After months of inactivity, Pennsylvania’s online gambling industry has resumed its record-setting pattern in August with $55.9 million of revenue.
Online gambling in the state marked its first year in July. Its growth was uninterrupted for the first 11 months. However, the closure and reopening of retail sportsbooks and casinos due to the coronavirus pandemic saw wavers in this upward trend.
Online gambling has since regained its vigor. Although July’s revenue was better than that of June, it was still below the record-setting revenue in May. However, it now seems things are back on track as the state’s operators set a new record in August.
According to the PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB), online casinos and poker rooms recorded total earnings of $55.9 million in August compared to $54.4 million in July. The August total breaks May’s previous record by only $103,738. Of this revenue, $31.9 million went to operators, while $24 million went to the state.
August 2020 was also the first month to make a year-on-year comparison as August 2019 was Pennsylvania’s first full month of operation. Overall, internet gaming tax has multiplied by a factor of 16 during that time.
Pennsylvania Online Gambling Revenue
Revenue / ∆ Monthly / ∆ Yearly:
· Total: $55.9 million / +3% / +1,532%
· Slots: $39.6 million / 0% / +1,469%
· Table games: $13.6 million / +14% / + 1,404%
· Poker: $2.7 million / -9% / N/A
While breaking down revenue vertically, August repeated July patterns. Slots held almost steady, while essential all of the industry’s growth was the outcome of table games.
Here again, it was the two leading licensees dominating the trend: Rivers and Penn National. Rivers shot up its table game revenue by 26%, with slots increasing by a mere 9%. Yet, the more dramatic difference was witnessed by Penn National, with table games up by 54% while slots surprisingly dipped by 3%.
The arrival of DraftKings could have affected Penn’s gains. Its competitor, FanDuel, which focuses on the same clientele, has close to 50/50 revenue divided between tables and slots, and it is fair to assume that DraftKings performs the same in that regard.
A significant implication of the ever-increasing importance of table games is that operator revenue is currently swelling faster than tax revenue. This is due to the fact that the rate Pennsylvania charges on slots is colossal. After-tax earnings were up 4.1% in August compared to tax contributions that increased by a mere 1.4%.
Pennsylvania Online Poker
Online poker in PA has seen its ups and downs. Revenue increased in the initial days of the casino closures but, unlike online casinos, began plunging quickly again following casino reopenings. This drop has not stopped in four months. It did appear to be slowing down in July, however, August recorded an even greater loss of 9%.
Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Revenue
· Total PA sports betting: $13.7 million
· Online sports betting: $12.4 million
· Retail sports betting: $1.3 million
Sports betting has eclipsed any other form of gambling in recent months and has been the biggest success story post-pandemic. However, it was not unexpected given the fact that sports have been returning gradually.
In August, the NHL and NBA proved to be the events that made a difference. Both leagues resumed play and went straight into their playoffs, causing both online and retail sports betting revenue to double between July and August. However, the best month of the year is still January during which sportsbooks earned $31.6 million. With the renewed optimism, it appears that the last months of the year will beat the January record as the NFL season begins.
Handle rose to a greater extent, with retail sportsbooks accepting $43.4 million in wagers, compared to mere $9.4 million in the month of July. Meanwhile, sportsbook apps recorded $322 million in bets in August, up from $155 million in July.
However, hold dropped as online and retail channels combined held mere 7.6 cents per dollar wagered, compared to 8.3 cents in July.