Pa. gaming revenue reaches record high

Hollywood Casino at Penn National generated a state-high $80,928,428 in total revenue in March 2023 as monthly Pennsylvania gaming revenue exceeded a half billion dollars for the first time. 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) reported Tuesday that the combined total revenue generated from all forms of gaming, together with fantasy contests in March 2023 was $515,278,831. The total represented an increase of 11.35% over the $462,740,098 in revenue generated in March 2022. 

The March 2023 monthly revenue amount exceeded the half billion mark for the first time since gambling was legalized in 2006. 

Slot machines, table games, internet gaming, sports wagering, fantasy contests, and video gaming terminals (VGTs) are the sources of gaming revenue regulated by the PGCB. 

“After a slower month of February, Pennsylvania sportsbooks saw plenty of betting action again in March, recording more than $723.5 million in handle last month,”  said in a statement. 

March Madness betting has played a role in getting sports betting figures back to where they were during the NFL season. March’s handle was up around $124 million from February and increased about 1.2% compared to March 2022.” 

Hollywood Casino at Penn National’s total revenue in March increased by 27.02% over the $63,711,802 generated in March 2022. 

Also in central Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino Morgantown generated $9,472,589 in revenue in March 2023, Hollywood Casino York $9,390,319, and Parx Shippensburg $3,065,542. In the Lehigh Valley, Wind Creek in Bethlehem generated $47,247,055 in revenue in March 2023. 

According to the PGCB, March’s revenue from slot machines was $225,408,088, a 4.98% increase in revenue over the $214,721,028 from March 2022. 

Retail Table games revenue for March 2023 decreased, with revenue of $85,880,299 indicating a drop of 8.91% from March 2022 when revenue was $94,280,351. 

March 2023 saw casino games deliver online generated gross revenue that showed an increase of 25.46%, $148,189,028 compared to $118,118,408 in March 2022. 

The total sports wagering handle in March 2023 increased to $723,545,806, a 1.20% rise above the $714,976,578 from March 2022 total. The taxable revenue figure for March 2023 of $50,645,259 represented a 66.59% higher than the March 2022 revenue of $30,400,581. 

Imperiale said Pennsylvania online casinos continue to set records within the country. 

“In March, they once again posted a new all-time, all-market US iGaming record by producing $181.5 million in monthly revenue. The incredible showing overshadowed their previous best from December 2022 (166.9 million) by around 8.8%, growing about 27.2% year-over-year,” he said. 

“This latest record month helped push the state past the $500 billion mark in monthly revenue from all forms of March gambling. This is the first time Pennsylvania has exceeded this number.”

Emeril’s restaurants rebranded at Wind Creek

There are some changes in the culinary choices at Wind Creek Bethlehem. 

The casino resort has announced that its two signature restaurants, Emeril’s Chop House and Burgers and More by Emeril have been rebranded and will now be known as Chop House at Wind Creek and Urban Table. 

The new restaurants will now be curated by the resort’s own in-house culinary team. They will both have new menu sets. 

Chop House at Wind Creek’s new menu will have a modern, upscale twist on the classic American Steakhouse serving steaks, seafood, signature creations, and handcrafted cocktails.  

Urban Table’s new menu features inspirations from many culinary regions with offerings including prime beef burgers, cauliflower steak, gumbo, truffle-honey glazed fried chicken, premium chops and more. 

With COVID-19 shutdown, Pennsylvania casino revenue down 22% in 2020

COVID-19 meant no sports to wager on and no casinos to gamble in for most of 2020, leading to a large drop in gaming revenue in Pennsylvania last year.

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, casino closure days totaled 1,473 in 2020, or 33% of the number of days the 13 casinos would have been operating in a normal year.

That led to 22.24% drop in gaming revenues in 2020.

The combined revenue of slot machine, table games, sports wagering, online, video gaming terminals and fantasy contests totaled $2.65 billion in 2020 compared to $3.41 billion in 2019.

However, with people stuck at home, the shutdown did lead to a boom in online gaming.

Internet gaming revenue in Pennsylvania for 2020 was $565.8 million for the year, up drastically from the $33.6 million in internet gaming in 2019 – the first year online gambling was allowed in the state.

