Pennsylvania iGaming Steady as Overall Revenue Down

Pennsylvania iGaming Steady as Overall Revenue Down

November was a tough month for Pennsylvania gambling revenue. As with most other things in 2020, the blame rests almost solely on the coronavirus pandemic.

The second wave of the virus made its way across many parts of America in September and October, rising to a fever pitch (pardon the pun) in November. While governors across the country didn’t want to mandate shutdowns again, some mayors did feel it necessary. For example, Philadelphia officials closed casinos, among other things, on November 20. While that affected only a fraction of the casinos in Pennsylvania, many people stayed away from public places like casinos because of the risks.

With that, the November numbers were down overall in Pennsylvania for November. Land-based casinos led the way with a significant drop. Internet gaming revenue increased only very slightly. And sports betting did manage an uptick in revenue, that was mostly due an online revenue increase.

December will undoubtedly be worse. Less than two weeks into the month, Pennsylvania ordered all casinos and video gaming terminal rooms closed again. As Covid-19 rages on, these closures will likely last through the end of the year.

For now, we can only look at the November numbers, as revealed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week.

Single-Site Market of Online Poker – November 2020

For the tiny sector of the Pennsylvania gaming market that is online poker, PokerStars remains the only operational state-regulated site. And revenue from that site decreased in November, though only by a very slight margin. That followed a very slight uptick in October, meaning that piece of the market is remaining mostly stable.

Revenue might increase more significantly in December with casinos closed again. If there is any trend in 2020, it is that online poker rose when all live poker stopped.

With no word from any other online poker operators regarding a Pennsylvania site launch, it looks like PokerStars will keep its monopoly on the market in the state for the foreseeable future. The entire set of numbers here relates only to PokerStars:

–PA online poker revenue in November:  $2,409,235 (0.5% decrease)

–October 2020:  $2,422,505 (2% increase)

–September 2020:  $2,376,045 (12.9% decrease)

–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

When we take that revenue and break it down by the number of days in the month, the average daily poker revenue was actually higher in November than October by nearly 3%.

–PA average online poker revenue per day in November:  $80,307.83 (2.8% increase)

–October 2020: $78,145.32 (1.3% decrease)

–September 2020:  $79,201.50 (12.9% decrease)

–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

Look for the little online poker sector in Pennsylvania to end the year on a high note due to the Covid-19 low note in December.

Eleven-Site Market of iGaming – November 2020

Pennsylvania still has a thriving online gaming market with 11 sites. Only four of them produce less than $1 million per month in revenue. Rivers Casino Philadelphia, the market leader via its slot game offerings, generates more than $16 million per month. Penn National contributed more than $11 million in November, and Valley Forge Casino added another $10 million.

This sector of the market continued its growth in November but only a very small margin. Any growth is still growth, but it should’ve probably been a larger amount in November due to people staying home to avoid coronavirus infections. These are probably minor bumps in the road, however, as it is still a fairly fresh market.

–PA internet gaming revenue in November: $59,775,505 (0.03% increase)

–October 2020:  $59,760,431 (4.8% increase)

–September 2020:  $57,041,936 (2% increase)

–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 all, the internet gaming sector contributed $24,523,098 in tax revenue in November.

Expect sizeable growth to return to online gaming in general in December, mostly due to the continued rise of positive Covid-19 cases.

Fourteen-Site Sports Betting Sector – November 2020

Another site joined the sports betting mix in November. Wild Creek Bethlehem launched its site, not long after Live! Pittsburgh. And of the 14 casinos connected to sports betting, all but four offer online action in addition to live sports wagering.

The industry is still growing and finding its customer base, as all of the websites and sportsbooks vie for pieces of the Pennsylvania market. Growth may be slow for the sector as a whole, but it is exhibiting a fairly steady upward trend.

Handle was down for the month, but the decrease was not concerning.

–PA sports betting handle in November:  $491,910,713 (6.4% decrease)

–October 2020:  $525,802,524 (13.6% increase)

–September 2020:  $462,787,394 (26.8% increase)

–August 2020:  $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

Revenue increased, though not by a large margin, especially compared to previous months:

–PA sports betting revenue in November:  $37,350,246 (1.6% increase)

–October 2020:  $36,776,926 (486.6% increase)

–September 2020:  $6,269,883 (65.7% decrease)

–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

As for tax revenue, sports wagering accumulated $13,446,089 for the state of Pennsylvania in November.

Unsurprisingly, retail revenue dropped in November, but online sports wagering picked up the slack. Expect online to carry the sector in larger fashion in December.

Total Gaming in November 2020

All in all, revenue took a significant dip, mostly due to land-based casinos. Revenue from table games decreased 17.4% from October to November, and slot machines at brick-and-mortar establishments decreased 16.3% month to month.

Even so, the year-on-year decrease is much less stark.

Much of the decrease is due to Covid-19 restrictions, which limits the number of tables, slots, and customers in casinos. Limitations affects everything except online gambling. The following numbers include internet gaming, land-based casinos, sports betting online and live, video gaming terminals (VGTs), and fantasy sports contests.

–PA total gambling revenue in November:  $284,267,320

–prior month of October 2020:  $320,218,237

–prior year of November 2019:  $292,090,342

Year-on-year:  2.68% increase

Month-on-month:  11.23% decrease

It is difficult to predict December, but more closures and Covid-19 restrictions will likely hurt the casinos and VGTs the most. While igaming will likely increase, the overall numbers will probably drop again.


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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