Pennsylvania Sportsbooks Celebrate Best Month On Record

Sportsbooks in Pennsylvania celebrated their best month since the state took legal sports betting in November 2018, with the return of major sports helping the state cross a historic $365 m handle in August.

The resurgence in form was powerful enough to see the state overtake Nevada for the first time, PlayPennsylvania said, making it the country’s second-largest legal sports betting market, at least for a month.

In August, retail and online sportsbooks generated $364.99 m in wagers, up 121.5 percent from $164.8 m in July. August’s handle reflects a 234.7 percent year-on-year increase from August 2019, when sportsbooks in Pennsylvania managed to raise $109 m in bets.

Revenue growth was impressive, too. August’s handle produced $18.3 million in taxable income, up 124.3 percent from $8.1 million in July and up 198.8 percent from $6.1 million in August 2019. The revenue from August produced $6.2 million in state taxes and another $365,482 in local share assessments.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com said: “In what has been a difficult year, August’s packed schedule of major sports helped Pennsylvania sportsbooks make up some of what was lost from pandemic-related shutdowns.

He added: “It is remarkable to think that Pennsylvania could surpass Nevada, the nation’s most mature sports-betting market. The state’s online products have helped bridge a gap that at one point looked nearly insurmountable.”

Pennsylvania had just fallen short of the $165.6 m handle from Nevada in July, and its record-breaking August could surpass the Silver State which will reveal August data later this month.

Like New Jersey, which in August created an all-jurisdiction record of $668 million in bets, the Keystone State has several advantages over Nevada, including a much larger local population, a market that is not as event-driven, and more robust online product deals that were increasingly common during the pandemic.

Gouker added: “The continuing build-up of online and mobile sports betting, in addition to online casinos and poker rooms, is paying enormous dividends. Some gamblers appear to still be reluctant to visit casinos in person, and technology is bridging that gap.”

Of all bets in August, online wagering accounted for 88.1 percent, or $321.6 m. By taking $144.6 m in online bets, FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino was once again the primary engine, a 110.3 percent boost from $68.8 m wagered in July. In taxable profits, those bets produced $8.9 m, up 518.6 percent from $1.4 m in July.

FanDuel was followed by DraftKings at The Meadows, which produced $86.9 million in taxable revenue , up from $39.1 million and $1.2 million, down from $1.8 million.

In August, too, the retail sector gained momentum, bringing in in-person bets of $43.4 m , up from $9.4 m July. On those bets, retail sportsbooks earned $2.8 m, ahead of July’s $1.3 m. Rivers-Philadelphia, which took in $11.8 m in bets and topped gross sales with $949,903, took the race for the top retail spot. Parx Casino was receiving $6.6 m in wagers to edge the $6.4 m handle from Rivers-Pittsburgh.

The online market could get another boost, according to Valerie Cross, an analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. She clarified that not only has the NFL and college football kicked off, but Penn National has launched its much-anticipated Barstool Sportsbook app.

“Barstool is the most intriguing launch since FanDuel and DraftKings entered the market, and could really move the needle,” she said. “It’s difficult to capitalize on such a busy sports schedule if bettors are limited in their online choices. The state’s gaming industry still has significant challenges, but its ability to entice so many online competitors has made the Pennsylvania market far more resilient.”