Pennsylvania sports wagering has reported a series of records during February, but uncertainty lies ahead with every major US sport suspended indefinitely and gaming operations on pause with land-based casinos being ordered to hit pause.
Total revenue across the state surged 13.7 per cent year-on-year to $304.3m (2018: $267.5m), it follows the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board ordering the immediate closure establishments that remained open amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Revenue from online casinos should help fill in the gaps, at least in part, while sportsbooks and land-based casinos feel the impact from COVID-19,” commented Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, on the difficulty of replacing the revenue over the coming weeks.
“In New Jersey, online casino revenue already tops $50m per month, and revenue could really leap forward in Pennsylvania, too. But it will be impossible to completely replace all the revenue lost from the sports world going dark.”
The Keystone State’s online casino and poker rooms jumped 39.6 per cent month-on-month from January’s $13.9m to a record $19.4m, generating $672,097 per day throughout the period and yielding $4.7m in tax.
Boyd Gaming’s Valley Forge Casino Resort finished top of the total tally with revenue of $6m, as well as leading the igaming table games charts with $4.8m. Rivers Casino Philadelphia was below with $4.7m, as well as leading the slots revenue chart with $3.1m.
“Online casinos have dealt with headwinds that have been more forceful than anything that New Jersey operators have had to face,” commented Gouker. “These are mostly just growing pains, and it is a near-certainty that online casinos will take off.”
February pushed Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks past $2bn in wagers since the industry was launched, with the $329.8m produced in handle falling short of the record $348.4m set a month earlier.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino dominated the online market with $138.5m in February bets, down from $153.1m in January and yielding $146,080 in taxable revenue.
Rivers Casinos Philadelphia’s $7.2m handle, down from $7.4m a month earlier, led the retail market, producing $383,793 in revenue.
“The next few months are impossible to predict until we get a better handle on how long the coronavirus will affect, not just sports and the gaming industry, but all of daily life,” added Gouker.
“The immediate outlook of sportsbooks is secondary right now. But there is little doubt that the industry will be affected significantly, at least in the short-term.”