New PGCB Report Finds Casinos Are In A More Giving Mood Than Last Year

Written By Kevin Shelly on October 3, 2019

Charitable giving and community outreach numbers for Pensylvania’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos bounced back slightly during the fiscal year 2018-19 after a sharp decline in 2017-18, per the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s annual diversity report.

Charity giving and community numbers had dropped more than $5 million between 2016-17, when more than $19 million was given, down to around $14 million the following fiscal year.

The most recent 2018-19 fiscal year ticked giving upwards, with charitable and community giving numbers totaling $14,157,307.

One casino with a record of leading the giving category, Parx Casino, gave in excess of $10 million during the last fiscal year. During each of the past three years, Parx gave more than 70% of the charitable and community money provided by all of the casinos combined.

Numbers remained stable across the other categories of race and gender tracked by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). The report shows casinos across the board in PA had relatively similar percentages when it came to race, gender, and minority and women-owned businesses.

Casinos employed a total of 16,717 people at the end of the last fiscal year. In 2015 and 2016, total employment had stood at 18,033. That’s a reduction of the employee headcount over three years of more than 1,300.

Charitable and community giving numbers vary widely

Casinos overall have contributed more than $114 million to charity or community outreach since 2006, the PGCB report shows.

According to the PGCB’s Director of Diversity Mozelle Daniels:

Employees at the casinos consistently volunteer thousands of hours yearly to numerous organizations, fundraisers, neighborhood revitalization efforts, and educational pursuits throughout the Commonwealth. This support has led to greater economic success locally, regionally, and statewide, thereby creating revenue streams and income that benefit and strengthen everyone involved.

But charity and community giving numbers vary widely by property:

CasinosGiving for
FY 18/19
Giving for
FY 17/18
Giving for
FY 16/17
Parx Casino$10,594,504$9,833,689$14,384,799
Sugar House
Mount Airy Casino
River Casino$347,720$330,514$301,671
Lady Luck Nemacolin$328,629$467,822$533,386
Valley Forge Casino
Wind Creek
Mohegan Sun
Hollywood Casino at
Penn National
Presque Isle Downs
and Casino
Harrah's Philadelphia
Meadows Racetrack and Casino$40,724$66,467$120,492

Parx is a charitable giving leader across the years

During the three years tracked in the report, almost $25 million was provided by Parx, which is considered one of the top casino properties in the country outside of Nevada. It is the top revenue brick-and-mortar casino in PA.

Parx had given more than $14 million in the fiscal year 2016-17. But the casino dropped to about $9.8 million in the following fiscal year. Its giving rose by nearly $1 million in the just-passed fiscal year to $10,594,504.

In each of the past three fiscal years, Parx contributed the lion’s share of the overall charity and community giving.

Wind Creek giving tanked with property sale

Mount Airy Casino Resort, one of the smaller properties, had charitable and community giving just two years ago of only $76,298 but increased that to $419,932 in the most recent fiscal year.

Wind Creek Bethlehem, formerly the Sands, showed a steep drop, likely connected to its change in ownership, with $788,821 given three years back, down to $257,399 in the most recent year.

Meadows Racetrack and Casino was the least giving facility in the most recent fiscal year with contributions of just $40,724. Meadows had given $120,492 three years ago and $66,467 two years ago.

Harrah’s giving is consistently low

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino is a medium-sized property with 1,205 employees at the end of the last fiscal year, about half the number of employees as Parx, but nearly five times as many employees as Lady Luck Nemacolin.

Despite its size, Harrah’s consistently lags in its giving.

Three fiscal years ago, Harrah’s gave just $52,517. That increased to $102,360 the following year. But last year, the giving number plunged again to $72,257.

By comparison, far smaller Lady Luck’s giving most recently was $328,629. That small resort also far exceeded Harrah’s giving in the previous two years.

While not included because it is part of the ongoing fiscal year, SugarHouse Casino gave the Penn Treaty Special Services District a check for $1 million just this week. The foundation is made up of four neighborhoods near the casino.

SugarHouse has traditionally donated about $1.3 million during each of the past three years, the report shows.

Minority casino employment steady year-over-year

Residents of PA make up 90% of the casinos’ workforce.

About 43% of casino employees are female, a percentage that has remained stable in recent years. Minorities account for 38% of those employed at casinos overall.

Women are underrepresented among the executive, management, and professional staff, with just 37% of that segment of the workforce being female. Racial minorities account for 25% in the upper ranks of the workforce.

The racial makeup of the casino workforce has remained relatively static.

By percentage, Whites dropped from 64% to 62%. Blacks increased slightly to 15%. Hispanics rose to 8%. And Asians went from 12% to 13%. The Other category remained unchanged at 3%. Minorities account for 38% of those employed at casinos overall.

Kevin O’Toole, the executive director of the PGCB, highlighted the report during Wednesday’s monthly meeting.

He said the numbers show casinos “do engage in good faith efforts throughout the year to promote and ensure diversity and inclusiveness in all aspects of their casino operations.”

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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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