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US – Pennsylvania sportsbooks surge in September

By - 20 October 2021

Betting volume at Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks in September was the second-most all-time for the state, nearly hitting $580m for just the second time. A spike in interest was inevitable during the first full month of football, but the surge in both sports betting and online casino gambling — which produced more than $110m in revenue — is indicative of an industry that continues to grow and mature, according to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks regulated online gaming and sports betting in the state.

“Nothing stirs the sports betting drink like football, even when the Steelers and the Eagles get off to slow starts,” said Katie Kohler, analyst for “Penn State made a difference in boosting interest, which certainly helps. The bottom line is every sportsbook wants a strong start to the football season, and that is exactly what Pennsylvania’s industry got in September.”

Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks drew $578.8m in wagers in September, according to official data released Tuesday. September’s volume was up 25.1 per cent from $462.8m in September 2020 and up 66.1 per cent from $348.5m in August.

Gross sports betting revenue nearly hit an all-time high, falling just short of the record $49.3m in revenue generated in January. Operators generated $48.1m in gross revenue in September, up 163.2 per cent from $18.3m in September 2020 and up 90.1 per cent from $25.3m in August. That created $28.3m in taxable revenue, generating $10.2m in state taxes and local share assessments.

Growth has been relentless since legal sports betting launched in Pennsylvania in 2018, and it has only accelerated this year. Through the first nine months of 2021, bettors have placed $4.3bn in wagers, or 45.6 per cent of the $9.4bn wagered in Pennsylvania since sports betting opened in November 2018. Operators have generated $340.4m in gross sports betting revenue this year on those bets, or 47 per cent of the $724.5m in revenue produced since sports betting began.

“Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks are in a position to generate more in wagering this fall than the $1.5bn that was bet in all of 2019,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the Network, which includes “The industry will in all likelihood continue to grow in the months ahead, gaining steam in October with baseball’s postseason and the opening of the NBA season. Sports betting should produce some eye-popping numbers over the next few months.”

Online sportsbooks accepted $527.4m in wagers in September, representing 91.1 per cent of the state’s total handle. FanDuel claimed 34.8 per cent of the online market with $183.7m in wagering, up from $135.7m in August. Revenue rose to $21.2m in September from $5.7m in August, which produced $5m in state and local taxes. DraftKings was second with $164.7m in wagers, capturing 31.2 per cent of the online market. Those bets yielded $5.1m in gross revenue.

Penn National’s Barstool-branded app celebrated its first anniversary by attracting $52.8m in wagers in September, the third-most in the state. Those bets produced $2.6m in gross revenue. Since launching in September 2020, the Barstool app has generated $52.9m in revenue on $647.7m in bets. The online leaders were followed by BetMGM was $50.7m handle, up from $28.4m in August; $5.6m GGR, up from $2.6m.

“Barstool hasn’t quite achieved the ‘world domination’ that founder Dave Portnoy proclaimed with the app launched, but it has performed well,” Gouker said. “No operator has seriously challenged the dominance of FanDuel and DraftKings yet. But Barstool has at least proven to be an important player in Pennsylvania.”

Retail sportsbooks drew $51.3m in wagers in September, up from $48.7m in September 2020 and from $30.4m in August. Those wagers created $7.2m in gross sports betting revenue, up from $5.1m September 2020 and $3.3m in August. Rivers Pittsburgh topped the retail market with $7.9m in bets, topping Rivers Philadelphia’s $7.1m handle.

Online casinos and poker rooms produced $111.8m in gross gaming revenue, the second-most all time in Pennsylvania and the seventh consecutive month with gross gaming revenue over $100m. September’s revenue was up 61.3 per cent from $69.4m in September 2020 and up 8.4 per cent from $103.2m in August. The monthly revenue record for online casinos and poker is $113.8m, set in May.

The win was whittled to $97.8m in taxable revenue, which yielded $41.7m in state and local taxes. Wagering at online casinos hit $3.5bn in September, up from $3.2bn in August.

“Online casinos have a symbiotic relationship with online sportsbooks,” Kohler said. “When sportsbooks do well it tends to lift the fortunes of online casinos, and vice versa. We saw that in action in September.”

Online casino and poker rooms generated $3.7m in gross gaming revenue per day over the 30 days of September, up from $3.3m per day in August.

Penn National, which includes the DraftKings, BetMGM, Barstool, and Hollywood casinos, topped the market with $43m in gross revenue. Rivers Philadelphia, which includes SugarHouse, Borgata, and BetRivers casinos, was second with $31.1m. Poker generated $2.9m in revenue. Mount Airy/PokerStars topped operators with $2m in revenue.

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