Wind Creek had a more than 47% decline in slots revenue, taking in $150.8 million in 2020 compared to $284.9 million in 2019.

The Bethlehem casino’s table game revenue for the year was down more than 56% at $104 million, down from $237.2 million in 2019.

Wind Creek was closed for 122 days during 2020.

In Mount Pocono, Mount Airy Casino resort took in $103.1 million in slot revenue in 2020, down 28% from the $144 million it took in during 2019.

Table game revenue there was $27.6 million in 2020, down 27% from the $38.1 million it took in during 2019.

Mount Airy was closed for 116 days.

Most major sports were shut down for a number of months during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, but as a new source of gaming revenue, casinos that offered sports wagering did see an increase in revenue, with wagering only available during the final months of 2019.

Overall, the state’s casinos that had sportsbooks took in $189.7 million in sports wagering revenue, much lower than the numbers that were expected if the regular sports schedule had taken place.

Mount Airy Casino resort had a jump of 371.6 percent taking in $10.6 million in sports wagering revenue for 2020.

Wind Creek did not have sports wagering until the end of 2020.

Wind Creek opens sportsbook in former Buddy V’s space

The new Wind Creek sportsbook is located in the space that was formerly Buddy V’s ristorante. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –


Wind Creek Bethlehem now has sports betting.

Wind Creek Hospitality, which runs the casino, and Betfred USA Sports today announced the state’s newest sportsbook has officially opened.

The Bethlehem sportsbook is Wind Creek’s first in the United States.

The Wind Creek sportsbook is located in the space that was formerly Buddy V’s ristorante. It features two state-of-the-art video walls, 31 individual TVs, three betting windows and eight self-service betting kiosks.

For those looking to hang out and enjoy the game they’re betting on, the sportsbook has multiple viewing areas and a sports pub for food and drinks.

“Opening the Sportsbook at Wind Creek Bethlehem provides yet another exciting gaming opportunity for our Guests,” said Jay Dorris, president & CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality. “Partnering with Betfred USA Sports will allow us to bring a first-class sports betting experience in a high energy environment to the property.

The sportsbook officially opened Nov. 18 after receiving approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

A grand opening for invited guests is planned for Nov. 21, a public grand opening celebration will be held in the coming weeks, officials said.

The opening comes as sports betting becomes a larger piece of Pennsylvania casino’s revenue picture. Of the $320.2 million the state’s casinos took in for October, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported that wagering made up $36.8 milion, more than 10% of the overall take.

The largest portion of revenue came from retail slots, which brought in $154.7 million, and retail table games, which brought in $63.3 million.

October marked the second anniversary of the launch of sports betting in the state.

In all, $525.8 million in sports bets were made statewide, breaking the all-time record.

Most Pa. casinos see lower over-year revenue after June reopening

In June, 11 of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos reopened their doors for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March and most are reporting a drop in gaming revenue.

But one did not.

Valley Forge Casino had a nearly 16% increase in gaming revenue over last June. It took in $12.9 million in June 2020 as compared to $11.2 million in June 2019, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The news wasn’t as good for Wind Creek Bethlehem, which had the largest drop off of all casinos —   92.5% — taking in only $3.2 million in June 2020 as compared to $43.4 million in June 2019.

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono fared better. It saw only a 4.3% decrease in gaming revenue over June of last year. It took in $15.1 million in June 2020 compared to $15.8 million in June of last year.

It should be noted that most casinos did not open until mid- to late- June.

The revenue includes slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and internet sports wagering, fantasy contests and video gaming terminals. Wind Creek Bethlehem does not have its sports wagering set up.

Even with a decreased amount of sports to bet on, those who study the gaming industry are expecting wagering to continue to be a major profit driver for the state’s casinos.

“Online gambling will continue to be a force for the foreseeable future,” said Dustin Gouker of PlayPennsylvania. “Online and retail sportsbooks, like brick-and-mortar casinos, will navigate an uncertain landscape as long as the pandemic is ongoing. If a setback can be avoided, though, the return of major sports later this month will be huge for the industry.”

