Sports betting slows as online casinos continue to thrive in Pennsylvania

Online casinos continue to thrive in Pennsylvania, as sports betting slowed to its lowest level since September 2020 amid the absence of the NFL or a major betting holiday, such as the NCAA Tournament.

Analysts say that the Keystone State’s igaming ecosystem “showed more dramatic year-over-year growth,” with $105.5m in gross revenue and $92.7m in taxable revenue in April. Online casino wagering hit $3.2bn for the month, which is up 128.6 per cent from March’s $1.4bn.

Revenue produced during the 30 day month produced $25.5m in state taxes and another $13.1m in local share assessments and county grants. Penn National topped the market with $36m in revenue on $1.2bn in wagers, with poker revenue at Mount Airy/PokerStars hitting $2.3m.

“Online casinos continue to thrive, even as retail casinos operate under few restraints and competition among online operators heats up,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.

“New operators joining the mix shows there is still a belief that the online casino market in Pennsylvania has not yet reached its peak.”

Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks accepted $479.4m in wagers in April, and in the process broke a streak of four consecutive months above the $500m barrier.

April’s volume was down 14.4 per cent from $560.3m in March and the lowest since sportsbooks generated $462.8m in September, however, handle was up dramatically over the $46m taken one year earlier.

Sportsbooks won $36m in gross gaming revenue of April’s wagering, which is up 1,025.1 per cent from $3.2m in April 2020 but down 13.9 per cent from $41m in March. April’s receipts produced $26.3m in taxable revenue, yielding $8.9m in state taxes and $525,930 in local share assessment.

“Sports betting is following normal seasonal patterns seen in almost every legal jurisdiction, so it might be until September that the state’s sportsbooks begin to challenge the state record books again,” noted Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayPennsylvania

“With the Olympics and the NBA Playoffs later than usual this year, this will still be a summer that is better than a typical year. And that could be especially so if Sixers make a deep run into July.”

Online sports betting accounted for $439.1m of April’s handle, or 91.6 per cent, with FanDuel/Valley Forge leading online operators again with $167.6m in online wagering.

Retail sportsbooks generated $40.3m in handle in April, which is down from $45.9m in March. This produced $4.8m in gross revenue, while Rivers Philadelphia topped the retail market with $7.7m in bets.

“Retail betting, whether casino games or sports betting, continues to inch toward normal, while the gains in online revenues made over the last year continue to hold,” Cross added. 

“That has created an overall gaming market that easily surpasses pre-pandemic level, even if retail betting is not quite where it was.”