Pennsylvania online casino, poker and sports betting bask in an August surge

Online casino and poker reached an all time high in Pennsylvania through August, as the state’s sportsbooks complemented the performance by recording their best month since the region launched the legal sports industry in November 2018.

As total revenue for the month reached $310.7m, a 5.89 per cent increase from 2019’s $293.4m, it’s Parx Casino that continues its dominant status by reporting a 7.01 per cent rise to $58.8m (2019: $54.9m).

Online casino games and poker reached another all-time high during the month with $55.9m in revenue, toppling the $54.4m generated a month earlier. This resulted in a $15.8m injection into state coffers and another $6.3m in local share assessments.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia leads the way with $17.1m, made up by $15.1m in slots and $1.94m in table games, ahead of Valley Forge Casino Resort’s $8.7m and Parx’s $7.4m. The Keystone State’s sole online poker operator, Mount Airy Casino Resort, brought it $2.72m in poker revenue, nudging its total figure to $6.85m.

“The continued growth of online casino revenue, even with opened retail casinos, shows that the industry has set a new standard for online gambling,” stated Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “The popularity of these games should remain, and likely expand, over the next few months even as casinos steady.”

Retail and online sportsbooks generated $364.99m in wagers in August, up 121.5 per cent from $164.8m in July and 234.7 per cent from $109m in August 2019, a performance which analysts say could be enough to secure number two status in the country.

Pennsylvania fell shy of Nevada’s $165.6m handle in July, but its record-breaking August could top the Silver State, which will announce August data later this month.

“In what has been a difficult year, August’s packed schedule of major sports helped Pennsylvania sportsbooks make up some of what was lost from pandemic-related shutdowns,” explained Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com.

“It is remarkable to think that Pennsylvania could surpass Nevada, the nation’s most mature sports-betting market. The state’s online products have helped bridge a gap that at one point looked nearly insurmountable.”

Online wagering accounted for 88.1 per cent, or $321.6m, of all bets in August. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino was again the primary driver by accepting $144.6m, a 110.3 per cent gain from $68.8m a month earlier. Those bets produced $8.9m in taxable revenue, up 518.6 per cent from $1.4m month-on-month.

The retail sector picked up steam in August with $43.4m in bets, up from $9.4m in July, to produce $2.8m in revenue. Rivers Philadelphia led retail books with $11.8m in bets and $949,903 in gross revenue.

The online market could get another boost, too, with the kickoff of American football and the launch of the Barstool sportsbook app.

“Barstool is the most intriguing launch since FanDuel and DraftKings entered the market, and could really move the needle,” added Cross. “It’s difficult to capitalise on such a busy sports schedule if bettors are limited in their online choices.

“The state’s gaming industry still has significant challenges, but its ability to entice so many online competitors has made the Pennsylvania market far more resilient.”