The Gaming Control Board reported that Sportsbooks generated $89 million in wagers in June, up 14.8% from $77.5 million in May.

Wind Creek Casino re-opening plan includes wagering by appointment

Wind Creek is considering asking guests to schedule reservations for gambling times to help control crowds. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES –

In a message on the resort’s website, Wind Creek Casino Resort CEO Jay Dorris outlined tentative ways to gradually reopen the resort, including gambling by appointment.

There is no firm reopening date, however

“If the number of questions from our guests is any indication, I am sure demand for the Wind Creek experience will be high when we reopen,” he said in the message. “While I wish we could safely swing our doors open and invite everyone in all at once, our reopening will be conducted in phases.”

He said the resort is looking at a soft opening where a limited number of guests will be invited in to test out new safety precautions and procedures to make sure they will work on a larger scale. When management feels they are able to handle larger crowds it will reopen to the general public. But to make sure the casino floor doesn’t get overcrowded, Wind Creek will institute an appointment system.

“This system will allow guests to ‘reserve’ a day and time in advance and will allow us to always keep the number of guests and team members on property and on the casino floor at a safe number,” he said.

Other changes Wind Creek management is looking at include limiting capacity at restaurants, limiting the number of people that can shop in its retail outlets at one time and restrictions on valet, bell and spa services.

“When we reopen, our goal is to have a plan that will provide a smart and measured approach. It probably won’t be perfect, and it will evolve once put into practice,” Dorris said.

Wind Creek Bethlehem announces leadership change

Kathy McCracken, vice president and general manager of Wind Creek Bethlehem –

Wind Creek Bethlehem announced that Kathy McCracken, a veteran of the gaming industry, with a background in operations, marketing, and systems, is the new vice president and general manager of the gaming resort.

She replaces Brian Carr.

PCI Gaming Authority announced the leadership change. PCI is owned by the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who purchased the former Sands Casino last year.

According to Wind Creek Hospitality, McCracken has been with the property since its pre-opening and most recently served as the executive vice president of marketing and operations.

“Kathy brings upbeat and collaborative leadership to the property,”  said James Dorris, president & CEO of Wind Creek, in a statement. “Her ability to help the employees continue through the ongoing expansion efforts will be invaluable”

Dorris also praised Carr for his accomplishments during his time at Wind Creek Bethlehem. “Brian did a fantastic job keeping the staff and employees focused and committed to the property during the time that it took for the sale to close,” he said. “We wish him well as he moves on to explore his next opportunities.”

Wind Creek Bethlehem recently received approval to begin construction on a second hotel tower and convention space and plans the development of an indoor water park and entertainment complex on site.

With CRIZ funding, Wind Creek will invest more than $100M in new hotel

Wind Creek, a privately held affiliate of the Porch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, wants to expand its Bethlehem casino property to include a second 300-room hotel. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

The development of a new hotel at Wind Creek Bethlehem could get a boost in funding from a tax incentive that would increase the investment to more than $100 million.

At a press conference today, Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez urged the Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority to designate Wind Creek Hospitality’s site for a new hotel as a CRIZ site.

Wind Creek Hospitality, which bought the Bethlehem casino from Las Vegas Sands Corp. for $1.3 billion last year, employs 2,350 workers and Donchez said it is the city’s largest developer and investor.

Wind Creek, a privately held affiliate of the Porch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, wants to expand the property to include a 300-room hotel adjacent to the casino. In addition, it plans to renovate the vacant Machine Shop No. 2 building into a new hotel and an adventure/water park, as well as a spa and fitness center with a pool and meeting space.

“This new chapter of commitments begins with the construction of a new hotel tower, event space, lobby, spa, restaurant and bar,” Donchez said in his statement.

Without the CRIZ increment, the new hotel tower would be less than $90 million and would be limited to a hotel without added amenities or event space, he added.

“With CRIZ increment, the project investment would increase to over $100 million,” Donchez said. “The added increment allows them to add more amenities.”

Wind Creek wants to transfer CRIZ acreage that it owns elsewhere on its property and transfer it to the proposed hotel site.

The project will add more than 80 jobs to Wind Creek, plus additional construction jobs, he said.

