Online Gambling In Pennsylvania Has A Second Act As Casinos Remain Shuttered

pennsylvania casinos shutdown
With Pennsylvania casinos like Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh shut down, online gambling has been enjoying a resurgence.

With the worldwide pandemic continuing to take lives, dismal March numbers for gaming in Pennsylvania were expected. In mid-March, all casinos in the state of Pennsylvania were ordered to be closed by the Governor.

This week the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was tasked with releasing the final numbers for March. The numbers the Gaming Control Board generated were gathered from the state’s 12 casinos, fantasy casinos and video gaming terminals.

Everyone involved was prepared that the numbers were going to be down from last year. The numbers brought in were 51% lower from the same time period in 2019. One gaming official said he thought the numbers would be even lower than that.

The numbers for half of March 2020 were $154 million, while the same time period last year saw $316 million. All things considered, though, the numbers were not as bad as some thought they would be.

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Governor Tom Wolf, who has been in office since 2015, told residents that to slow the spread of the coronavirus, all non-essential businesses had to close on March 16. That included all casinos, card rooms, video gaming terminals, and other businesses.

Online Gambling Was Not Shut Down

Although some states have shut down online gambling too, Pennsylvania did not, causing many people to flock to online sports betting sites. The increase was larger than expected, with an increase of 25% in March from the previous month.

The spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Doug Harbach, said that the Keystone State is one of the few to offer an online gambling option. The board was very ecstatic that the Governor did not shut down the online gaming operations.

Harbach said, “Our online gaming operations have continued to operate through the shutdown, and keep the tax revenue rolling in.”

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He added, “It’s been bringing in new players every day, so we are all very excited about that.”

pennsylvania shutdown casinos
Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf has had to shut down all non-essential business in the state, including casinos.

The data calculated by the Gaming Control Board indicates that the state has been able to collect more than $57 million in revenue. That amount is for the last three months, and with all the financial setbacks the state is dealing with, it’s a relief to have this cash flow coming in every month.

Last Six Months Of 2019 Brought In $34 Million For Pennsylvania

The increased revenue for online sports betting in Pennsylvania is something that the Gaming Control Board is very grateful for, Harbach said. He said, “The state, not unlike many other states, is going to struggle to fund state and county programs. Our online gaming operations expanding the way it has is really good news for us and the people of Pennsylvania.”

The Gaming Control Board members said they have to release their number every month to the public, shutdown or no shutdown. They knew that the numbers would be down since there are no sports events going on.

However, a bigger issue the board members said is the total shutdown of all brick and mortar casinos and other gaming locations in the state. Board members said they weren’t sure how the online sports betting would be number-wise, but they are just glad that the numbers are very healthy and rapidly expanding.

This is something that could very well continue even as sports and casinos open up for business again. Only one casino in Pennsylvania, Mount Airy Casino, offers internet poker. Their online poker operations brought in $6 million for the month of March.

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