Hollywood Casino, Harrisburg

PHILADELPHIA-It’s Pennsylvania by a nose for second place in the US gaming market, as new figures from the state Gaming Control Board show.

With revenues growing by 4.4% for the year, Pennsylvania came in ahead of Atlantic City as the Number 2 gambling center to Las Vegas’s perennial Number 1. Pennsylvania’s take for the year in slots and table-game receipts was $3.16 billion. Atlantic City casinos reported $3.05 billion in revenue for the year.

Valley Forge Casino Resort opened in March and helped put Pennsylvania over the top in the race with A.C. The state’s first casino opened only a little more than six years ago, in late 2006.

 

“Pennsylvania grew so fast because the casinos are located throughout the state and located closer to the main population centers,” one gaming analyst, John Kempf, of RBC Capital Markets has said.

In New Jersey, Gov. Christopher J. Christie’s administration has kept the focus on trying to bolster Atlantic City’s casino and resort business, effectively blocking efforts by northern New Jersey politicians to consider permitting gaming in other locales.

Atlantic City has been heavily promoted as a get-away spot with beach and resort amenities, in addition to gaming, over the past few years. The Revel resort and casino that opened last year was launched amidst a state campaign urging guests to “Discover A.C.” However, Revel’s revenues had consistently trailed expectations – even before the Atlantic City area took a big hit from Hurricane Sandy, causing damage and even disrupting travel for a short time last fall.

Pennsylvania now has 11 gambling venues around the state, and the opening of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort this spring will make it an even dozen. Competition is underway for the right to open a Philadelphia casino, also.

The top revenue-producing venue in the state was Parx racetrack and casino in Bensalem for 2012, as it has been for many years.