Sportsbooks from Pennsylvania generated just a fraction of the bets they could have anticipated during a normal April, while online casinos and poker rooms hammered their revenue record with $43.1 m.
According to PlayPennsylvania.com, that divergent path, including an estimated loss of more than $300 m in sports bets, will exist for as long as most major sports remain closed, and the state’s land-based casinos remain closed.
Pennsylvania sportsbooks generated just $46 m in wagers during a month in which PlayPennsylvania.com would have estimated a handle of nearly $350 m. That is down from March’s $131.3 m, but marginally up from April’s $36.8 m, before online sports betting began.
Sportsbooks’ gross revenue generated $3.2 m, up from $8.6 m in March. The victory took State taxes to $988,255.
Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com noted: “The growth in online gambling as well as betting on non-traditional sports are industry bright spots. But there just isn’t any way for Pennsylvania operators to compensate for such a dramatic loss of revenue, including at retail sportsbooks and land-based casinos, which can’t generate a single dollar right now.”
Until the COVID-19 shutdowns, sportsbooks in Pennsylvania had risen from a low handle of $31.5 m in 2019 to a record $348.4 m in January 2020.
Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com said: “The momentum that brought records month after month for Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks has been reversed almost instantly. Until sports leagues figure out a way to reopen, these dreary results will continue.”
With retail sportsbooks shuttered in April — potentially missing out on some in-person bets of $35 m, online sportsbooks created the entire handle for Pennsylvania. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino led the April market with April wagers worth $19 m, down from March’s $53.7 m. That yielded $1.3 million in taxable incomes, down from $2.8 million in March.
Pennsylvania ‘s online sportsbooks, restricted to futures betting and action on non-traditional sports, are probably faring better than could have been expected. And sportsbooks may soon be getting some support from more popular sports, with the revival of auto racing, golf planning on teeing off in the coming weeks, and Major League Baseball coming closer.
Gouker said: “A $46m handle with such limited options in terms of sports is a surprise. April could potentially be the statistical low point, but there is so much that can happen that the immediate future is impossible to predict. That is a bit disconcerting for operators.”