All Pennsylvania iGaming Up in May Except Online Poker

All Pennsylvania iGaming Up in May Except Online Poker

Pennsylvania’s gambling industry had another tough month overall. All land-based casinos remained closed for the second full month on top of a half-month of March. While casinos have started their reopening processes in June, the operators are limited to the number of people in their establishments and even the games they may offer.

Meanwhile, the state’s burgeoning internet gaming industry continues to grow. It produced revenue during the coronavirus pandemic when there were no other gambling revenue sources available. Pennsylvania got in on the action just in time.

Per the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, internet gaming rose significantly overall. Table games and slots online increased, as did sports wagering and fantasy contests.

Online poker, on the other hand, notably dipped. This was the story in New Jersey as well, as all segments of internet gaming grew in May except online poker. Pennsylvania still received taxes from the poker revenue, but it paled in comparison to that from other online casino games.

Single-Site Market of Online Poker – May 2020

Through the month of May, PokerStars remained the only online poker site licensed by the state for Pennsylvania players. This has been the status of the market since PokerStars launched in November 2019. While rumors have been swirling for months about Caesars preparing to launch its site in Pennsylvania, there is still no sign that it is ready.

So, PokerStars revenue is the only option for and trackable poker site in the market. And its revenue dropped in May.

–PA online poker revenue in May 2020:  $4,596,418 (12.5% decrease)

–April 2020:  $5,253,304 (67.7% increase)

–March 2020:  $3,133,019 (71.2% increase)

–February 2020:  $1,830,356 (15.2% decrease)

–January 2020:  $2,157,266 (12.8% decrease)

–December 2019:  $2,473,137 (25.8% increase)

–November 2019:  $1,965,494

PokerStars in Pennsylvania is a bit more accurate via this breakdown:

–PA average online poker revenue per day in May 2020:  $148,271.55 (15.3% decrease)

–April 2020:  $175,110.13 (73.3% increase)

–March 2020:  $101,065.13 (60.1% increase)

–February 2020: $63,115.72 (9.3% decrease)

–January 2020:  $69,589.23 (10.5% decrease)

–December 2019:  $77,778.61 (1.1% decrease)

–November 2019:  $78,619.76

Nine-Site Market of iGaming – May 2020

Nine websites offered internet table games and slots in May, the same as in the previous month. The ones associated with Harrah’s Philadelphia and Penn National entered the market in late April, though, so May reflects their first full month of operation.

These numbers include all forms of internet games, including online poker, and reflects the entirety of the internet “casino-type” gaming category for Pennsylvania. And the total number grew substantially, despite the online poker dip.

–PA internet gaming revenue in May 2020:  $55,838,789 (29.7% increase)

–April 2020:  $43,067,881 (77.5% increase)

–March 2020:  $24,265,820 (24.5% increase)

–February 2020:  $19,490,815 (39.6% increase)

–January 2020:  $13,957,539

For the third month running, Rivers Casino Philadelphia dominated the market with $17,584,381 in revenue, with Mount Airy holding tight in second with $10,889,048. Valley Forge remained in third with $8,029,446.

The PGCB also reported that internet gaming play generated $23,976,574 in tax revenue in May.

Sports Betting Nearly Doubles – May 2020

Thirteen casinos in Pennsylvania obtained licenses for sports betting, but four of them opted out of online offerings. The other nine continued to generate some revenue during the casino shutdowns in May and despite very few professional sports in action upon which to place wagers.

The handle for May was:

–PA sports betting handle in May 2020:  $77,510,033 (68.4% increase)

–April 2020:  $46,015,988 (185.4% decrease)

–March 2020:  $131,330,059 (60.2% decrease)

–February 2020:  $329,765,782 (7.5% decrease)

–January 2020:  $348,381,708

Total revenue from online sports betting increased significantly as well:

–PA sports betting revenue in May 2020:  $4,828,989 (67.5% increase)

–April 2020:  $2,883,471 (1.39% decrease)

–March 2020:  $6,889,255 (45.9% increase)

–February 2020:  $4,722,252 (79.3% decrease)

–January 2020:  $22,841,213

The PGCB noted here that tax revenue generated from sports wagering in May totaled $1,738,436.

Only Internet Gaming in May 2020

For the second full month in a row, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board recorded no land-based casino revenue. If not for internet gaming, there would be no revenue in this sector whatsoever.

–PA total gambling revenue in May 2020:  $60,986,618

–prior month of April 2020:  $46,118,605

–prior year of May 2019:  $290,803,957

Year-on-year decrease:  79% decrease

Month-on-month decrease:  32.2% increase

Left to its own devices, internet gambling as a whole grows consistently, though it cannot replace the missing land-based casino revenues.

With casinos beginning to reopen in June, the industry will begin to recover, but it will be a slow process. Operators are limiting the number of people allowed in their establishments, taking at least 50% of slot machines out of commission, and restricting table games to few players. And many casinos have decided not to even offer any live poker yet.

Even so, June will begin the rebuilding process.



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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