April 15th, 2010


Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Commonwealth Tower, Strawberry Square
303 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101


Doug Harbach or Richard McGarvey (717) 346-8321

PGCB Report Details Impact of Slot Machine Revenue On Pari-mutuel Wagering

HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today released the third annual Pari-Mutuel Wagering Benchmark Report that details the impact of slot machine play on the pari-mutuel horse racing industry in Pennsylvania.

With the addition of wagering statistics for 2009, this report expands previous comparisons on the status of pari-mutuel wagering over four years.   The report focuses on revenue from slots play and its impact on the various indicators of pari-mutuel health for the years 2006-2009 such as number of races, purse amounts, racing handle (the total amount wagered by patrons) and the export of live racing signals to other properties, both inside and outside Pennsylvania.

"The 2009 report continues to show trends that began in 2006, with the opening of the first slots facility, that include an increase in the number of horse races, an increase in the amount of funds for purses and an increase in slots play on racing days," said Gaming Control Board member and agriculturalist Gary A. Sojka.  "All of which demonstrates that the PA Race Horse Development and Gaming Act is having a positive impact on the horse racing industry and agriculture in the Commonwealth."

Highlights of the report include:

• In 2009, the average daily gross terminal revenue generated from slot machine gaming at horse and harness racing facilities was 15.27% higher on racing days vs. non-racing days, or $629,510 on racing days vs. $546,046 on non-racing days;

  • In 2009, there were nine slots facilities operating in Pennsylvania which collectively contributed $235.7 million to the PA Race Horse Development Fund, an increase of $41.8 million over 2008;
  • The industry total of live races in Pennsylvania increased by 9.08% from 10,578 races in 2008 to 11,539 races in 2009;
  • The industry total of live racing handle on-track increased by 2.35%  from $43.6 million in 2008 to $44.7 million in 2009;
  • The industry total of all exports (in-state and inter-state) from Pennsylvania increased by 5.80% from $649.8 million in 2008 to $687.4 million in 2009;
  • The industry total of all purses earned in Pennsylvania increased by 14.63% from $201.1 million in 2008 to $230.5 million in 2008;
  • Despite an increase in live races -  live racing handle - excluding export - decreased by 2.54% from 79.5 million in 2008 to $77.5 million in 2009.
  • Average daily handle generated from live races continues to decrease despite an increase in racing opportunities.
  • The industry total of all handle in Pennsylvania decreased by 11.07% from $825.1 million in 2008 to $733.8 million in 2009.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Greg Fajt says the report clearly demonstrates that the introduction of slot machine gaming at Pennsylvania race tracks has produced some positive results, but it also shows a numbers of areas that still need improvement for the longer term health of the horse racing industry in Pennsylvania.

"No one can doubt that the injection of hundreds of millions of dollars from slot machine play into the horse racing industry has rescued tracks from closure and saves thousands of jobs," Fajt says.  "At the same time, some amendments to the Gaming Act approved this year by the legislature recognize the importance of promoting the racing industry by requiring each horse racing track to report how they plan to promote live racing, and increase both the live handle and daily attendance at the licensed racetrack on a yearly basis.“

Sojka adds that continuing to support Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry through the growing revenue generated by legalized slots gaming has a direct impact on farmland preservation and a beneficial trickle-down economic impact on the entire agricultural community.   

"Additionally, gaming has provided new job opportunities in the racing industry, as well as  health and pension benefits and improved living and working conditions  for racetrack workers," Sojka states.

The full report can be downloaded from a special link on the right hand side under the "Information" section on the homepage of the Gaming Control Board’s web site,

About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established in 2004 with the passage of Act 71, also known as the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Pennsylvania’s first new state agency in nearly 40 years, the Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state’s casino industry. To date, with nine of a maximum fourteen casinos in operation, legalized gaming in the Commonwealth has created over 8,000 new living wage jobs, revenue that has provided property tax reduction in each of the past two years for all homeowners, and funds that have reinvigorated Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry. A wealth of information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry can be found at At this web site, videos and information on the operation of the PGCB, problem gambling efforts and assistance, future meeting schedules and past meeting transcripts, and a link to request a speaker are among the many items available.

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Editors note: Here are some definitions used that will be of assistance in understand this release and report:

Gross terminal revenue: Slot machine wagers less payouts and promotional credits.

Live racing handle: Total wagers accepted through a single racetrack operation on their own live races.

Purses earned: The total amount of money available to be paid to the winning horses. Purses come from a variety of sources, including distributions from the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund.

Total handle: The total amount wagered on racing. This includes import and is used as the basis for the calculation of pari-mutuel tax.