Gaming in Pennsylvania: Top Stories, Sports and Business News — August 18

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From an update on Tuesday’s NBA playoff match-ups to Pennsylvania’s casinos back to pre-pandemic revenue levels, here the stories making headlines on Tuesday, August 18.

NBA Playoffs

There are a number of exciting match-ups in the NBA playoffs on Tuesday. LeBron James and the Lakers take on the Trailblazers in Game 1. The Rockets and James Harden take on his former team for Game 2 against the Thunder. Plus the Pacers tip-off against the Heat and the Magic go against the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Bucks.

Sports Illustrated’s gambling analyst Corey Parson has all the latest odds and best bets for the NBA playoff action on SI.com/Gambling.

There are also four games on the schedule for the NHL playoffs. Game 4 between the Flyers and Canadiens with Philly up two games to one. The Flames and Stars are tied up at two games apiece and will face-off in Game 5 Tuesday night. The Islanders look to sweep the Capitals in their Game 4 match-up and the Golden Knights are up three games to one and look to advance past the Blackhawks with a victory this evening.

Read more: NBA Playoffs: How the Game 1s Were Won (or Lost)

Daily Coronavirus Update

There are over 21.9 million cases of the virus worldwide, with over 774,000 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins, the U.S. has surpassed 5.4 million cases with over 170,000 deaths. According to the COVID-19 Tracking Project, there were 37,817 new cases reported Thursday. 648,116 new tests were reported. And 407 deaths were reported yesterday.

U.S. housing starts jumped 22.6% in July from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million amid record low interest rates. The gains were the most since October 2016. Permits rose 18.8% from June.

Home Depot posted much stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings as sales far outpaced analysts' forecasts even amid the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Same-store sales rose 23.4% - more than double analysts' forecasts for a 10.5% gain - as coronavirus lockdowns enticed more buyers to spend cash on home repair projects.

Walmart, meanwhile, smashed earnings expectations as online sales nearly doubled from last year. The world's largest retailer said e-commerce sales rose 97% from last year as Walmart introduced curbside pickup for online orders during the pandemic.

Watch related: S&P 500 Hits Record High, Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Level

A Look at Pennsylvania Gaming Operators

Last week we reported New Jersey gaming operators saw a boost in revenue thanks to online casino games and sports gambling and on Tuesday we learned Pennsylvania saw similar increases in revenue. Not only did Pennsylvania casinos report revenue of $281.5 million which were more in line with pre-pandemic levels, but revenue from sports gambling and online casino games made up 22% of total revenue.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the money from online gaming accounted for $61.2 million, which is a significant increase compared to last July which was less than $4 million.

Of the 12 casino and gaming operators in Pennsylvania, Boyd Gaming’s Valley Forge Casino saw a 57% increase in revenue compared to July of 2019. Their partnership with FanDuel was a big part of their revenue increase.

On the other end of the spectrum is Wind Creek Bethelem which saw a 38% decline in revenue. Worth noting they didn’t launch their online gaming platform until July 24.

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