling means police can resume seizing the Pennsylvania skill games, along with the money within them.

The ruling stated:

After careful consideration, this Court finds that POM has not met its burden of proving that the injunction is necessary to preserve the status quo, that the injunction is reasonably suited to abate the offending activity, or that the injunction will not adversely affect the public interest.

Healthy revenue increases across all verticals

Pennsylvania’s three online casino verticals – slotstable games, and poker – combined to produce $10.62 million in revenue for December 2019.

That figure represents a healthy 10.3% increase from November when revenue was $9.65 million, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

And Pennsylvania sports betting hit a record $342.6 million in wagers in December. Following a growing trend, nearly 87% of all those bets were placed online.

The year 2019 saw the birth of eight online sportsbooks. Among them, FanDuel Sportsbook continues its dominance as the top operator, with DraftKings Sportsbook working on closing the gap.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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