Pennsylvania Sportsbooks Record Second-Bets Monthly Handle

In November, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks developed their second-best monthly handle ever and set a new sales high, but fell short of the $525.8 million state record set in October. According to analysts at PlayPennsylvania, the result was unexpected, given that in the same month, neighbouring New Jersey catapulted to an all-jurisdiction high.

Online and retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania hit $491.9 million in November, 35.7 percent ahead of $316.5 million in November 2019. Operator revenue was especially high before changes, hitting a record $48.5m in November despite bringing in fewer wagers. That surpassed the previous record set in October of $47.8 m and was up 235.8 percent from $17.5 m in November 2019.

Revenue in November yielded $12.7 million in state taxes and another $747,005 in local share evaluations.

Only New Jersey, which smashed the all-jurisdiction record in November wagers with $931m, and Nevada have ever reported a more profitable month. But the distance between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the largest market in the country, expanded in November after $931.6m in wagers were approved by the Garden State.

Dustin Gouker, PlayPennsylvania.com’s lead analyst, said: “So much has worked in favor of Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks this fall, but a lack of NBA, NHL, and college basketball games, along with the struggles of Penn State, an Eagles bye week, and a Steelers game postponed to December, conspired to slow bettors in November.

“With record revenue and the second-best handle in state history, it was still a great month for the industry. And I suspect that Pennsylvania will be back to setting record handles again in December.”

Analyst colleague Valerie Cross added: “November’s results show that each state is different in what are unprecedented times, and the relatively high win rate by sportsbooks may have dissuaded some bettors. Ultimately, though, record revenues are particularly important for the industry and for the state, which is relying on online gaming revenue more than ever.”

Online gaming accounted for 91 percent, or $447.4 million, of the handling of the state in November, which is up from 89.8 percent in October. With $176.7m in online bets, FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino remained the industry leader, down 2.3 percent from the $181m wagered in October. Those bets produced taxable income of $15.1m up from $14.7m in October.

In November, DraftKings/The Meadows was in its familiar second place, making bets of $109.9m down from $121m in October. That yielded a taxable income of $6.9m. With Penn National’s Barstool-branded app, the race for second tightened marginally. Barstool/Hollywood Casino produced $55.7m in bets in only its second full month since launching, down from $61m, which yielded $3.5m in taxable revenue.

Gouker said: “The Barstool app has been successful in shaking up the market, becoming the first online operator to legitimately challenge the stranglehold that FanDuel and DraftKings have had on Pennsylvania’s market.

“What the Penn National/Barstool partnership has done has not only altered the Keystone State, but it has served notice in other jurisdictions that it is indeed a force to be reckoned with.”

In November, retail sportsbooks, which have been shut down since, hit $44.5m in bets, down from $53.5m in October. On those bets, Sportsbooks won $6.2m down from $6.3m. With $9.2m in bets, the largest retail sportsbook was Parx Casino.