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According to PlayPennsylvania, Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks took in more than $560 million in wagers, with March Madness contributing to the second-highest monthly volume in state history. The Keystone State also set a new record for online casino sales, with sportsbooks raking in more than $500 million in total gross gaming revenue.
Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks took in $560.3 million in bets in March, up 326.6 percent from $131.3 million in March 2020, a month marred by the closure of major sports in the United States, including the NCAA Tournament.
Even though the month was a turnaround from February’s $509.6 million handle, it fell short of January’s record $615.3 million handle.
Sportsbooks also did well in March, with gross gaming revenue of $41 million, up 376.7 percent from $8.6 million in March 2020. This resulted in $29.4 million in taxable income, up 326.1 percent from $6.9 million the previous year. In March, the revenue produced $10 million in state taxes and $587,047 in local share assessment.
Importance of NCAA
Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com said: “March’s results show just how important the NCAA Tournament can be in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, giving a huge boost to sportsbooks at a time when football is dormant.
“With last year’s tournament cancelled, sportsbooks were left a revenue hole that they could not fill. Pennsylvania itself was a bit of an unknown, since the last time the NCAA Tournament was held online sports betting had yet to launch. This really sets sportsbooks up for a strong rest of the year, especially in comparison with 2020.”
Since their inception, Pennsylvania sportsbooks have reported a total of $506.7 million in gross gaming revenue, achieving yet another remarkable lifetime milestone. New Jersey should remain the top market, but Pennsylvania could pass Nevada for second place in the US, or Illinois, which is gaining ground, could pass Pennsylvania.
Gross gaming revenue
Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com said: “$500m in gross gaming revenue is a threshold reached by only two other markets, Nevada and New Jersey, a sign of Pennsylvania’s increasingly mature market.
“Regardless of where Pennsylvania finds itself in the state rankings, it is in an excellent position as online betting gains steam and retail sportsbooks find themselves with fewer pandemic-related restrictions.”
Online sports betting accounted for 91.8 percent of the total handle in March, or $514.3 million. The figure has dropped from 92.2 percent in February. With $202.8 million in online wagering, FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino once again led the market, up from $176.3 million in February. These wagers produced $10.4 million in taxable income, up from $7.3 million in February.
With $116.6 million in bets, up from $111.7 million in February, DraftKings/The Meadows came in second, bringing in $6 million in taxable revenue.
The Barstool-branded Penn National/Hollywood Casino app is still seeking to gain traction, bringing in $63.6 million in March, putting it in third place in the state but down from $65.6 million in February. This resulted in a $3.3 million profit.
Retail sportsbooks took in $45.9 million in handle in March, up from $39.8 million in February. In February, sportsbooks made $3.4 million in wagers. Rivers-Philadelphia was the largest retail sportsbook, with $7 million in wagers, edging out Parx Casino’s $6.9 million.
“The Penn National-Barstool partnership has been successful, but its gains on the market leaders has stalled,” Gouker said. “FanDuel and DraftKings have built so much brand recognition and marketing might that they still hold advantages over a brand as well-known as Barstool partnering with a Pennsylvania-based company.”
With $97.7 million in taxable revenue in March, online casinos and poker rooms broke the previous high of $80.4 million set in January. Online casinos also set a per-day revenue record in March, generating $3.2 million per day for the 31 days of the month, up from the previous peak of $2.8 million per day for the 28 days of February.
Revenue is up 292.4 percent year over year, from $24.9 million in March 2020, the start of a year-long boom that continues today. From $871.6 million in March 2020, online casino wagering has increased by 275 percent to $3.3 billion.
Cross added: “The year-over-year gains in revenue are staggering. The pandemic-related shutdowns of the state’s retail casinos changed bettor behaviour for the foreseeable future. This is evident as online casino gaming keeps setting records, even as brick-and-mortar restrictions are eased.”