By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent
HARRISBURG — The Keystone state continues to reap in more tax revenue from casinos than any other the state in the nation, according to a new national survey.
The American Gaming Association released its annual “State of the States” report on commercial gaming this week, underscoring growth of Pennsylvania’s casino industry.
Pennsylvania took in more than $1.48 billion in gaming tax revenue in calendar year 2012, according to the report. That’s an increase of 2.1 percent from the previous year, when the state saw more than $1.45 billion in tax receipts.
While potentially surprising, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania makes more in tax revenues than gambling mecca Nevada off of casinos. That’s largely due to the tax structure – in Pennsylvania, 55 cents of every dollar in a slot machine is returned to the state, and 16 cents on every dollar spent at a table game.
Nevada, which saw more than $868 million tax revenues in 2012, has a graduated tax rate with a 6.75 percent maximum.
Casino tax revenue in Pennsylvania goes to support property tax relief, economic development, the race horse industry and local governments.
The study shows consumers are spending more at casinos nationwide, including in Pennsylvania. Consumer spending inside the state’s 11 casinos totaled $3.16 billion this past year, up 4.6 percent from $3.02 billion the year before. The report attributed growth to the state’s newest casino in Valley Forge.
Casino spending here is second only to Nevada, where the Las Vegas strip and widespread gaming lured $10.86 billion in consumer spending.
Total casino spending in both New Jersey and Delaware is down, which the report contributed to the effects of increased mid-Atlantic competition and delays and closings caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Nationwide, consumers spent $37.34 billion at casinos in 2012, up around $1.7 billion from the previous year and only slightly less than pre-recession figures from 2007.
After gaming was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004, the first casino opened in 2007. A twelfth casino in Fayette County plans to open at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort this summer pending state approval, reports the Pittsburgh-Tribune-Review.