Mandated closures to protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic have seen gaming revenue fall 51.4 percent to $153.4 m (2019: $316.2 m) in Pennsylvania, according to estimates released by the Gaming Control Board of the State.
Despite the impact of land-based closures, igaming participation shot up 24.5 percent compared to a month ago. Online casino games and poker have generated a record revenue of $24.3 m, beating the record revenue of $19.5 m set in February. March increases in State taxes yielded $5.9m.
Poker tallied $3.1 million in sales, all from Mount Airy / PokerStars, with Rivers Casino Philadelphia leading the overall market with sales of $6.8 million, up from $4.8 million.
Dustin Gouker, PlayPennsylvania.com lead analyst said:“Pennsylvania’s online product has been slow to develop, but the revenue the industry is generating now is vital to the gaming industry and the state budget.
“Ideally, Pennsylvania’s online casino industry would’ve had the opportunity to mature more quickly. But it is definitely better than if it didn’t exist at all, as is the case in most states.”
With the sports world largely shut down in mid-March, the handle of Pennsylvania slumped for the month to just $131.3 m, down 60.2 percent from $329.8 m. $118.3 million, or 90.1 percent. March’s handle came from online gaming to $118.3 m, or 90.1 percent.
“Pennsylvania’s gaming industry is navigating waters that are unprecedented anywhere,” said Gouker. “It’s an industry that employs thousands in Pennsylvania and generates millions of dollars in tax revenue, and it is not designed to be closed.
“Growth in online casinos is helping, but it can’t entirely make up for the revenue lost from sports betting and land-based casinos being shut down.”
FanDuel Sportsbook / Valley Forge Casino led online sportsbooks with March wagers of $53.7 m, down from February’s $138.5 m. That yielded $2.8 m of taxable income. Rivers Philadelphia led the retail industry with a handle of $2.3 m, down from $7.2 m and generated revenue of $146,281.
“The bottom line is that Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks will not be healthy again until the sports world begins to reopen,” Gouker added. “No one yet knows for sure when that day will come. But sports leagues everywhere are trying to figure out ways to begin games again, so there is at least some reason for some optimism.”