Pennsylvania sports betting handle soars, revenue slides


Pennsylvania’s gambling market posted a modest year-on-year revenue gain in September as online casino sales hit another record high.

Figures released Friday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) show state-licensed online and land-based gambling operators generated combined revenue of $284.2m, up 1% from the same month last year while falling well short of August 2020’s $310.7m.

Land-based casino operations continue to struggle under pandemic-related capacity restrictions, with total slots and table revenue of $216.6m, down from $259m in September 2019 but also below August 2020’s $232m. September’s slots were down 16.4% year-on-year to $157.4m while tables fell 16.2% to $59.2m.

Online casino revenue totaled $57m, up $1m from August’s previous market record. The state’s regulated online gambling market was only a couple months old in September 2019, during which revenue totaled a mere $4.1m.

Online slots brought in $39.3m, about $300k off August’s total, while digital table games were up $1.1m from August to $14.7m. The state’s lone active online poker licensee, PokerStars, generated $2.37m in September, down from $2.7m from August.

The state’s sports betting operators reported revenue – after significant promotional credits intended on snaring as many new NFL bettors as possible – of just $6.27m, less than half the $14.9m earned in the same month last year and barely one-third of August’s record $18.3m.

For a change, online betting revenue ($1.15m) was eclipsed by retail betting ($5.12m), in part due to Penn National’s Hollywood Casino and Meadows Casino posting net online losses of $1.12m and $2.8m, respectively. Penn launched its Barstool Sportsbook brand midway through September, and its come-hither bonus offers clearly acted as an economic drag, at least for the time being.

September’s betting revenue swoon spoiled a new monthly betting handle record of $462.8m, nearly $100m above August’s previous record and more than twice September 2019’s handle. FanDuel won the handle race with $171.2m, while DraftKings was a distant second at $118.8m and Rush Street Gaming’s BetRivers brand ranked third with $64m.

As for the market’s lesser gaming verticals, video gaming terminal revenue nudged up slightly from August to $2.38m while ‘fantasy contests’ generated $3.23m, up around $400k from September 2019.   

All-told, Parx Casino won September’s revenue race with $53.5m from all gaming verticals, with runner-up Rivers Philadelphia well back at $36.5m (but up nearly one-third year-on-year) and Wind Creek Bethlehem taking the bronze with $32m.