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US – Pennsylvania online sportsbooks take in majority of action for first time

By - 18 August 2019

Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks accounted for the majority of the state’s bets for the first time in July, propelling the sports betting industry to another record handle.

But with more operators expected to go online in the month ahead, and football’s kickoff weekend set for the end of August, July’s record should be short-lived, according to PlayPennsylvania.com.

“Simply put, increased online accessibility drives traffic,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Pennsylvania could have as many as six online sportsbooks operating by the beginning of the football season, and some apps have worked out their Apple issues and are now in the App Store. Add in the natural boost that comes from football season, and Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks are about to take a giant leap forward.”

Online and retail sportsbooks combined to generate $59.3m in bets in July, which was up from the previous record of $46.3m set in June. Combined, online and retail bets yielded $5.1m in revenue in July, up from $3.1m in June, resulting in $1.03 million in state and local tax revenue.

With three online sportsbooks operating for the full month of July, and online heavyweight FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort launching its online product on 22 July, online sports betting generated $39m in bets. That is up from $19.3m in June. More significantly, 65.7 per cent of all bets were made online, the first time that digital betting outpaced in-person betting in the state.

“We can see the beginnings of a boom that has been held back by a market that has been slow to mature,” Welman said. “The fact that the market is working itself out ahead of the football season is a relief to those vested in the success of Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks.”

SugarHouse Casino continued its market lead with $26.5m in July bets — including a market-leading $22.2m online handle — yielding $2.1m in revenue. SugarHouse’s July is up from $23.3m in June bets and $1.8m.

The late-July launch of FanDuel Sportsbook could change the state’s dynamic. In 10 days of operation, FanDuel drew $3.3 million in online bets, or $325,984 per day.

“In all likelihood, FanDuel will become the market leader in relative short order as it has become in New Jersey, where it leads both the online and retail markets,” Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “FanDuel’s name recognition is important. But FanDuel’s functionality is appealing, and it was the first in Pennsylvania to launch a sports betting app for iPhone.”

SugarHouse, Parx Casino and Penn National casinos each launched in mid-July, offering Pennsylvania gamblers access to online casino games for the first time. In all, Pennsylvania’s online casinos combined to generate $812,306 in revenue on $49.2m in wagers, yielding $51,597 in tax revenue for the state. SugarHouse led the way with $261,869 in revenue on $15.9m in bets.

“Once mature, online casinos will likely generate more revenue than online sportsbooks,” Welman said. “In New Jersey, online casinos generate close to $40m each month in revenue. If Pennsylvania’s market grows in a similar way, it will be enormous for the state.”

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