Pennsylvania Strikes Gold In March With Record $403 Million Gaming Revenue, $167 Million Tax Jackpot

Written By Kevin Shelly on April 16, 2021

Revenue figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) are staggering, with total revenue from all forms of regulated gambling generating more than $403.1 million in March.

That’s a 162% increase compared to March a year ago when anti-virus protocols mandated by the state shut down many forms of wagering.

The March 2021 figure is the first month the combined revenue exceeded $400 million. The previous high was October 2020, when revenue was $320.2 million.

Combining the first three months of 2021, this was the first time PA gaming revenue topped $1 billion in a single quarter.

Online casino and sports betting continue strong in PA

Placing the numbers in the COVID-19 context, this March’s revenue figures were 27% above March 2019, when the total revenue was nearly $316.3 million.

Online gaming revenue in March approached $100 million.

PA sportsbooks took $560.3 million in bets while earning about $29.3 million in revenue. Of all sports wagers placed in March, 91% were made online.

The aggregate revenue number includes slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and online sports wagering, fantasy contests, and video gaming terminals.

With record revenue, comes a record tax haul

The huge revenue number also meant a record month for total taxes, with state and local entities claiming $166.8 million.

Of that massive haul, land-based slots account for the majority, but iGaming is also pulling its weight, responsible for nearly a quarter of tax revenue.

PA tax breakdown by gaming vertical in March

  • Slots (land-based): 61.0%
  • Tables (land-based): 6.9%
  • iGaming: 24.5%
  • Sports betting: 6.3%
  • VGT: 1.1%

PA slots revenue dropped compared to 2019

March’s gross revenue from slots was nearly $199.3 million, a 127.6% increase in revenue compared to the more than $87.5 million generated a year ago when the virus restrictions closed casinos for half the month.

But when comparing pre-pandemic slot revenue from March 2019 to this March, there was a 12% decrease with nearly $226.6 million two years ago.

The number of slot machines operating in March 2021 was 19,727 compared to 24,104 the year before.

Tax revenue from slots this March was more than $101.7 million.

Table games revenue also down from two years ago

Table games revenue was more than $71.3 million, an increase of 115.6% from the previous March when revenue topped $33.1 million.

But the March 2019 comparison to March 2021 shows a 14% decrease with $82.5 million two years back.

Total tax revenue from table games play this March 2021 was nearly $11.5 million.

Online casino revenue

PA online casino games including online poker generated gross revenue of nearly $97.7 million this March compared to nearly $24.9 million in March 2020 when there were far fewer gaming sites. In March, the revenue for iGaming was the highest to date, eclipsing the previous record $80.4 million in January 2021.

Tax revenue generated from internet gaming during March 2021 was nearly $40.9 million.

Sports betting, VGTs and DFS pitch in too

Taxable revenue during March 2021 for sports wagering topped more than $29.3 million. In March of last year, the amount was around $6.9 million, thanks in part to the sudden shutdown of the sports calendar. Sports betting contributed $10.6 million to the tax revenue for the month.

Total adjusted revenue for March 2021 for VGTs was more than $3.6 million. By the close of March, four VGT operators had the maximum permitted five machines at 44 truck stops.

VGT revenue in March set a new record, eclipsing the previous high of more than $2.5 million in February of this year.

Daily Fantasy contests revenue was nearly $1.8 million, an increase of 148.5% over March 2020, when revenue was $724,000.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

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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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