Pennsylvania sets iGaming revenue, sports betting handle records in December


Pennsylvania’s gambling operators set new monthly records for online casino revenue and sports betting handle in December 2020, although it wasn’t enough to rescue the market from posting its first full-year revenue decline since 2014. 

Figures released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) show statewide gaming revenue of just $168.7m in the month of December, a 42.2% decline from the same month last year and the third straight month of sequential declines. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the state’s casinos to close in mid-December in a bid to halt the further spread of COVID-19. As a result, December’s land-based slots revenue was down 77.5% year-on-year to $42.2m, while land-based table games fell 78.2% to just over $17m.

Retail’s loss was online’s gain, as online casino and poker brought in $71.6m in December, handily beating the state’s previous high-water mark of $59.8m set in October 2020. Online slot revenue soared 730% year-on-year to $46.25m, tables gained a lucky 777% to $22.6m and the state’s lone online poker site nudged up a comparatively modest 10.4% to $2.73m. 

December’s sports betting handle hit $548.6m, edging out October’s $525.8m for a new state record. Betting revenue totaled just over $34m, well shy of November’s record $37.35m. Online wagering accounted for the bulk ($32.9m) of December’s revenue total.

Penn National Gaming and its Barstool Sportsbook claimed the largest share ($13.9m) of December’s betting revenue despite ranking a distant third on the handle chart ($72.5m). Compare that to handle leader Valley Forge and its FanDuel partner, which claimed revenue of $7.3m from handle of $209.2m, while Meadows Casino (DraftKings) earned $5.4m from total wagers of $131.5m.  

At any rate, the net result of all this online action was Penn National’s Hollywood Casino claiming December’s overall revenue crown with $42.4m, well ahead of runner-up Parx Casino’s $23.3m and third-place finisher Valley Forge’s $21.7m. 

For 2020 as a whole, total statewide gaming revenue hit $2.65b, a significant tumble from 2019’s $3.4b and the first year of negative growth since 2014. With Pennsylvania’s casinos shut for nearly one-third of 2020, it’s clear the picture would have been far worse had the casinos’ digital offerings not been available. 

Total iGaming revenue went from $33.6m in 2019 to nearly $565.8m last year, with Rivers Casino Philadelphia leading the way with $162.6m. Penn’s Hollywood was a distant second with $122.5m and Valley Forge third with $95.3m. 

Sports betting revenue grew 125% year-on-year to $189.7m, of which Valley Forge claimed $69.1m, more than twice the $30.3m earned by runner-up Meadows, while Parx’s $19.6m narrowly edged out Hollywood for third place. 

Land-based table games contributed $504.3m to 2020’s overall figure, a year-on-year decline of 44.2%, while retail slots shed over $1b to $1.35b.