Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks posted a solid April, but it is what lies ahead that is most important for the state’s fledgling sports betting industry.
In what should be the final month before online sports betting launches, Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks attracted $36.8m in April bets. That is down 17 per cent from the record $44.5m in March, according to official reporting released on Thursday. The vast majority of action came from baseball’s first full month, the Final Four, and the beginning of the NBA and NHL playoffs. In legal jurisdictions such as Nevada, April is typically a slower sports betting month than March.
April bets generated $4.2m in revenue, down from $5.5m in March and $1.9m in February, and injected $1.5m into state government coffers, down from $1.99m in March.
“The launch of online sports betting will give the first real window into the overall strength of the industry,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Online sports betting will ultimately transform the market and put it more in line with Nevada and New Jersey, the country’s two largest sports betting markets.”
The launch of the first Pennsylvania online sports betting app is expected within days or weeks, and more online sportsbooks will soon follow suit. Online betting has proven to be critically important in New Jersey, where more than 80 percent of sports bets are made.
Assuming Pennsylvania bettors show a similar fervour for online betting as their neighbours in New Jersey, the impact will be a game-changer.
“There is no reason to believe that Pennsylvania bettors will behave significantly different than New Jersey in their preference for online sports betting products,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “The convenience and ease of use of sports betting apps make them appealing to most bettors. And having established operators will help get the online market off on the right foot.”
Rivers Casino, the only sportsbook in the Pittsburgh market, remained the market leader by attracting $8.2mn in April bets, down from $11.9m in March, and $871,753m in revenue, down from $1.3m.
Rivers was followed by SugarHouse Casino which generated $7.9m handle, down from $9.2m in March; $871,753 revenue, down from $1.2m)
Parx Casino accounted for $6.9m handle, down from $7.96m; $907,298 revenue, down from $984,339.
Next was Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, followed by FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino Resort, Harrah’s Philadelphia, South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook and finally Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook.
“We expect Rivers Casino to remain strong in the retail market, but online betting will change the market’s dynamics,” Jessica Welman said. “The May report will be interesting to see.”