Pennsylvania iGaming Repeats July Trend in August
The story of Pennsylvania internet gaming in its barely year-old history is a positive one. Not only did it add revenue to the state’s gambling sector, it came in handy during the coronavirus pandemic. Pennsylvania was one of only three states with fully-operational internet gaming, including online poker, this year when all casinos throughout the United States – and in most parts of the world – shut down per health and government official orders.
In that light, Pennsylvania igaming is a stand-out part of the gambling industry for the state. Further, its overall numbers that soared during the land-based casino closures remain very solid overall.
Sports betting is back on the rise, internet slots and table games increased again in August, and land-based casinos started to get their grooves back.
Online poker remains a bit of an odd bird. There is still only one online poker site in the Pennsylvania market among 11 casino operators. PokerStars launched in November 2019 and remains the only choice for poker customers.
And while its revenue also soared for a few months in the first and second quarters of 2020, revenue continued on a downward trend in August.
Per the numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, let’s dig a little deeper.
Single-Site Market of Online Poker – August 2020
For many months, rumors swirled that PartyPoker and WSOP.com were prepared to enter the Pennsylvania online poker market. Of course, no company made any sort of announcement. Consequently, neither site launched yet, and it’s almost October.
Meanwhile, PokerStars continues to operate without competition. It also operates in such a small market at this point that it has little leverage to petition state lawmakers to enter into the multi-state online poker agreement that would allow liquidity. That deal would allow PokerStars – and others, eventually – to link the Pennsylvania player pools to the ones in New Jersey.
While all of those possibilities hang out there in the wind, PokerStars operates by its lonesome. And revenue dropped again from July to August.
–PA online poker revenue in August 2020: $2,729,199 (8.6% decrease)
–July 2020: $2,986,498 (7.9% decrease)
–June 2020: $3,240,917 (29.5% decrease)
–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
For a more accurate picture, we can look at the average revenue per day:
–PA average online poker revenue per day in August 2020: $90,973.30 (5.6% decrease)
–July 2020: $96,338.65 (10.8% decrease)
–June 2020: $108,030.56 (271% decrease)
–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
Eleven-Site Market of iGaming – August 2020
Online poker may be stuck with only one operator, but online casinos – slots and table games – had 11 operators in August, up one from July due to Live! Casino Philadelphia launching its site.
As usual, internet slots were about three times as popular as table games, but both combined to show growth in monthly revenue. And this growth happened in spite of land-based casinos increasing their customer capacity and welcoming more players back to their properties.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia continued to lead all other properties for igaming by at least a two-to-one margin, with Valley Forge holding a solid second place of the 11 contenders. This month, though, Parx Casino moved into third, pushing Mount Airy to fourth.
–PA internet gaming revenue in August 2020: $55,942,525 (2.9% increase)
–July 2020: $54,352,149 (8.6% increase)
–June 2020: $50,055,251 (10.4% decrease)
–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
In August, internet gaming contributed tax revenue of $24,010,433 to the state of Pennsylvania.
High participation in sports betting and internet gaming causes a year-over-year spike in gaming revenue for Pennsylvania casinos in August. https://t.co/tWcAvDjh0H
— Pittsburgh Business Times (@PghBizTimes) September 19, 2020
Twelve-Site Sports Betting Sector – August 2020
With the return of some sports after the pandemic shutdowns, bettors returned in droves to the retail and online sports betting sites. Numbers have been rising since its low point in April, when the vast majority of sports stopped and their futures were in limbo.
As athletes play again, bettors place their wagers, and the numbers reflect it.
The handle numbers were:
–PA sports betting handle in August: $364,985,422 (121.5% increase)
–July 2020: $164,782,229 (85.1% increase)
–June 2020: $89,002,562 (14.8% increase)
–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
Pennsylvania sets a new monthly high for sports betting handle in the state with $365 million wagered in Aug. 2020.
It tops the previous high of $348.3 million in Jan. 2020
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) September 16, 2020
Revenue increases started to catch up to the rate of handle growth in August:
–PA sports betting revenue in August 2020: $18,274,075 (124.3% increase)
–July 2020: $8,147,480 (22.3% increase)
–June 2020: $6,660,158 ($37.9% increase)
–May 2020: $4,828,989 (67.5% increase)
–April 2020: $2,883,471 (1.4% decrease)
–March 2020: $6,889,255 (45.9% increase)
–February 2020: $4,722,252 (79.3% decrease)
–January 2020: $22,841,213
Also, of note, the vast majority of revenue from sports betting came from online betting sites. Of the $18.2 million in August revenue, only $2.8 million of that came from retail but more than $15.4 million from online. For the three casinos that have yet to set up online sports betting options for their customers – Hollywood Casino at Penn National, Mohegan Sun Lehigh Valley, and South Philly Race & Sportsbook – they are missing out on much-needed revenue.
Land-Based and Internet Gaming in August 2020
The overall numbers were solid for Pennsylvania in August. While the pandemic remains a danger around the world, many people are either masking up or ignoring the risks to return to their normal gambling entertainment activities.
Not only did August present revenue growth from the previous month but also on a year-on-year basis.
The casinos with the largest YoY growth can attribute some of that to their online gaming launches within the last year. There were other factors as well. But it’s notable that Valley Forge was up more than 88% from August of 2019. Mount Airy was up more than 54% and Rivers Casino Philadelphia up nearly 40%.
–PA total gambling revenue in August 2020: $310,717,728
–prior month of July 2020: $283,051,763
–prior year of August 2019: $293,434,087
Year-on-year decrease: 5.89% increase
Month-on-month increase: 9.7% increase
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reports total gaming and fantasy contests revenue for August was $310,71m, which represents an increase of almost 6% over revenue generated in August 2019 of $293,43m. @PAGamingControl https://t.co/VGa5nvFS3i
— Chris Sieroty (@sierotyfeatures) September 16, 2020
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