Despite Slowdown Pennsylvania Sportsbooks Exceed $500m In Wagers

While sportsbooks in Pennsylvania suffered a downturn in February, they nevertheless exceeded $500 million in wagers for the third month in a row, and online casinos made nearly $80 million in sales.

According to PlayPennsylvania.com, considering the fact that February brought mainly positive news to Pennsylvania, it was also the state’s lowest handle since November, and online casino sales lagged behind Michigan.

Pennsylvania’s online and discount sportsbooks took in a total of $509.5 million in bets, up 54.5 percent from $329.8 million in February 2020, but still short of the record $615.3 million in bets set in January.

A pullback from January to February is expected

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com said: “With just 28 days and a schedule with one NFL game, even if that game is the Super Bowl, a pullback from January to February is expected.

“Pennsylvania remains one of the strongest markets in the US, and March Madness will almost certainly put the state back on the upswing.”

The bets in February produced $16.4 million in taxable income, up 246.9 percent from $4.7 million in February 2020, including $5.6 million in state taxes and $327,596 in municipal share assessments.

The Super Bowl alone produced $53.6 million in wagers, but even the biggest single game of the year in terms of wagering isn’t enough to replace a whole NFL season. The predicted month-over-month drop from January to February would possibly prevent Pennsylvania from overtaking Nevada as the nation’s second-largest market, which it came close to doing in January.

Gouker added: “Pennsylvania continues to post strong results month after month, but Nevada is a more event-driven market so the Super Bowl handle there is typically the nation’s highest.

“But at the current trajectory of both markets, it seems it’s not if but when Pennsylvania will become the nation’s No. 2 market.” 

Sportsbooks begin to steadily stabilise

As retail sportsbooks began to steadily stabilise, online sports betting generated 92.2 percent, or $469.7 million, of February’s handle, down from 94.3 percent in January.

With $176.3 million in online bets, FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino led the market, down from $220.7 million in January. Those wagers netted $7.3 million in taxable income. With $111.7 million in bets, down from $143.5 million in January, DraftKings/The Meadows came in second, taking in $3 million in taxable income.

The Barstool-branded Penn National/Hollywood Casino app ranked third in February with $65.6 million, up from $65 million in January. It made $5.1 million in sales, but due to strong marketing, it lost $726,040 in taxable revenue.

Retail sportsbooks took in $39.8 million in February, up from $35.4 million in January. On February’s bets, sportsbooks made a $3 million profit. Rivers-Philadelphia was the largest retail sportsbook, with $7.7 million in wagers.

Sometime before things return to normal

“Retail sportsbooks still have some time to go before they are back to normal, but with COVID infections dropping as vaccination levels rise, better days are hopefully not far away,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “In the online market, though, Barstool continues to make progress, keeping handle steady, but it took a huge promotional spend to do it.”

In February, online casinos and poker rooms made $77.8 million in gross sales, down from $80.4 million in January. However, this is mostly positive news, as sales from online casinos and poker rooms increased to $2.8 million a day in February, up from $2.6 million per day in January, over the course of 28 days.

State taxes totaled $21 million, with another $10.7 million coming from municipal share assessments and county grants.

Despite setting a new per-day sales high, Pennsylvania is now the US’s third-largest online casino market, behind only Michigan’s $79.7 million in its first full month of online casinos and poker.

Cross added: “Pennsylvania’s online casinos are in a very good place. Pennsylvania’s fall to No. 3 says more about Michigan’s rapid ascent than it does about anything in the Keystone State. Online casinos will continue to be a most reliable revenue generator for the state for the foreseeable future.”

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.