In addition, the project would generate between $1 million and $1.5 million in CRIZ increment. Furthermore, the Bethlehem authority would receive up to $300,000 in funding to be used for other projects in the city.

Construction could begin in the second quarter with an anticipated completion date in the third quarter of 2021.

“Along with the hotel, I envision development of Machine Shop No. 2 and the ruins lots over the next five to 10 years,” he said. “The key is to build out that site and really make it a destination for the Northeast.”

Designating the site as a CRIZ site would allow the city to do projects that have been discussed but remain unfunded, he added.

This marks the first project at the former Sands property with the new owner. With a strong economy, it’s possible that additional development would occur at the site, he added. The property was up for sale over the last five years, which is why there wasn’t any additional development at the site, Donchez said.

“The partnership Wind Creek has with the City of Bethlehem has been one of the keys to our property’s success,” said Julia Corwin, spokesperson for Wind Creek. “The CRIZ enables us to take our planned expansion from a basic shell to a luxury hotel with all of the amenities you would expect from a premier casino resort.”

Bethlehem’s Wind Creek signs agreement for sportsbook

Wind Creek President/CEO Jay Dorris speaks to the crowd at the grand opening celebration of Wind Creek Bethlehem’s rebranding last year. (File photo by Brian Pedersen) –

One of the last casinos in the state without a sportsbook is now getting on board.

Wind Creek Casino & Resort Bethlehem has signed an agreement with a UK-based bookmaker to operate a sportsbook for the South Side Bethlehem casino.

Betfred, which bills itself as the world’s largest privately-owned retail bookmaker, would provide retail sports betting in the casino as well as run Wind Creek’s mobile and internet betting within Pennsylvania. James Dorris, Wind Creek Hospitality President & CEO said Wind Creek chose Betfred because of its experience.

“Betfred have been providing sports betting in the UK for over 50 years,” noted Mark Stebbings, Betfred Group COO. “We are delighted to partner with Wind Creek Bethlehem where we will share our joint expertise. As part of our partnership we will provide excellent service and value for the sports bettors both on premise at Wind Creek Bethlehem and online to the wider population of Pennsylvania.”

Wind Creek Hospitality is an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. It purchased the former Sands Casino last year. At the time it said it was still weighing its options on opening a sportsbook at the casino, but it was considering it.

Currently 10 of the state’s 12 casinos have retail sports books and eight offer online betting.

Lady Luck Casino, a smaller casino in western Pennsylvania, is the only other casino without an in-house sports betting area.

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

Retail and online sports betting lifted Pennsylvania casino profits in December

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono was among the casinos that saw a revenue increase in December. (File photo) –

Total revenue was up at Pennsylvania’s casinos last month.

The state Gaming Control Board reported that revenue was up 3.4 percent over total revenue in December of 2018, with casinos that added retail and online sports betting leading the revenue jump.

Total casino revenue was $292 million for the month as compared to $282.25 in December 2018. Of that, casino sportsbooks brought in $17.5 million.

Overall revenue includes money from slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and internet sports wagering, fantasy contests and video gaming terminals.

The largest increase, by far, was at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia. The casino, which is among those with sports betting, saw a 47.2 percent increase over the prior December, jumping from $15.13 million to $16.68 million.

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, which also added sports betting late last year, saw an increase 15.18 percent, $15.3 million to $17.42 million.

Wind Creek Casino Resort in Bethlehem, which does not offer sports betting, still had a modest over-year increase of .34 percent, going from $43.5 million to $43.6.

Some casinos did see a decrease, including Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Dauphin County, which saw a 5.7 percent decrease from $21.9 million in December 2018 to $20.7 million in December 2019.

Revenue up at most Pa. casinos, Wind Creek lagging

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono had a 31.64 percent increase in total revenue over November of last year. (File photo) –

Overall, the month of November was a strong one for Pennsylvania’s casinos, especially Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, which had a 31.64 percent increase in total revenue over November of last year. The Pocono casino took in $18.88 million in November as compared to $14.34 million in November of last year.

It was the highest increase of the state’s casinos, which saw a total 13 percent increase in November revenue over 2018.

