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Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board


Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Agency overview
Formed 2004 (2004)
Jurisdiction Pennsylvania
Headquarters 303 Walnut Street, 2nd Floor, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA 17101
Agency executives

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is a governmental agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, founded in 2004 as the state licensing and regulatory agency responsible for overseeing slot machines and casino gambling in the state.

The first completely new agency created in Pennsylvania in over 30 years, the PGCB administers the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, also known as "Act 71", and its regulations to assure public trust and confidence in the credibility and integrity of casinos in Pennsylvania. The Board also acts to fulfill "the objectives of limited gaming in the Commonwealth to deliver a significant source of revenue, assist the horse racing industry, provide broad economic opportunities and enhance tourism."[1]

The PGCB does not oversee games of chance in the Commonwealth such as the Pennsylvania Lottery or other permitted games of chance at clubs and non-profit organizations.


  • Composition 1
  • Duties 2
  • Funding and support 3
  • Casino licenses 4
    • Racinos 4.1
    • Stand-alone casinos 4.2
    • Resort casinos 4.3
  • Revenue 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8


The board consists of seven voting members, three of which are appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania and four of which are appointed by the leadership of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[2] By statute, the State Treasurer, Secretary of Revenue, and Secretary of Agriculture are non-voting ex officio members.[3]


Among other duties, the Board operates a slot-machine testing center. Located above the Board's Harrisburg office, the center was established in September 2008. Each month, Pennsylvania casinos and slot-machine operators give the Board a list of the "payouts" on each of their machines: how often and how much they pay per average play. Board employees at the center test various models of slot machine to measure their payouts. This information is not passed on to the public.[4]

The PGCB also set up an Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling devoted to "understanding and alleviating the devastating effects of pathological gambling."[5] Under PGCB’s regulations, gambling facilities in the state must submit and have approved a compulsive-and-problem-gambling plan before starting gambling operations. These plans must include items such as employee training when dealing with compulsive gamblers, self-exclusion plans and how to handle people who want to be on Pennsylvania’s self-exclusion list, the responsibility of patrons with respect to responsible gambling, the availability of printed material and signage throughout the casino, and procedures to prevent intoxicated and underage gambling.[6]

Funding and support

The PGCB's funding is from several sources, none directly from taxpayers. The largest funding mechanism is from slot machine revenues, but only after deduction of appropriate taxes that are transferred to a number of recipients: - the local governments that host a facility - the horse racing industry - economic development and tourism efforts, and - a State Gaming Fund which primarily provides revenues to school districts which, in turn, utilize toward the lowering of local property taxes.

In addition, the PGCB bills applicants for investigative costs associated with securing any type of license and manufacturers of slot machines and related goods who seek approval of equipment to be utilized in casinos.

The Gaming Act also requires a role in gaming oversight by the State Police, Department of Revenue and Attorney General, whose costs are also reimbursed from slot machine revenues.

Casino licenses

The board is authorized to issue up to 14 licenses for slot machine operations. Seven licenses may be issued to existing horse race tracks, or racinos, five licenses may be issued to stand-alone casinos, and two licenses may be issued to existing hotel resorts. In 2017, the board will be authorized to award a third resort license. All casinos can have up to 5,000 machines, except the resort licensees, which can have up to 600. The Act also mandated that two of the five stand-alone casinos be located in Philadelphia, one in Pittsburgh, and the remaining two at-large. As of May 2010, 13 of the licenses have been awarded. One license for a racino has not been awarded. In addition, casinos in Pennsylvania began operating table games in July 2010. Stand-alone and racinos may have up to 250 table games, while resort casinos are limited to a maximum of 50 table games. Table games legislation increased the number of slots that resort casinos may have, from 500 to 600 machines.


On December 20, 2006, the board voted to grant six permanent casino licenses for existing horse racing facilities.[7] The board previously voted to grant these locations temporary licenses on September 27, 2006.[8] The licensed facilities were:

One racino license has yet to be awarded. A proposed racino, Lawrence Downs, has proposed a facility in Mahoning Township, near the Ohio border.[9] This is on the same site as a previous applicant, Valley View Downs, which failed to obtain the license.

Stand-alone casinos

On the same day, the board voted to grant five permanent casino licenses for stand-alone casinos. The licensed facilities are:

Since the license originally granted to Foxwoods was revoked, there is currently one stand-alone casino license available, but it must be constructed in the city of Philadelphia, as originally mandated.

Because of the limited number of slot machines in Pennsylvania, the revenue per machine is much higher than it is in Nevada ($120 per day), where 171 thousand machines are in locations with unrestricted locations. In addition, Nevada has about 3000 locations with restricted licenses (15 slot machines or less).

Resort casinos

Currently, both of the resort casino licenses have been awarded.

  • On April 9, 2009, the Valley Forge Convention Center was licensed to operate 500 slot machines.[10] However, after the license was awarded, the operators of Valley Forge Casino Resort.
  • On April 14, 2011, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington was awarded a license to operate 600 slot machines.[12] Nemacolin Woodlands also operates 28 table games. [13] The casino opened on July 1, 2013 as the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin.

Under the table games legislation, a third resort casino license will be created in 2017.


Slot Machine Gross Revenue
May 2013[14]
Casino No. of Slots Revenue
Parx 3,362 $33,049,723
The Meadows 3,317 $20,877,964
Sands Bethlehem 3,012 $26,150,753
Rivers 2,938 $24,421,730
Harrah's 2,790 $21,402,807
Penn National 2,453 $20,491,229
Mohegan Sun 2,332 $19,585,525
Mount Airy 1,875 $12,407,260
Presque Isle 1,691 $11,915,709
SugarHouse 1,604 $15,536,473
Valley Forge 600 $5,405,963

The revenue from slot machines is taxed at 55%.

Table Games Gross Revenue
May 2013[15]
Casino No. of Tables Revenue
Sands Bethlehem 183 $13,812,614
Parx 165 $10,128,410
Harrah's 121 $6,876,374
Rivers 114 $5,531,932
Mohegan Sun 84 $3,755,089
The Meadows 80 $4,134,336
Mount Airy 72 $3,519,793
Penn National 69 $3,296,713
SugarHouse 58 $7,109,503
Presque Isle 46 $1,325,482
Valley Forge 50 $$3,268,253

The revenue from table games is taxed at 14%.

See also


  1. ^ "Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board". Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ Members,
  3. ^ Ex officio members,
  4. ^ Thompson, Isaiah (2009-01-07). "Meet Your New Neighbor". Philadelphia CityPaper. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  5. ^ "PGCB's Director of Compulsive and Problem Gambling Provides Lawmakers With Update on Agency's Assistance Efforts". PGCB via Reuters. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "PA Gaming Control Board Approves 11 Permanent Operator Licenses",
  8. ^ "PA Approves First Gaming Licenses",
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
  • PA Gaming Control Board Fines Casino for Underage Gambling Violations
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