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Gambling in Pennsylvania keeps growing

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(The Center Square) — Though it leveled off from a recent record, gambling revenue in Pennsylvania was again strong in April.

The state collected nearly $505 million, almost 6% higher than a year ago.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported about $210 million in tax revenue as a result, trailing March’s record month of almost $230 million in tax revenue from $555 million of total revenue, a 7.6% growth from March 2023.

Year-over-year totals for 2024 have been consistently higher than 2023, with January and February increases running at 2.7% and 9%, respectively.

With gambling expansions in recent years, the commonwealth has come to rely on the extra tax revenue. In 2023, the PGCB reported record-high revenue, $5.7 billion, a 9.3% increase from 2022, which generated $2.3 billion in tax revenue. Some legislators have warned that relying on industries like gambling have negative consequences, where “mission creep” leads to further expansions and concessions to the industry to ensure more revenue growth.

The latest form of expansion has been sports gambling, now legal in 38 states since 2018, including every state that borders Pennsylvania. Tax revenue grew 14.5% in Pennsylvania in April 2024, reaching $42 million.

Other growth in the commonwealth has focused on skill games, which could boost tax revenue further, but casino owners have strongly opposed, calling them an “existential threat.”

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