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As operators wait for the arrival of online sports betting to the state, Pennsylvania casinos posted sluggish numbers in April with only $4.2 million in winning revenue.
The total figures are down significantly from March’s totals that were boosted by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
In April, Pennsylvania casinos brought in $36.8 million in bets that created $1.4 million in tax revenue for the state.
The $36.8 million total in wagers is down close to $8 million from March’s haul of $44.5 million.
The state’s revenue in March totaled only slightly more than April at $1.9 million.
Pennsylvania currently has one of the largest tax rates for a state that has enacted sports betting in America.
The state taxes 34% of a casino’s profit from sports wagering with 2% kicked in for local taxes for a total rate of 36%.
Since betting started last November, Pennsylvania’s sports betting law has generated $5.72 million in total tax revenue.
Many are calling the implementation of online wagering in Pennsylvania to be the great savior for the bottom line of operators and legislature alike.
With stagnant revenue in the early stages of Pennsylvania’s foray into sports wagering, the state’s lawmakers quickly approved online betting to supplement revenue figures.
But how big can online betting make Pennsylvania? The answer may lie in what’s happening with New Jersey.
The Garden State recently announced that 81% of all their betting is coming via mobile devices and online wagers.
Experts in the gaming industry believe the slow growth Pennsylvania has experienced will soon change with the arrival of online betting.
“The launch of online sports betting will give the first real window into the overall strength of the industry,” Jessica Weiman, analyst at PlayPennsylvania.com, said to Legal Sports Report.
“Online sports betting will ultimately transform the market and put it more in line with Nevada and New Jersey, the country’s two largest sports betting markets.”
New Jersey is routinely bringing in over $300 million per month in wagers but due to a low tax rate has seen revenue close to what Pennsylvania has seen with brick-and-mortar betting only.
Even though Pennsylvania Gaming Board members are telling media that online betting is “imminent” and “coming very soon” to the state, many are wondering why it is taking so long.
Many in the gaming industry believe that Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh or Sugarhouse in Philadelphia will be the first to offer online wagering but details are cloudy at best.
What we do know is that the Gaming Board is currently testing the casino’s mobile application to see if it can withstand a surge of betting and operate without problems.
David Forman, director at the American Gaming Association, recently told the Allentown Morning Call that testing is a frustrating but ultimately necessary process.
“Regulators are rightly focused on the integrity of the bets and making sure operators have reliable platforms to use,” Forman said.
“All markets, with maybe the exception of New Jersey, have shown a learning curve.”
“As other states learn and roll this our more broadly, we’ll see an impressive uptick in the amount bets and revenue raised,” Forman concluded.
Anxious residents that are ready to place their online bets in Pennsylvania may have to wait a few more weeks before wagering is available on their phone.
But all indications point to online betting being ready within the next four weeks.
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