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SPORTS BETTING

US – Pennsylvania sportsbooks surge whilst online casinos smash records in March

By - 19 April 2021

Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks took in more than $560m in wagers, as March Madness helped spur betting to the second-highest monthly volume in state history. The Keystone State also set a fresh record for online casino revenue while the state’s sportsbooks crossed $500m in lifetime gross gaming revenue.

“March’s results show just how important the NCAA Tournament can be in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, giving a huge boost to sportsbooks at a time when football is dormant,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “With last year’s tournament canceled, sportsbooks were left a revenue hole that they could not fill. Pennsylvania itself was a bit of an unknown, since the last time the NCAA Tournament was held online sports betting had yet to launch. This really sets sportsbooks up for a strong rest of the year, especially in comparison with 2020.”

For the month, Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks collected $560.3m in bets, according to official data. That was up 326.6 per cent from $131.3m in shutdown-marred March 2020.

Sportsbooks did well on March’s bets, too, producing $41m in gross gaming revenue — up 376.7 per cent from $8.6m in March 2020. That yielded $29.4m in taxable revenue, up 326.1 per cent from $6.9m a year ago. The revenue produced in March created $10m in state taxes and $587,047 in local share assessment.

Pennsylvania sportsbooks have now generated $506.7m in gross gaming revenue since launching.

“$500m in gross gaming revenue is a threshold reached by only two other markets, Nevada and New Jersey, a sign of Pennsylvania’s increasingly mature market,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Regardless of where Pennsylvania finds itself in the state rankings, it is in an excellent position as online betting gains steam and retail sportsbooks find themselves with fewer pandemic-related restrictions.”

Online sports betting produced 91.8 per cent, or $514.3m, of March’s handle. The percentage is down from 92.2 per cent of February’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino topped the market again with $202.8m in online wagering, up from $176.3m in February. DraftKings/The Meadows was second with $116.6m in bets, up from $111.7m in February. The Barstool-branded Penn National/Hollywood Casino app generated $63.6m, down from $65.6m in February.

Retail sportsbooks generated $45.9m in handle, up from $39.8m in February, and won $3.4m.

“The Penn National-Barstool partnership has been successful, but its gains on the market leaders has stalled,” Mr. Gouker said. “FanDuel and DraftKings have built so much brand recognition and marketing might that they still hold advantages over a brand as well-known as Barstool partnering with a Pennsylvania-based company.”

Online casinos and poker rooms hit a fresh high in March with $97.7m in taxable revenue, shattering the record $80.4m set in January. Online casinos produced a record $3.2m in revenue per day.

Revenue was up 292.4 per cent from $24.9m from March 2020, a month that marks the beginning of a year-long surge that continues today. Online casino wagering has grown 275 per cent to $3.3bn from $871.6m in March 2020.

“The year-over-year gains in revenue are staggering,” Cross said. “The pandemic-related shutdowns of the state’s retail casinos changed bettor behaviour for the foreseeable future. This is evident as online casino gaming keeps setting records, even as brick-and-mortar restrictions are eased.”

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