Report shows greater impact in counties with casinos
By: Eric Boehm | PA Independent
HARRISBURG — Rapid growth in Pennsylvania’s casino revenue has suppressed lottery sales in the state as more options become available for residents eager to gamble.
A report released Wednesday by the state Legislative Budget and Finance
Committee, a joint body of House and Senate members that reviews the fiscal operations of the state, indicates that Pennsylvania’s casinos continue to affect sales of the state lottery.
The sluggish growth in lottery sales can be attributed, in part, to the slow economy and the growth of national lotteries like the Powerball, said Philip Durgin, executive director of the committee.
“We continue to see evidence that at least some of this flattening does appear to be due to competition from the casinos,” Durgin said.
Lottery sales had climbed from $1.7 billion in 2000 to nearly $3.1 billion in 2006, the year slot machines were introduced.
Since then, lottery sales have been mostly flat, reaching about $3.3 billion in 2011.
Lottery revenues fund a variety of programs for older Pennsylvanians.
The administration believes lottery sales could be improved in the private sector.
Lottery officials told the commission the decline in lottery sales in those counties has more to do with demographics than with the presence of casinos.