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US – Pennsylvania sportsbooks have second best ever month in November

By - 18 December 2020

Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks produced their second-best monthly handle ever and set a new revenue mark in November. But November’s results still missed the state’s record set in October, a surprising result considering neighboring New Jersey catapulted to an all-jurisdiction record in the same month.

“So much has worked in favor of Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks this fall, but a lack of NBA, NHL, and college basketball games, along with the struggles of Penn State, an Eagles bye week, and a Steelers game postponed to December, conspired to slow bettors in November,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst at PlayPennsylvania.com. “With record revenue and the second-best handle in state history, it was still a great month for the industry. And I suspect that Pennsylvania will be back to setting record handles again in December.”

Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks reached $491.9m in November, according to official data released Thursday. November’s wagers were up 35.7 per cent from $316.5m in November 2019 but fell short of the $525.8m record set in October.

Operator revenue before adjustments was particularly strong, reaching a record $48.5m in November despite taking in less in wagers. That topped the former record of $47.8m set in October and was up 235.8 per cent from $17.5m in November 2019. November revenue yielded $12.7m in state taxes and another $747,005 in local share assessments.

Only New Jersey, which shattered the all-jurisdiction record with $931m in November wagers, and Nevada have ever posted a more lucrative month. But the gap between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the nation’s largest market, widened in November after the Garden State accepted $931.6m in wagers

“November’s results show that each state is different in what are unprecedented times, and the relatively high win rate by sportsbooks may have dissuaded some bettors,” said Valerie Cross, analyst at PlayPennsylvania.com. “Ultimately, though, record revenues are particularly important for the industry and for the state, which is relying on online gaming revenue more than ever.”

Online betting accounted for 91 per cent, or $447.4m, of the state’s handle in November, which is up from 89.8 per cent in October. FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino Resort remained the market leader with $176.7m in online bets, down 2.3 per cent from $181m wagered in October. Those bets produced $15.1m in taxable revenue, up from $14.7m in October.

DraftKings/The Meadows was in its familiar second position in November, producing $109.9m in bets, down from $121 million in October. That yielded $6.9m in taxable revenue. The race for second tightened slightly with Penn National’s Barstool-branded app. In just its second full month since launching, Barstool/Hollywood Casino generated $55.7m in bets, down from $61m, which yielded $3.5m in taxable revenue.

“The Barstool app has been successful in shaking up the market, becoming the first online operator to legitimately challenge the stranglehold that FanDuel and DraftKings have had on Pennsylvania’s market,” Mr. Gouker said. “What the Penn National/Barstool partnership has done has not only altered the Keystone State, but it has served notice in other jurisdictions that it is indeed a force to be reckoned with.”

BetRivers/Rivers-Pittsburgh generated the second highest amount, followed by Fox Bet/Mount Airy and Parx Casino.

Online casinos and poker rooms continued their hot streak, narrowly hitting another high in November with $59.77m in gross operator revenue, or $2m per day, over the 30 days of November. That was up from the record $59.76m, or $1.9m per day, produced over the 31 days of October.

State and local governments were a big winner, too, receiving $16.2m in state taxes from online casino and poker revenue and another $3.2m in local share assessments from November’s revenue.

“Online casinos have become one of Pennsylvania’s most reliable revenue streams,” Cross said. “As winter takes hold and retail casinos closed, the best months for online casinos are almost assuredly yet to come.”

Online table games and slots generated $57.4m in revenue on $2.3bn in bets, which is up from $2.2bn in bets in October. Rivers-Philadelphia, which includes PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers casinos, topped the online casino market with $16.6m in revenue, even with October, on $602.8m in wagers, which was up from $590.5m in wagers. Penn National, which includes the DraftKings casino, hit $15.7m in revenue on a market-leading $675m in wagers, up from $15.5m in revenue and $664.6m in wagers in October. Mount Airy/PokerStars, the lone poker operator in the state, generated poker revenue of $2.4m, even with October.

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