Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks celebrated the third anniversary of legal sports betting in the state by handling more wagers in October than any other month. The record $776 million in sports bets also pushed the state’s lifetime handle to more than $10 billion, this as Pennsylvania’s ever-expanding online gambling industry set another revenue record and joined New Jersey as the only states to produce $1 billion in revenue over a calendar year, according to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks regulated online gaming and sports betting in the state.
“The convergence of all that betting inventory, particularly with five weekends of football, made a record in October all but assured,” said Katie Kohler, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Such a big leap in October shows that Pennsylvania still has an increasing base of bettors, and those bettors are placing more in wagers as they become increasingly comfortable with in-game and proposition betting.”
Spurred by five full weekends of football, and boosted with postseason baseball and the opening of the NHL and NBA seasons, bettors poured $776.3 million in wagers into Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks in October, according to official data released Tuesday. That was up 47.6% from $525.8 million in October 2020 and up 34.1% from $578.8 million in September. Only New Jersey and Nevada have ever produced more in bets over a single month.
Operators generated $42.3 million in gross revenue in October, down 11.6% from $47.8 million in October 2020 and down 12.1% from $48.1 million in September. October’s revenue was well short of the record $49.3 million in revenue generated in January. In the end, sportsbooks produced $23.5 million in taxable revenue after $18.7 million in promotional spending, which yielded $8.4 million in state taxes and local share assessments.
The state’s first retail sportsbooks launched in November 2018, generating $508,997 in gross revenue on just $1.4 million in bets. Since, sportsbooks have generated:
- $10.1 billion in wagers, $5.04 billion of which has come in 2021
- $766.8 million in gross revenue, including $382.6 million so far this year
- $232.9 million in promotional spending, or “free bets”
- $192.2 million in state taxes, including $92.7 million in 2021
“Three years in, and the state’s sportsbooks continue to expand,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayPennsylvania.com. “Remarkably, about half of all wagers and revenue have come through sportsbooks in the last 10 months. Pennsylvania clearly has room to grow before it reaches its ceiling.”
$714.1 million of October’s wagers came through online sportsbooks, representing 92.0% of the state’s handle. FanDuel claimed 37.9% of the online market with $270.8 million in wagering, up from $183.7 million in September. Revenue fell to $19.3 million in October from $21.2 million in September.
DraftKings was second in the state with $201.7 million in wagers, representing 28.2% of the online market. Those bets yielded $9.6 million in gross revenue. Penn National’s Barstool-branded app was third in October with $71.5 million in wagers, which yielded $118,849 in gross revenue. BetMGM was fourth with a $65.9 million handle, producing $4.3 million in gross revenue.
Retail sportsbooks accounted for the remaining $62.2 million in wagers in October, up 16.2% from $53.5 million in October 2020 and up 21.2% from $51.3 million in September. Those wagers created $5.05 million in gross revenue, down from $7.2 million in September. Rivers Pittsburgh led retailers with $9.3 million in bets, topping Rivers Philadelphia’s $9.1 million handle.
“Online sportsbooks in particular benefit from NFL regular season games, which offer hundreds of options for in-game betting in addition to more conventional bets,” Kohler said. “Props and in-game betting are now a cornerstone for growth.”
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms shattered the state record with $117.04 million in gross gaming revenue, pushing annual revenue to a record $1.05 billion through 10 months of 2021. New Jersey and Pennsylvania both reached $1 billion in annual online casino revenue in October, the first states to reach the milestones.
Revenue was up 58.8% from $73.7 million in October 2020 and up 4.7% from $111.8 million in September. The previous revenue record was $113.8 million, set in May.
Wagering at online casinos hit $4.1 billion in October, up from $3.5 billion in September. The win produced $102.9 million in taxable revenue, generating $43.3 million in state and local taxes.
“Online gambling continues to thrive, while the state has a consistent and significant revenue generator,” Gouker said. “Pennsylvania taxes its online gambling industry at a higher rate than any other open market in the U.S., and that decision made years ago by regulators has proven to be a valuable one for the state.”
Other highlights from October:
- Online casino and poker rooms generated $3.8 million in gross gaming revenue per day over the 31 days of October, up from $3.7 million per day in September.
- Penn National, which includes the DraftKings, BetMGM, Barstool, and Hollywood casinos, topped the market with $44.4 million in gross revenue. Rivers Philadelphia, which includes SugarHouse, Borgata, and BetRivers casinos, was second with $31.0 million.
- Poker generated $2.9 million in revenue. Mount Airy/PokerStars topped operators with $1.9 million in revenue.