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Conditions in the Keystone State were cold and miserable during January but sports wagering numbers remained red-hot for Pennsylvania sports betting operators and officials.
According to the most recent figures posted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the sportsbook handle was a new record $615.3 million in January. That number was an increase of a previous record of $548.6m established in December.
In what is becoming a not surprising trend, more than 94% of all wagers placed in the state were done online. The PGCB reported an online sports betting handle of $580 million.
Restrictions in retail onsite attendance were a factor as casinos in Pennsylvania were ordered to reopen on January 4 at 50% capacity after being shut down completely for three consecutive weeks due to COVID-19. But possibly the poor Winter weather continuing throughout the month was a bigger factor, reinforcing the convenience of iGaming for sports bettors.
As one of the US first states to embrace legalized wagering, Pennsylvania early recognized the power and potential for online wagering. With many sportsbook operators within the state into their second year, they are seeing continuing dividends from their customer programs.
State vs state comparisons cannot be judged equitably as there are variances between population, rules for wagering, etc. However, it was encouraging for Pennsylvania to increase their overall handle from December compared to neighboring New Jersey, which experienced a slight decrease from their record monthly handle of nearly $1 billion.
Online casino gaming in the state also set a record as gross revenue topped $80 million for the first time with a mark of $80.4 million. That figure represented an 11% increase over December’s previous record for one month of $71.6 million. Igaming was dominant again in January with 94% of all the total wagers made, only down slightly from the astonishing 97.6% figure in December.
Ranking US states in sports wagering handle, Pennsylvania is the third largest behind New Jersey and Nevada. They are also only the third state to achieve over $600 million per month. A figure that may be broken by a few other states including Michigan soon.
As expected, Valley Forge Casino and Resort in King of Prussia, PA led the way in sports wagering revenue within the state with a total handle of $223.3 million and taxable revenue of $14.5 million. Operated by Boyd Gaming, the sportsbook operation is run by FanDuel.
DraftKings Sportsbook and the Meadows sportsbook in western PA came in second during January, with $145.2 in wagering handle and $7.7 in revenue.
Next was Parx Racetrack and Casino, with the Parx sportsbook taking in $28.8 million in bets while producing $1.8 million in revenue. Rounding out the top performers were the Hollywood Casino, part of Penn National Racetrack for Barstool, who processed $66.5 million in wagering handle with $1.1 in revenue.
The performances of these facilities along with their operators were very encouraging, especially involving the revenue numbers. Pennsylvania had a bit over $17 million in taxes and brought in local share assessments and county grants totaling approximately $10 million. An unexpected figure since casinos and sportsbooks were expected to suffer a bit due to conditions involving COVID-19 and the state-mandated restrictions.
The short-term forecast for Pennsylvania should be bright in February and March, counting wagering totals and profits involving the Super Bowl followed by the NCAA College Basketball Tournament the following month.
The PGCG reported that the early wagering handle for the Super Bowl weekend through retail and online wagering at sportsbooks was $53.63 million. That indicated a $74% increase over last year’s Super Bowl weekend. Most importantly, revenue was about $9.4 million on a whopping 17.4% hold. Last year Pennsylvania lost $3.3 million during that time.
Look for more headlines next month announcing sports wagering records broken in Pennsylvania.
Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
Email: [email protected]
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