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It was no surprise nor shock whatsoever that Pennsylvania shattered their monthly numbers for both sports wagering and overall online casino play during the month of August. Fueled by the recreated COVID-19 sports calendar in August led to a record month for betting in Pennsylvania. Bettors risking $365 million collectively on the NBA, NHL, MLB, and other various sports and wagering events.
Figures released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) show statewide gaming revenue 5.9% higher than the same month last year and an impressive 10% better than July 2020’s total. The individual gaming vertical revenue totals include the ongoing capacity restrictions on the casinos’ gaming floors. Obviously, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, retail slots revenue fell 19% year-on-year to $167M, while retail table games were down 14.5% to $65.1m.
To put into perspective how much those August 2020 numbers mean is to make a comparison to past results involving the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania first went online in August 2019, indicating the first full month of Pennsylvania’s regulated online casino market. Much has changed within the overall casino landscape since then. August 2020’s online slot revenue hit $39.6m, a giant increase from only $2.5M a year ago, while online table games went from a small $903K to nearly $13.6M. PA’s only online poker operator Poker Stars hadn’t yet launched in August 2019, added another $2.7M to August 2020’s total.
In summation, Pennsylvania’s online casino market earned almost $56M in August, only a $1.6M increase of July 2020’s result, however still resulting in a new state record. Their largest onsite casino, Rivers Casino Philadelphia accounted for $17.14M of this total (about 1/3), while Valley Forge Casino Resort was second at $8.7M with Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA just outside Philadelphia ranked third with $7.45M.
No surprise that sports betting revenue nearly tripled yearly comparison figures to just under $18.3M. All but $2.83M of was completely earned online. Betting handle hit a record $365M, up a giant 122% from July as all major league sports returned including the NHL Stanley Cup plus the NBA playoffs.
Valley Forge and its FanDuel partner claimed the betting handle crown with $149.2M, with the Meadows Casino/DraftKings tandem a distant second with $88.2M and Rush Street Gaming’s BetRivers and SugarHouse brands third with $57.4M. The trio accounted for nearly 81% of August’s total handle.
The sportsbook leader was FanDuel, partnering with Valley Forge to produce a betting handle of $149.2M in August. DraftKings was a far down second place holder with $88.2M. BetRivers and SugarHouse casinos combined with Rush Street Gaming to acquire $57.4M.
It should be important to note that over 88% of the sports wagering total, or $321.6 million, was placed online A trend that is echoing dominance in neighboring New Jersey and other new US states as legalized sports wagering rolls out.
September 2020 not only promises but guarantees those August numbers will be eclipsed in Pennsylvania.
First, the beginning of the NFL season and NCAA college football season is sports gambling’s largest revenue contributors. Along with the NHL, NBA plus Major League Baseball continues to wrap up its unique regular season offers a unique opportunity for all books.
Last week, the state also welcomed the long-awaited launch of Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook brand. PNG will be going full force to instill early returns to reinforce confidence involving their somewhat controversial decision to acquire a 36% of Barstool. Thus far the stock market has been positive and responsive, but now PNG will face some pressure to produce financial results.
Overall, while the major games go on, tabulating the numbers for September certainly will be impressive and likely record-breaking again for PA.
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.
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