Pennsylvania Shows Record iGaming Revenue in March
There was no doubt that the March gambling revenue numbers would be all over the place. And they are.
Pennsylvania casinos began closing earlier than most in the United States. Some decided on their own to close when it became clear that public gatherings could be dangerous and places along the East Coast were already seeing the coronavirus spread. On March 16, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board had a message for the six that hadn’t closed yet. Close. Today.
With that, all 12 casinos in the state shut their doors by mid-March and remain so today, as the pandemic continues to threaten lives.
So, when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released its gambling revenue numbers this week for the month of March, they were just as wild as predicted.
Good News First: Online Poker – March 2020
As has been the case since November 2019, only one casino offers online poker in Pennsylvania. Mount Airy Casino partnered with PokerStars to launch a site on November 4. This means the increases and decreases are month-on-month, not year-on-year.
Though it started strong and saw minor decreases in subsequent months, the coronavirus shutdown of all live poker options put PokerStars over the top. This was the best month by far for the burgeoning market.
–PA online poker revenue in March 2020: $3,133,019 (71.2% increase)
–PA online poker revenue in February 2020: $1,830,356 (15.2% decrease)
–PA online poker revenue in January 2020: $2,157,266 (12.8% decrease)
–PA online poker revenue in December 2019: $2,473,137 (25.8% increase)
–PA online poker revenue in November 2019: $1,965,494
And since the first month of PA online poker was short a few days and February was short, here’s a breakdown by average per-day revenue each month:
–PA average online poker revenue per day in March 2020: $101,065.13 (60.1% increase)
–PA average online poker revenue per day in February 2020: $63,115.72 (9.3% decrease)
–PA average online poker revenue per day in January 2020: $69,589.23 (10.5% decrease)
–PA average online poker revenue per day in December 2019: $77,778.61 (1.1% decrease)
–PA average online poker revenue per day in November 2019: $78,619.76
The surge will be even more pronounced in April, when the state’s population will likely have been self-quarantined for the entire month.
More Good News: iGaming – March 2020
Many more casinos in Pennsylvania have launched online casino games, beginning in the summer of 2019. Seven partnerships offer a mix of table games and slots, adding up to significant revenue that compliments the casinos’ land-based offerings.
–PA internet gaming revenue in March 2020: $24,265,820 (24.5% increase)
–PA internet gaming revenue in February 2020: $19,490,815 (39.6% increase)
–PA internet gaming revenue in January 2020: $13,957,539
Rivers Casino Philadelphia took over the top spot of the seven casinos with online gaming ($6,757,345), followed by Mount Airy Casino with its addition of online poker propelling it to second on the list ($5,963,713). Valley Forge moved into third with $4,969,252, followed in the distance by Parx, Hollywood Casino, Mohegan Sun, and Presque Isle.
It should be noted that online casino games revenue didn’t increase as much as the previous month, despite the stay-at-home orders for half the month of March. The numbers will likely increase in April, but the reason for March’s relatively modest increase is unclear.
Truth. Authorizing iGaming must be something other states look at soon. “Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has an online gaming option,” said Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Gaming Control Board. “That has continued to keep tax revenue flowing.” https://t.co/MayMpbPLQ2
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) April 16, 2020
Sports Betting Takes a Hit – March 2020
One of the areas hit by the pandemic shutdowns was the sports betting sector. Not only were land-based sportsbooks closed for most of the month of March, but the games available for betting were reduced significantly. With all professional sports leagues on an indefinite hiatus, betting slowed significantly.
The handle for the month was as follows:
–PA sports betting handle in March 2020: $131,330,059 (60.2% decrease)
–PA sports betting handle in February 2020: $329,765,782 (7.5% decrease)
–PA sports betting handle in January 2020: $348,381,708
The revenue for the month didn’t take the same hit, however. The first part of the month saw a dramatic increase in betting on everything from hockey to basketball and baseball in anticipation of upcoming seasons and games. But by March 11 and 12, most of those sports shut down. Major league baseball waited until March 26 to announce its game delays.
The increase happened online. Retail sportsbooks dipped only slightly from the previous month, with online betting soaring.
–PA sports betting revenue in March 2020: $6,889,255 (45.9% increase)
–PA sports betting revenue in February 2020: $4,722,252 (79.3% decrease)
–PA sports betting revenue in January 2020: $22,841,213
With very few things to be on in April, expect revenue to decrease.
Overall Gambling Downswing – March 2020
When all of the numbers combine, the scope of the loss in March becomes clearer. The casinos took the biggest hit by far, which was no surprise.
–PA total gambling revenue in March 2020: $153,481,368
–PA total gambling revenue in March 2019: $316,279,316
–PA total gambling revenue in February 2020: $304,349,740
Year-on-year decrease: 51.5% decrease
Month-on-month decrease: 49.6% decrease
It’s going to be a rough year for every Pennsylvania casino operator. It is likely to be several months before any sort of recovery even begins.
Pennsylvania casinos took a large hit in March due to the coronavirus pandemic https://t.co/4do1SB46Ft
— PennLive.com (@PennLive) April 17, 2020