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January 6, 2014

Slots post first year-end revenue decline

PENNSYLVANIA — Annual revenue from Pennsylvania slot machines has dipped for the first time since the state’s first casino opened in 2006, reflecting increased competition from border states, Pennsylvania regulators said Friday.

After six consecutive years of growth, gross revenue from Pennsylvania’s slot machines declined 3.5 percent to less than $2.4 billion in calendar year 2013, according to figures released by the Gaming Control Board. The state, which taxes slots at about 55 percent, collected nearly $1.3 billion.

“There continues to be increased casino competition from all of Pennsylvania’s bordering states and that certainly is affecting year-over-year revenue,” gaming board spokesman Doug Harbach said.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie posted the biggest decline of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos, down more than 13 percent. Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino was the only facility to gain, up less than 1 percent.

For the month of December, revenue from the state’s 26,591 slot machines decreased 8.7 percent to $178 million.

Table games, which were introduced in July 2010, are still showing strong growth. Revenue from table games increased in nine of the first 11 months of 2013. December and annual table-game revenues will be released later this month.

Despite last year’s slot-machine stumble, Pennsylvania’s gambling market remains the nation’s second-largest after Las Vegas in terms of gross revenue, and No. 1 in taxes collected.

Pennsylvania uses casino revenue to support the state budget, public schools, civic development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and the horse racing industry.

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