PA On Track To Soon See Significant Increase In Jobs And Revenues From Slots Gaming
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Director of Operations today announced that current slots casino projects scheduled to be operational by July 2009 could result in a 40% increase in revenues and create nearly 3,000 more jobs.
In a public report provided today, Kevin Hayes told the Board that the upgrade from temporary to permanent facilities at two racetracks, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, PA and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs near Wilkes-Barre, along with two new stand-alone facilities, Sands Bethworks in Bethlehem and Majestic Star Casino in Pittsburgh may produce an increase in gross terminal revenue of $650 million. This would mean the amount of taxes collected by the Commonwealth would increase on an annualized basis by nearly $360 million based on the 55% tax rate.
“Within the next 15 months, the Commonwealth will see an expansion of gaming which nearly parallels what we saw in the combined years of 2006 and 2007,” Hayes reported. “In particular, the tremendous scope and size of two new projects, Sands Bethworks and Majestic Star, will drive this significant increase.”
Based on the expected per machine revenue after the opening of these facilities, Hayes estimates that gross terminal revenue by mid 2009 could grow to an annualized level of approximately $2.28 billion. All licensed facilities are scheduled to have a combined 24,123 slot machines in operation at that time. Should that revenue be reached, Commonwealth citizens would see a return of $1.23 billion of taxes annually, the largest portion of that going toward property tax relief.
In addition, Hayes told the Board that these four projects will produce approximately 3,750 new permanent jobs along with 4,700 construction-related jobs. Currently, the seven operating facilities employ 6,000 persons.
These figures do not include additional projects licensed but not scheduled to open until after July 2009. Those projects are the permanent facility at Philadelphia Park Casino in Bensalem that is under construction and scheduled for opening in late 2009, and two approved Philadelphia projects, SugarHouse Casino and Foxwoods Casino, neither which has broken ground.
The estimates also do not include three other licenses that could be awarded under the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Under the Act, the Board could award another slots operator license at a racetrack and two licenses are existing resorts. The Board will begin the public hearing process next week on applications seeking those licenses.
“The progress made to build a new revenue-producing industry in Pennsylvania within just a few short years has been tremendous,” said Board Chairman Mary DiGiacomo Colins. “At the same time, there is no shortage of hard work ahead for our staff and the operators as we strive to fully realize the mandate of the Legislature and the Governor to help build and regulate safe operations that will produce sustainable revenues.”
A copy of the report presented by Hayes is available under the “What’s New” section on the homepage of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board website, www.pgcb.state.pa.us.