Pennsylvania casinos reported record gaming revenue in 2019 with a wind assist from their new online gambling and sports betting verticals.
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced that its statewide gaming revenue total for 2019 was $3.41b, nearly 4.5% higher than the $3.26b the state reported in 2018. Total gaming revenue for the month of December came to $291.9m, a 3.4% rise over the same month last year.
Parx Casino claimed 2019’s revenue crown with $639.4m (+6%), while Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands Bethlehem) ranked second with $522.1m (flat) and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh placed third with $392m (+9.34%). The ‘most improved’ title went to Valley Forge Casino Resort, which shot up 28% to $165.8m, for reasons that will soon become apparent.
The annual rise came despite brick-and-mortar slots revenue falling less than 1% to $2.36b, while table game revenue nudged up 2.8% to $903.6m. For the month of December, slots revenue fell 7.6% to $187.5m while table games rose 4.8% to $78.1m.
The state’s fledgling online gambling market – which only launched last July – brought in $33.6m in 2019, with $20.9m from slots, $8.2m from table games and $4.4m from poker. The poker number is impressive, given that The Stars Group’s PokerStars brand was the sole site to launch poker last year and didn’t start dealing cards until November.
Of the state’s five licensed online casinos, Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Philadelphia claimed the 2019 revenue crown with $11.8m, well ahead of Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at just under $8m and Mount Airy Casino’s $7m.
However, Mount Airy was the clear online revenue champ in the month of December with over $4m, nearly $2.5m of which came via poker. December’s runner-up Rivers Philadelphia was well back with just under $3m.
Pennsylvania’s first full year of legal sports betting produced revenue of $84.1m – neatly split between digital ($43m) and retail ($41.1m) – on betting handle of nearly $1.5b. The handle figure is only one-third of the sum reported last year in neighboring New Jersey, where digital betting plays a much larger role.
Valley Forge and its FanDuel partner won 2019’s betting crown with handle of $570.7m and revenue of $24.6m, all but $2.4m of which was won online. Rivers Philadelphia ranked second in both handle ($277.6m) and revenue ($15.5m).
December’s wagering revenue came in just under $11.4m on handle of nearly $342.6m. The sportsbooks played unlucky compared to November, when they won $14.7m on handle of $316.5m. Valley Forge claimed nearly half (46%) of December’s handle and over one-third of revenue, with all but $107k of its $4.1m revenue coming via digital channels.
Rivers Pittsburgh ranked second on December’s revenue chart with $2m, while Rivers Philadelphia placed third with $1.7m despite handling around $2.5m more wagers than its sister site in Pittsburgh. Meadows Racetrack and its DraftKings partner jumped into third place on the handle chart in just its second month of operation.
Pennsylvania’s fantasy sports revenue totaled nearly $25.9m last year, a 69% rise over 2018’s total. The state’s video gaming terminal (VGT) operations, which didn’t get underway at local truck stops until August, reported revenue of $2.3m. The year closed with 20 establishments offering a combined 100 VGTs, most of which were operated by Penn National’s Marquee affiliate.