Wagering at Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks fell modestly in May, but still pushed the state past $5 billion in wagering through fiscal year 2020-21. But as sports betting continues its summer slowdown, Pennsylvania’s online casinos and poker rooms racked up more than $110 million in gross revenue to solidify their position as the state’s most dependable gaming revenue generator, according to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.
“The seasonal slowdown will continue to be a factor until bettors can place bets on Eagles, Steelers, and Penn State football games,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayPennsylania.com. “And with the popularity of online casinos holding even as retail casino customers return, the state’s gaming industry is in relatively good shape.”
Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks accepted $447.5 million in wagers in May, down 6.7% from $479.4 million in April, according to official data released Thursday. Through 11 months of the fiscal year, sportsbooks have accepted $5.2 billion in bets.
Sportsbooks won $37.4 million off May’s wagers, up 3.8% from $36 million in April, which produced $27.7 million in taxable revenue. The month yielded $9.4 million in state taxes and $554,930 in local share assessments. Betting volume was up 477.3% in May from $77.5 million in May 2020, a month still marred by the pandemic-related shutdowns of major U.S. sports. The win jumped 532.2% from $5.9 million.
Sports betting tends to tail off from April through August, and Pennsylvania is not immune. The Keystone State’s month-over-month decline from April is steeper than the comparable states that have already reported May data, including New Jersey (up 8.9%), Indiana (up 7.6%), Iowa (down 2.9%), and Michigan (down 4.9%). But in April, betting volume in Pennsylvania was down 14.4% from March, one of the mildest month-over-month declines in the U.S.
The states that have fared the best this spring tend to be the beneficiaries of surging interest in local professional teams. A contending 76ers team, and to a lesser extent the one-series playoff appearance of the Penguins, helped the cause of Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks. But not enough to outperform other states.
“Without a national betting holiday like the Super Bowl or the NCAA Tournament, the summer months are dictated more by local interests,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks are still well-positioned this summer, especially if the Sixers can figure a way past Atlanta, because they are less reliant on college sports than some other major markets.”
Online betting accounted for 91%, or $407.4 million, of May’s handle. FanDuel/Valley Forge was the online market leader again with $160.9 million in online wagering, down from $167.6 million in April. Gross revenue rose to $17.6 million from $13.8 million in April, producing $14.2 million in taxable revenue. DraftKings/The Meadows tallied $100.0 million in bets, down from $105.7 million in April. DraftKings won $5.0 million on those bets, down from $6.4 million in April.
Penn National’s Barstool-branded app attracted $43.6 million in May, down from $57.2 million in April. Those bets yielded $2.8 million in gross revenue, up from $2.6 million in April.
The online leaders were followed by:
BetMGM/Hollywood Morgantown ($32.4 million handle, down from $33 million; $2.2 million in gross revenue, down from $2.5 million)
BetRivers/Rivers-Pittsburgh ($19.1 million handle, up from $18.8 million; $1.2 million revenue, down from $1.8 million)
Fox Bet/Mount Airy ($14.2 million handle, down from $15.2 million; $964,405 revenue, down from $1.1 million)
PlaySugarHouse/Rivers-Philadelphia ($12.2 million handle, down from $13.4 million; $832,368 in revenue, down from $995,423)
Parx Casino ($11.1 million handle, down from $14.2 million; $1.1 million revenue, down from $1.7 million)
Unibet/Mohegan Sun Pocono ($5.5 million handle, down from $7.2 million; $390,170 revenue, down from $436,595)
TwinSpires/Presque Isle ($3.2 million handle, up from $2.1 million; $120,582 revenue, up from $33,622)
Caesars/Harrah’s ($2.7 million handle, up from $2.1 million; -$65,823 revenue, up from -$75,375)
Betfred/Wind Creek ($2.5 million handle, down from $2.7 million; $101,781 revenue, up from $49,074)
With capacity limits at Pennsylvania casinos now lifted, retail sportsbooks took in $40.1 million in handle in May, down slightly from $40.3 million in April. Those bets yielded $5.2 million in gross revenue, up from $4.8 million in April. Rivers-Philadelphia led the retail market with $6.7 million in bets, edging Parx Casino’s $6.4 million handle.
“The retail market is returning to relative health,” Gouker said. “What we’re really seeing in Pennsylvania, as well as other markets, is normalization. Nothing could be more welcome after such a difficult year.”
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms surged to a near-record $110.8 million in gross gaming revenue in May. That was up 54.6% from $71.6 million in May 2020 but fell just short of the record $111.6 million set in March.
Wagering on online casino games reached $3.3 billion in May, up from $1.8 billion in May 2020 and up from $3.2 billion in April. May’s revenue produced $41.7 million in state and local taxes.
Since online casinos launched in 2019, they have generated a whopping $1.3 billion in revenue from slots, table games, and poker, yielding $432.7 million in taxes. By contrast, online and retail sports betting has produced $581.1 million in revenue and $147.6 million in taxes even though it launched in 2018.
“Online casino revenue continues to dwarf revenue from sports betting, and that gap should only grow over the summer months,” Cross said. “Even as customers return to brick-and-mortar casinos, the gains in revenue at online casinos and poker rooms made over the last year should hold. It has become a revenue-generating powerhouse for the gaming industry and for the state.”
Other highlights from May:
Online casino and poker rooms generated $3.6 million per day in gross gaming revenue over the 31 days in May, up from $3.5 million per day in April.
Penn National, which includes the DraftKings, BetMGM, and Hollywood casinos, topped the market with $43.5 million in revenue. Rivers-Philadelphia, which includes PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers casinos, was second with $30.7 million in revenue.
Poker revenue rose to $2.6 million from $2.3 million. Mount Airy/PokerStars accounted for $2.3 million of May’s revenue.
For more information on the revenue generated by Pennsylvania, visit www.playpennsylvania.com/revenue.
About the PlayUSA.com Network:
The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches produce daily original reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.
Powered by WPeMatico