Pennsylvania Joins Club for States Setting Monthly Sportsbook Records in September
- PA joins New Jersey and Nevada in September setting best-ever sportsbook months
- The introduction of the new Barstool app, in co-op with Penn National Gaming was a big factor
- Like all US states, all major US sports in-play plus Covid-19 created online dominance
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It comes as no surprise to learn Pennsylvania has joined New Jersey and Nevada in recently announcing their top sports wagering handle month to date. The Keystone State generated a record $462.8M in bets. The mark surpassed $450M in wagers in Pennsylvania.
September’s handle was up 137.9% from $194.5M during September 2019 and easily surpassed the previous record of $365M set in August. The only caveat was the record wagering produced only $6.3M in taxable revenue, a decline from $18.3M in August, and $14.9M in September 2019. A result of heavy promotion and the unpredictable negative win/loss results for sportsbooks. September revenue yielded $2.1M in state taxes plus $125,398 for local share assessments.
The Perfect “Sportsbook” Storm
Several advantages combined to help Pennsylvania achieve an impressive mark. Thus far PA is the only state where the nationally known Barstool Sportsbook app is available. It launched midway in the month on September 18 in partnership with Penn National Gaming to a huge weekend. In that September 18-20 period, the Barstool app was downloaded over 63,000 times, averaging 21,000 downloads per day during the Friday to Sunday period it first debuted live.
Penn National Casino and Racetrack outside of Harrisburg, PA achieved an impressive handle of $32,335,584 for September with Barstool. Almost $30M of the total handle was online via the new Barstool app. One of Pennsylvania’s leading casinos, Valley Forge Casino Resort near Philadelphia accounted for over $171M in September. A large increase after having $149M in August handle.
Other sports wagering handle numbers for Pennsylvania casinos included: Meadows, $118,790,269 in September after $88,248,545 in August; Rivers Philadelphia, $31,643,398 in September ($32,066,001 in August); Rivers Pittsburgh, $32,368,960 in September ($25,344,591 in August) and Mount Airy, $24,983,955 ($22,717,893 in August).
Like other US states, all sportsbooks enjoyed the unusual occurrence of all four major US sports playing simultaneously. Also, popular NCAA College Football getting started during September. Along with the delayed PGA USA Open and the Kentucky Derby running Labor Day weekend for the first time, it was truly a “September to Remember” for PA sportsbooks.
Online Wagering Dominant
Although many casinos in Pennsylvania welcomed back visitors onsite, there were still restrictions than inhibited traditional outcome before Covid-19. It was clear that wagering through Barstool’s new app plus dominating sports betting influence online controlled all record-breaking results.
Valerie Cross, the analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, commented:
The question now becomes whether Pennsylvania can sustain this level once the sports calendar returns to normal. Pennsylvania has etched a place in the top tier of gaming markets and could possibly pass Nevada as the nation’s No. 2 market before the end of the year.
Will October Continue the Momentum?
Many strong indicators point toward potential PA could break September records in October. The first ten days of the month will account for lucrative NBA Finals action. Both National Football League and NCAA college football will be in full stride during October including localized Big Ten football. All sportsbooks will have extra Major League Baseball games including the World Series for both casual and serious bettors.
From a business perspective, newly signed-up sports bettors have likely utilized free plays and bonus money. That frees up the extra opportunity for deposits to be wagered upon. That could equal the extra hold for the state along with more tax revenue. It is also expected that Barstool will continue to drive more dollars into the state along with Penn National.
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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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