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Pennsylvania the New Vegas of the East Coast

parx

Atlantic City claimed the unofficial crown of Vegas of the East Coast for decades but that's no longer the case.

The state of Pennsylvania is now top dog on the East Coast when it comes to gambling, with Philadelphia the crown jewel of the state's casinos and racetracks.

Pennsylvania took in $3.5 billion in gambling revenue in 2012, second only to Nevada and its $10.7 billion haul from gamblers.

Atlantic City has seen its fortunes slide since 2006 -- roughly the same time competition in neighboring states ramped up -- while Philly has been on a roll.

Not only are casinos in Pennyslvania much more convenient for gamblers that previously made the trek to AC (with toll roads and high gas prices even more incentive to gamble close to home) they're also much newer.

Casinos are scattered across Pennsylvania but most of the boom has happened in the Philadelphia area, with three popular casinos within a 30-minute drive: Sugarhouse, Parx Casino and Harrah's Philadelphia.

Parx has made a name for itself in poker circles by opening a large poker room and running several major tournaments.

Sugarhouse's downtown location is a big plus and Harrah's Philadelphia lets fans of the gambling giant enjoy the same perks and player extras they get at Harrah's casinos in Vegas and other locations.

Pennsylvania is currently home to 11 casinos with another likely on the way in the near future as another license to operate within Philly city limits is soon to be awarded.

While most Pennsylvania casinos aren't quite as decadent as their brethren in Las Vegas, they do have plenty of neon, glitz, and amenities.

Many offer shopping malls, hotel rooms, clubs, fine dining and other entertainment to accompany the usual array of slots, craps, blackjack, and roulette games.

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