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.
2020 STILL A DOWNER
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.