Pennsylvania registered one of the largest gambling revenue increases in the nation last year, while New Jersey’s Atlantic City, once the mecca of East Coast gaming activity, reported the worst decline.
Citing an annual study of nationwide gambling released by the American Gaming Association, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that Pennsylvania casinos and gambling houses pulled in $3 billion, 21 percent more than last year. About $1.5 billion of it ended up in state coffers, earmarked for property tax relief and economic development.
At the same time, New Jersey’s gambling revenue dropped 7 percent to $3.32 billion. But the opening of the new $2.4 billion Revel Casino in Atlantic City next year is expected to be a big draw and could put the state back on top with Nevada as a gambling powerhouse.
Nationwide, revenue from gambling rose three percent in 2011 to $35.6 billion, according to the study, and the industry employed more than 339,000 people. About $7.9 billion ended up in the tax revenue coffers of states, helping some close budget gaps.
Despite the recession and the decision by a number of airlines to cut back flights to Las Vegas, Nevada led the way last year as the nation’s largest gambling market. It’s gaming revenue rose 2.9 percent in 2011, and despite flight cutbacks, the state saw an increase of 1 million visitors to casinos.
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