AGA to Pennsylvania Casinos: “Good Job, Now Do Better”

Robert DellaFave October 31, 2014

As revealed on Thursday, the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman has sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s lawmakers calling attention to the results of a study on the Keystone State’s burgeoning gambling industry.

In short, PA’s brick and mortar casinos are performing remarkably, but reform is necessary.

Oxford’s findings were a part of broader study examining the effects of the U.S.’s gaming industry on the national economy. It was the first study of its kind to appraise the totality of the land-based industry, which includes commercial casinos, tribal casinos and manufacturers. However, no mention of the nascent online gambling market was made.

As per the Association’s press release, the Oxford Economics study “is a key component of the AGA’s “Get to Know Gaming” campaign.” This, by the looks of it, is an effort dedicated to educating the masses on the benefits of the industry.

The State Of Pennsylvania’s Casino Gaming Industry

Oxford Economics found that Pennsylvania’s now eight year old casino industry:

  • Generates $6.2 billion towards the state economy
  • Contributes $2.4 billion in tax dollars
  • Accounts for 34,000 jobs and $1.7 billion in income

In terms of gross revenue, Pennsylvania’s casino market is currently the second largest in the United States – a distinction it stole from New Jersey back in 2012. Furthermore, as of 2014, more taxes are collected from PA’s gaming market than from any other state’s casino industry.

All very impressive, but according to the Association’s letter, Pennsylvania can do better. Freeman recommends that legislatures work with industry leaders in the state’s casino market to refine its gambling policies and regulations, stating that “the policies that brought us to this point are likely different than those that will enable the industry to continue to thrive in the years ahead.”

When asked for further clarity regarding the specifics of exactly what needed to be changed, a spokesman refrained from comment.

The full text of Freeman’s letter to Pennsylvania legislators can be found here.

Other Highlights Of Oxford’s Study

Although individual gaming markets, like the aforementioned New Jersey, are struggling mightily, based on Oxford’s findings, the industry as a whole plays an integral role in the nation’s economy.

In total, the U.S. casino market supports 1.7 million jobs, or nearly 300,000 more than the air transportation industry, and contributes more than $38 billion in taxes, of which $7 billion goes towards funding Social Security.

Annually, the casino market generates nearly $240 billion, which as the study proudly boasts, is almost as much as the state budgets of New York and Texas combined.

Simple math reveals that Pennsylvania is accountable for 2.6% of the market’s total economic impact, and 6.3% of its tax dollars – a discrepancy easily explained by the state’s exceedingly high casino tax rate.

Click here to review Oxford Economic’s gambling study in greater detail.

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