Pennsylvania iPoker Down Again but iGaming Up Overall

Pennsylvania iPoker Down Again but iGaming Up Overall

The Pennsylvania internet gaming market has settled into a similar pattern to its New Jersey counterpart. Each month, revenue from online slots and casino games increases, as online poker decreases.

This year was a banner year for the industry in some ways, as the coronavirus pandemic brought more players to the online games than ever before. Revenue soared in March, April, May, and into June. Without live betting options, including poker, players took their action online. The burgeoning industry set records and provided revenue to Pennsylvania when the rest of the gambling options produced nothing.

As the summer turned to fall, though, online poker fell into its old ways. It took on the pattern that New Jersey online poker followed for years, that of consistently diminishing interest in online poker.

While the revenue is still important and much greater than nothing at all from land-based entities, the falling online poker numbers should concern everyone hoping for more state-regulated online poker in the United States.

But I digress…a bit.

Let’s look at the numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for September.

Single-Site Market of Online Poker – September 2020

When PokerStars launched its online poker site in Pennsylvania in the first week of November 2019, it couldn’t have imagined that it would remain the only poker site in the state nearly one year later.

Rumors surfaced numerous times in 2020 that PartyPoker or WSOP would launch some competition for PokerStars. The last positive sign was the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approving 888 as the poker platform for WSOP in the state. That happened in late September, but there are still no signs of an impending launch.

So, PokerStars remains the only state-regulated online poker option for Pennsylvania players.

And though PokerStars received a huge boost of revenue in March and April of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, revenue has dropped consistently since then. September extended that with yet another monthly decrease.

–PA online poker revenue in September:  $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

In search of a more accurate picture, this is the average revenue per day:

–PA average online poker revenue per day in September:  $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

Of course, it should be noted that the couple of million dollars in revenue from online poker has contributed to a cushion for the state of Pennsylvania during the pandemic when no land-based casinos were open for months.

Eleven-Site Market of iGaming – September 2020

Meanwhile, operators scrambled to get into the online casino business in Pennsylvania. Eleven of them currently operate via partnerships with casinos and deliver the vast majority of internet gaming revenue.

In addition, the business of online slots and table games continues to grow monthly. Even as the land-based action resumed – to some degree – in the past few months, online casino games increased each month except one.

PokerStars’ affiliation with Mount Airy gives it a boost each month and does contribute to the overall igaming market. The top operator in the state is still Rivers Casino Philadelphia, though Penn National with DraftKings climbed in September to take over the second spot. Valley Forge moved to third of the 11 sites, and Mount Airy remained in fourth.

–PA internet gaming revenue in September:  $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

Because of that revenue, the internet gaming sector generated $24,302,134 for September taxes for the state.

Twelve-Site Sports Betting Sector – September 2020

The September numbers for sports betting delivered a mixed bag. The total handle was up significantly from the previous month, but revenue was down by a larger margin.

It was the same story for retail sports betting revenue versus that of online sites. Retail revenue increased nicely from August to September, but online revenue dipped so drastically that we had to triple-check the numbers. It seems that bettors were happy enough to have the retail sports betting locations open that they visited in person in strong numbers.

The handle figures were:

–PA sports betting handle in September:  $462,787,394 (26.8% increase)

–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

The revenue numbers were just sad:

–PA sports betting revenue in September:  $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 mentioned, retail revenue was up a whopping 80.64% in September to $5,122,515. But tipping the scale the other way was online revenue, which dropped 125% from August to September. OUCH.

Valley Forge remained the top revenue-generator in the sports betting category last month, and Parx moved from fourth place to second. Rivers Philadelphia fell to third, followed by Rivers Pittsburgh.

Land-Based and Internet Gaming in September 2020

Total numbers were actually down in September across the board. This can be broadly attributed to the casino reopenings around the state. And as the virus prepares to deliver a second wave in the coming weeks and months, land-based options may take another dive while internet gaming soars again.

Time will tell.

–PA total gambling revenue in September 2020:  $284,235,444

–prior month of August 2020:  $310,717,728

–prior year of September 2019:  $281,207,405

Year-on-year decrease:  1.07% increase

Month-on-month increase:  8.52% decrease


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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