A record-setting January pushed Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks past $100m in lifetime revenue. But even with a strong start to the New Year, Pennsylvania still has much ground to gain to catch New Jersey and Nevada as the largest sports betting markets in the country, according to PlayPennsylvania.com.
“Pennsylvania’s momentum is growing, and January shows that the state’s sportsbooks can sustain it even as the NFL season winds down,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Pennsylvania will likely remain the nation’s No. 3 market for the foreseeable future. But it is becoming clearer that it will one day challenge Nevada and New Jersey as the largest legal sports betting market in the US.”
Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks accepted a record $348.4m in wagers in January, breaking the $342.6m record set in December up dramatically from $32m in January 2019, according to official data released Wednesday. $308.6m, or 88.6 per cent, of the state’s January handle came online.
January’s bets produced a record $31.6m in gross revenue — up from $17.5m in December. That produced $7.78m in state taxes. With January’s gains, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks have now generated $116.4min gross revenue since launching in November 2018.
Pennsylvania is still well behind New Jersey, which generated a handle of $540.1m in January, and Nevada, which is expected to post a January handle of around $500m. Pennsylvania’s $30.7m handle for February’s Super Bowl was third behind Nevada ($154.7m) and New Jersey ($54.2m), another sign of the Keystone State’s current place in the sports betting pecking order.
“The opportunities for growth are abundant for Pennsylvania,” Mr. Gouker said. “Its population base is a huge advantage. Infrastructure issues have slowed the state’s development. But the industry is unquestionably getting past its growing pains.”
The gap between the top two online sportsbooks appears to be narrowing. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino remains the market leader with $153.1m January bets, down from $154.5m in December. That yielded $8.1m in taxable revenue, up from $7m. But DraftKings at The Meadows grew to $58.7m in January from $35.9m in December. That produced $2.8m in taxable revenue, up from $732,883.
DraftKings and FanDuel were followed by Rivers Philadelphia which generated $28.4m in handle, down from $30.6m in December; $2.2m taxable revenue, up from $1.1m.
Rivers Pittsburgh was next with $25.8m in handle, down from $28.3m in; $1.7m revenue, up from $1.3m.
Parx Casino, Fox Bet at Mount Airy and Unibet at Mohegan Sun Pocono completed the top five.
The online market could soon get a shakeup. Penn National Gaming announced that it has acquired a significant stake in Barstool Sports and with it, a recognisable brand for its online casino and sportsbook that will presumably launch later this year.
“DraftKings has been aggressively marketing itself in Pennsylvania, and it is making some headway in its attempt to catch up with FanDuel. But it still has a long way to go,” Mr. Gouker said. “Meanwhile, the expected launch later this year of the Barstool-branded online casino and sportsbook will add intrigue to a market that has been predictably controlled by the two most recognizable brands in online sports betting.”
The retail market was led by Rivers Philadelphia’s $7.4m handle, down from $7.7m in December. That yielded $1.1m in revenue, up from $590,177. Rivers Philadelphia was followed by Parx with $6.7m and Rivers Pittsburgh with the same handle.
Online casino games and poker generated $14m in January gross revenue, up from $10.6m in December. That yielded $3.4m in tax revenue for the state.
More importantly, the roster of online casinos grew to seven in January. FanDuel/Valley Forge Casino made a big splash with its debut on Jan. 24, generating $2.1 million during the remainder of the month. FanDuel was followed by the launch of BetAmerica less than a week later.
“The online casino market should get a real jolt from FanDuel’s entrance,” Gouker said. “Integrated within FanDuel’s market-leading sportsbook app, the FanDuel Casino is ideally positioned to leverage its success as a sportsbook into success as an online casino.”
Rivers-Philadelphia led the online casino market with $3.5m in revenue on $146.4m in wagers. Revenue was up from $3m on $181.5m in bets in January. Mount Airy/PokerStars, the lone online poker operator in the state, generated $2.2m in January. That is more than the $1.8m New Jersey’s online poker room generated in January, but still shy of the all-jurisdiction record $3.4m that New Jersey claimed in January 2014. Poker helped fueled Mount Airy/PokerStars to $3.5m in revenue, about the same as December.