Meanwhile in Bethlehem, the Wind Creek Bethlehem Resort Casino saw a slight decrease in revenue, the only casino to see a dip.

Its revenue was down .48 percent over November of last year, going from $40.12 million from $40.31 million in November 2018.

The former Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem was sold to PGI Gaming Authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in July for $1.3 billion.

While overall revenue was down for the casino, most of that was in slots, which saw a 9.17 percent decrease. Table games were up 10.54 percent.

Missing is internet gaming and sports betting, neither of which are offered by Wind Creek.

Mount Airy took in $3.17 million in internet gaming. Its sportsbook opened in November and hasn’t reported revenue yet.

Sources of gaming revenue regulated by the board include slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and internet sports wagering, fantasy contests and video gaming terminals.

One area that was down overall was fantasy sports gaming. Fantasy gaming dropped from $3.24 million in revenue in November 2018 to $2.98, a drop of 8.02 percent.

New for November was gaming terminals, which are now allowed in spaces such as select truck stops. Terminals brought in $659,288 in November.  There are no statistics for last year.

All totaled, gaming revenue in Pennsylvania brought in $292 million in November.

Bethlehem casino’s new owners celebrate rebranding

With tribal dances, mid-day fireworks and the award of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits, the new owners of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem strived to show their

Wind Creek President/CEO Jay Dorris speaks to the crowd at the grand opening celebration of Wind Creek Bethlehem’s rebranding. (Photo By Brian Pedersen) –

commitment to the city with a grand opening celebration Oct. 10.

Earlier this year, Wind Creek Hospitality bought the Bethlehem casino from Las Vegas Sands Corp. for $1.3 billion and since then has rebranded the site with its name throughout the property, which includes the casino, outlet mall, hotel, and event center. In addition, the sale included several vacant buildings the company plans to redevelop.

Jay Dorris, Wind Creek president and CEO, said they are working with the architectural and engineering teams for the hotel expansion and convention space they want to add but have no firm date on starting construction. Wind Creek has also not filed any plans with the city, yet, he said.

Wind Creek a privately held affiliate of the Porch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, wants to expand the property to include a 300-room hotel adjacent to the casino. In addition, it plans to renovate the vacant Machine Shop No. 2 building into a new hotel and an adventure/water park, in addition to a spa and fitness center with a pool and meeting space. The Machine Shop project would take longer, Dorris said.

The new hotel adjacent to the casino would also include convention center space, he said.

Wind Creek aims to preserve what makes the property a special part of the Bethlehem community while introducing the Wind Creek brand, Dorris said.

“This has been a long journey for this team,” said Brian Carr, executive vice president and general manager at Wind Creek.

With about 2,500 employees at Wind Creek’s Bethlehem resort, the new owners will build on the success and promote growth of South Side Bethlehem and the valley, Carr said.

Reflecting on the 2009 opening of the Bethlehem casino, Sen. Lisa Boscolla said, “We overcame a lot of obstacles. This site is a prime example of the anchors casinos have become.”

At the time, many questioned the need for building a large-scale casino in Bethlehem, but as several officials noted at the grand opening of the re-branded site, the casino has generated economic growth for the city.

While some of the surrounding vacant properties have remained untouched, the casino’s arrival led to the development of the nearby ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, the PBS-39 building, the Visitor’s Center and the Hoover Mason Trestle, an elevated walkway that brings people in close proximity to the iconic blast furnaces at the former Bethlehem Steel site.

Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez said he had cast the deciding vote to approve the casino when he served as a city councilman.

“If we didn’t have Sands make the investment, we wouldn’t have the Hoover Mason Trestle and PBS,” Donchez said.

Both Dorris and Tribal Chair Stephanie Bryan emphasized their intention to rejuvenate and invest in the property and their commitment to Bethlehem.

“We have shared vision and shared values,” Bryan said. “We are looking at additional employment opportunities in Bethlehem. We are committed to doing more. We are committed to strengthening the great businesses that are already here.”

Wind Creek also announced that the local nonprofit organization Via of the Lehigh Valley won the $25,000 Charity Giving Contest. In addition, Wind Creek gave $10,000 each to all the other nine nonprofits who competed for the funds.