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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Did slots hurt lottery collections?

A new report by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee find that slots gambling has hurt lottery revenue. Not only has lottery revenue and participation seen almost no growth (following several years of double digit growth), areas closer to casinos and slots parlors saw drops in lottery participation, whereas areas without any gaming venue nearby continue to see lottery growth.

As I speculated some months ago, unless gambling revenue results in higher tourism (or less to Pennsylvanians heading elsewhere to gamble) it will likely only represent a shift from other expenditures (lottery, sporting events, entertainment, etc.) and not be a net boon for the economy.

It should also be mentioned that - from a purely revenue perspective - a shift from lottery to slots is good for gamblers (slots pay out about 91% in wagers vs 59% of lottery wagers going to prizes) but worse for the government (5% of slots wagers vs. 33% of lottery buys.)

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