Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks took in more than $560 million in wagers, as March Madness helped spur betting to the second-highest monthly volume in state history, according to PlayPennsylvania, which analyzes and researches the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market. Sports betting was just one piece of good news in March, as the Keystone State set a fresh record for online casino revenue while the state’s sportsbooks crossed $500 million in lifetime gross gaming revenue.
“March’s results show just how important the NCAA Tournament can be in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, giving a huge boost to sportsbooks at a time when football is dormant,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “With last year’s tournament canceled, sportsbooks were left a revenue hole that they could not fill. Pennsylvania itself was a bit of an unknown, since the last time the NCAA Tournament was held online sports betting had yet to launch. This really sets sportsbooks up for a strong rest of the year, especially in comparison with 2020.”
For the month, Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks collected $560.3 million in bets, according to official data released Thursday evening. That was up 326.6% from $131.3 million in March 2020, a month marred by the shutdown of major sports in the U.S., including the NCAA Tournament. The month represented a rebound from February’s $509.6 million handle, even as it fell short of the record $615.3 million handle in January.
Sportsbooks did well on March’s bets, too, producing $41 million in gross gaming revenue — up 376.7% from $8.6 million in March 2020. That yielded $29.4 million in taxable revenue, up 326.1% from $6.9 million a year ago. The revenue produced in March created $10 million in state taxes and $587,047 in local share assessment.
Pennsylvania sportsbooks have now generated $506.7 million in gross gaming revenue since launching, reaching yet another impressive lifetime milestone.
Pennsylvania is the first to report of the four largest sports betting markets. New Jersey should remain the top market, but Pennsylvania could feasibly pass Nevada for No. 2 in the U.S., or Pennsylvania could be passed by Illinois, which continues to gain ground.
“$500 million in gross gaming revenue is a threshold reached by only two other markets, Nevada and New Jersey, a sign of Pennsylvania’s increasingly mature market,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Regardless of where Pennsylvania finds itself in the state rankings, it is in an excellent position as online betting gains steam and retail sportsbooks find themselves with fewer pandemic-related restrictions.”
Online sports betting produced 91.8%, or $514.3 million, of March’s handle. The percentage is down from 92.2% of February’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino topped the market again with $202.8 million in online wagering, up from $176.3 million in February. Those bets produced $10.4 million in taxable revenue, up from $7.3 million in February. DraftKings/The Meadows was second with $116.6 million in bets, up from $111.7 million in February, yielding $6 million in taxable revenue.
The Barstool-branded Penn National/Hollywood Casino app is still trying to gain ground, generating $63.6 million in March, easily No. 3 in the state but down from $65.6 million in February. That produced $3.3 million in revenue.
The leaders were followed by:
- BetMGM/Hollywood Morgantown ($37.4 million handle, up from $33.7 million; $1.7 million in taxable revenue, down from $2 million)
- BetRivers/Rivers-Pittsburgh ($24.8 million handle, up from $20.4 million; $1.3 million revenue, down from $1.4 million)
- Parx Casino ($18.7 million handle, up from $17.7 million; $1.2 million revenue, down from $1.6 million)
- Fox Bet/Mount Airy ($17.5 million handle, down from $18 million; $911,248 million revenue down from $1.3 million)
- PlaySugarHouse/Rivers-Philadelphia ($17.2 million handle, up from $14.6 million; $912,183 in revenue, up/down from $957,245)
- Unibet/Mohegan Sun Pocono ($10.2 million handle, up from $7.5 million; $272,627 revenue, down from $416,533)
- Betfred/Wind Creek ($2.2 million handle, down from $1.7 million; -$186,870 revenue, down from $50,386)
- Caesars/Harrah’s ($1.7 million handle, up from $1.1 million; $136,078 revenue, up from $3,541)
- TwinSpires/Presque Isle Downs ($1.4 million handle, up from $1.3 million; -$14,229 revenue, down from $5,496)
Retail sportsbooks generated $45.9 million in handle, up from $39.8 million in February. Sportsbooks won $3.4 million on February’s bets. The top retail sportsbook was Rivers-Philadelphia with $7 million in bets, edging Parx Casino’s $6.9 million.
“The Penn National-Barstool partnership has been successful, but its gains on the market leaders has stalled,” Gouker said. “FanDuel and DraftKings have built so much brand recognition and marketing might that they still hold advantages over a brand as well-known as Barstool partnering with a Pennsylvania-based company.”
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms hit a fresh high in March with $97.7 million in taxable revenue, shattering the record $80.4 million set in January. Online casinos generated a per day revenue record, too, producing $3.2 million in revenue per day for the 31 days in March, which was up from the previous high of $2.8 million per day over the 28 days in February.
Year-over year, revenue is up 292.4% from $24.9 million from March 2020, a month that marks the beginning of a year-long surge that continues today. Online casino wagering has grown 275% to $3.3 billion from $871.6 million in March 2020.
“The year-over-year gains in revenue are staggering,” Cross said. “The pandemic-related shutdowns of the state’s retail casinos changed bettor behavior for the foreseeable future. This is evident as online casino gaming keeps setting records, even as brick-and-mortar restrictions are eased.”
Highlights from March:
- March’s revenue yielded $22.6 million in state taxes and another $13.3 million in local share assessments and county grants.
- Penn National, which includes the DraftKings, BetMGM, and Hollywood casinos, led the market with $33.6 million in revenue on $.11 billion in wagers. Rivers-Philadelphia, which includes PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers casinos, was second with $27.1 million in revenue on $668.2 million in wagers.
- Mount Airy/PokerStars, the lone poker operator in the state, generated poker revenue of $2.4 million.
For more information on the revenue generated by Pennsylvania, visit www.playpennsylvania.com/revenue.
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