Online Gaming Surges In Pa., But Total Revenue Has Plunged Due To Closure Of Casinos

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Pennsylvania’s casinos financially, but one bright spot has been a spike in gaming online.

The state’s casinos earned $55,838,789 in online casino revenue in May, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. That’s more than double the amount of online casino revenue – $24,884,830.- reported in March, the board said. And the May figure represents a 30-percent jump over the online revenue reported statewide in April ($43,067,881).

Still, overall gaming revenue at Pennsylvania casinos in May dropped 79 percent compared to the same month in 2019, according to the gaming control board. That’s not surprising, since casinos were shut down in mid-March and remained shuttered through the entire month of May.

Now, however, casinos are opening their doors again. Three casinos have opened in June and three more are slated to open in the coming days, as Gov. Tom Wolf eases restrictions put in place to deter the spread of COVID-19.

At 9 a.M. Friday, the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is scheduled to reopen. That’s the day Dauphin County moves into the green phase, the least restrictive, in Wolf’s plan to gradually reopen the state.

The reopening dates for the remaining six casinos will be based on when Wolf eases restrictions in other areas. After Friday, 13 counties will remain in the yellow phase of the governor’s reopening plan, which bars casinos, movie theaters and other indoor entertainment complexes from opening their doors. Those counties include Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs.

For Hollywood Casino’s reopening, capacity will be limited to 50 percent or less and most restaurants will not be open. The casino will be open daily but it won’t operate around the clock. The casino will close from 3 a.M. To 7 a.M. To allow for a deep cleaning.

Penn National Gaming, the Wyomissing-based company that operates the Hollywood Casino, has said it may have to lay off more than 200 employees due to the financial impact of the pandemic. The company has filed a notice with the state Department of Labor and Industry warning of the layoffs.

In May, Penn National pulled in about $5.3 million in online revenue from HollywoodCasino.Com, and another $3.7 million from DraftKings.Com, according to the gaming control board.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia led all Pennsylvania casinos in online gaming revenue in May with $17.6 million, the gaming board said.

With the sports world largely idled by the pandemic, betting on sports and fantasy games have sunk. Fantasy contest revenue statewide was $318,840 in May, a decrease of 82 percent over the same month last year.

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