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Pennsylvania Slot Machine Revenue Up 3.4 Percent In May

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Pennsylvania's gross slot machine revenue was up 3.4 percent in May over the year before, boosted by the second full month of play at Valley Forge Casino Resort in suburban Philadelphia. Existing casinos, meanwhile, saw a modest rise.

The state's 11 casinos—including Valley Forge, which opened March 31 -- collected $212.5 million in gross slots revenue in May, an increase over $205.5 million from the same period the year before, according to revenue figures released Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The 10 existing casinos that were open in both May 2011 and May 2012 saw an increase of 1.5 percent in May, a month after their gross slots revenue had dipped .6 percent.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem showed the most growth in May, pulling in $25.1 million in gross slots revenue, an increase of 11.2 percent over May 2011. The state's second-newest facility, Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia, wasn't far behind: It reported $16.4 million in gross revenue, an increase of just less than 10 percent.

Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie showed the biggest loss in May, a 10.6 percent decrease to $13 million.

In March, the state's casinos set an all-time monthly high with $233.1 million in gross revenue, the most for a period since Pennsylvania's first casino opened in November 2006. Pennsylvania recently passed Atlantic City as the nation's second-largest gambling market behind Las Vegas.

The state taxes casino revenue and uses it to support the state budget, public schools, civic development projects, volunteer firefighting squads, local governments and the horse racing industry. With one of the highest tax rates on casinos in the nation, at 55 percent, the May revenue generated an estimated $114.9 million in taxes last month, according to the gaming board figures.

By law, Pennsylvania could one day be home to 14 casinos. One license is tied to a yet-to-be-built horse racing track, while another license awarded to a southwestern Pennsylvania resort is being challenged in court and a third license was revoked in 2010 from the former Foxwoods Philadelphia project. The fate of that license remains in limbo as lawmakers debate whether to keep it in Philadelphia or bid it statewide.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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