Pennsylvania Gambling Industry Up and Down in February

Pennsylvania Gambling Industry Up and Down in February

A quick look at the February gaming revenue numbers form the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board shows a decrease in overall gambling revenue for the second month of the year.

Live gaming establishments increased their revenue for slots and gaming tables from January to February, and video gaming terminals showed a boost in revenue. All of this was a response to land-based gambling options opening up and expanding capacity in light of lower Covid-19 infections.

Online gaming fell, though, for both online poker and all other casino games online. Some of that can be explained by the three fewer days on the calendar in February. And all of the figures for February 2021 are better than those for the previous February.

Sports betting hit a big downswing in February, which can’t exactly be explained away by a calendar day difference.

Even so, Pennsylvania’s gambling industry hit a hiccup in February but remains on a fairly steady road to a post-pandemic recovery. And that recovery is made substantially easier by the revenue derived from online gambling and sports betting.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board - PGCB

Online Poker Total Down but Average Up

Most months only vary by one day. Sometimes, though, the jump from January to February needs to be broken down further because of the three-day difference.

While the overall numbers from January to February do appear to be down 7.5% for online poker, that’s not the whole story. Breaking it down to the daily average, that actually shows a monthly increase for this sector of igaming. Per the daily average breakdown, online poker revenue actually rose 2.4%.

With that in mind, there is little need to worry about online poker at this point. But as the year wears on and last year’s trend kicks in, revenue may struggle to stay stagnant.

–February 2021 online poker revenue: $2,520,078

–January 2021 online poker revenue: $2,725,600

–February 2020 online poker revenue: $1,830,356

Month-on-month change:  7.5% decrease

Year-on-year change:  37.7% increase

Keep in mind, though, that there is still only one online poker operator in Pennsylvania. PokerStars has been the sole poker provider since it launched in November 2019. Nearly a year and a half later, the only thing players hear is rumor about other sites preparing to launch. While the market could use some competition, PokerStars is happy to rake in all of the profits on its own.

PA iGaming Stumbles a Bit

The total igaming sector in Pennsylvania has been a thing of beauty for the state in the past year. When the coronavirus pandemic shut down live gambling venues – reducing their revenue to zero – online gambling operations kept the industry alive.

Last month, the ten online casino operators delivered a record (another one) with its monthly revenue. This month, the sector broke its record-setting trend but only due to the day difference. Considering the daily average instead of the full month’s revenue, February igaming actually grew 6.63%.

The overall PGCB records, however, show a loss from month to month. But the increase over the previous year remains more than a little impressive.

–February 2021 total igaming revenue: $77,788,457

–January 2021 total igaming revenue: $80,413,132

–February 2020 total igaming revenue: $19,490,815

Month-on-month change:  3.3% decrease

Year-on-year change:  299.1% increase

The entire internet gaming sector delivered $31,638,562 in tax revenue to the state from February revenue. No one is complaining about that.

Sports Wagering Handle Falls Notably

It is not unusual for February sports betting to decrease in February, and the three fewer days in February is noted. But the drop in revenue last month was down even by those standards.

Sixteen casinos offered sports wagering in February, with all but five of them doing so via both retail and online operations. Even with that opportunity and sports beginning to ramp back up in 2021, revenue was down significantly and  even more from January to February. Yearly growth, however, was significantly higher than in the same month of 2020.

–February 2021 sports betting handle: $509,547,820

–January 2021 sports betting handle: $615,294,827

–February 2020 sports betting handle: $329,765,782

Month-on-month change:  17.19% decrease

Year-on-year change:  54.52% increase

–February 2021 sports betting revenue: $16,379,807

–January 2021 sports betting revenue: $33,970,396

–February 2020 sports betting revenue: $4,722,252

Month-on-month change:  5.2% decrease

Year-on-year change:  246.9% increase

Pennsylvania took in $5,896,731 in tax revenue from the sports betting industry in February.

Total Gaming: February 2021

There will be growing pains in Pennsylvania…and every other state. Recovering from an unexpected and financially crushing pandemic has no roadmap. People will react differently to land-based gambling based on vaccines and numerous other factors, as they will with all public spaces going forward. Most analysts expect things to return to “normal” sometime in 2021, but there are no guarantees.

Online gambling, though, should continue to grow. February was an odd month, not only because of its shortage of days.

The final numbers in February were not as bad as they seemed, as the adjustment to the daily average revenue showed an overall increase of 7.47% in revenue, but all signs point to a better March all the way around.

–February 2021 total gaming revenue: $301,979,821

–January 2021 total gaming revenue: $311,102,747

–February 2020 total gaming revenue: $304,349,740

Month-on-month change:  2.93% decrease

Year-on-year change:  0.78% decrease

In total, gambling operators produced $122,892,932 for the state of Pennsylvania for February 2021.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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