Online sports wagering took the lion’s share of Pennsylvania‘s bets for the first time in July, contributing to another monthly record handle according to figures published by the state’s Gaming Control Board. But that record is likely to fall soon with the hotly anticipated NFL season kick-off looming and yet more operators preparing to come online.
A breakdown of Pennsylvania’s sports betting revenues provided by PlayPennsylvania.com shows that online and retail sportsbooks combined to generate $59.3m in bets in July, ahead of June’s record $46.3m. Combined, online and retail bets yielded $5.1m in revenue in July, up from $3.1m in June, generating $1.03m in state and local tax revenue.
“Simply put, increased online accessibility drives traffic,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Pennsylvania could have as many as six online sportsbooks operating by the beginning of the football season, and some apps have worked out their Apple issues and are now in the App Store. Add in the natural boost that comes from football season, and Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks are about to take a giant leap forward.”
With three online sportsbooks operating for the full month of July, and online heavyweight FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino launching its online product on July 22, online sports betting generated $39m in bets. That is up from $19.3m in June. More significantly, 65.7% of all bets were made online, the first time that digital betting outpaced in-person betting in the state.
“We can see the beginnings of a boom that has been held back by a market that has been slow to mature,” Welman added. “The fact that the market is working itself out ahead of the football season is a relief to those vested in the success of Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks.”
SugarHouse Casino held its market lead with $26.5m in July bets, including a market-leading $22.2m online handle, yielding $2.1m in revenue. Those figures were up on the $23.3m and $1.8m in achieved in June.
According to PlayPennsilvania.com lead analyst Dustin Gouker, the late-July launch of FanDuel Sportsbook could change the state’s dynamic. In 10 days of operation, the firm saw $3.3m in online bets. “In all likelihood, FanDuel will become the market leader in relative short order as it has become in New Jersey, where it leads both the online and retail markets,” he said. “FanDuel’s name recognition is important. But FanDuel’s functionality is appealing, and it was the first in Pennsylvania to launch a sports betting app for iPhone.”
SugarHouse, Parx and Penn National casinos each launched in mid-July, offering Pennsylvania gamblers access to online casino games for the first time. In all, Pennsylvania’s online casinos combined to generate $812,306 in revenue on $49.2m wagered, yielding $51,597 in tax revenue for the state. Sugarhouse led the way with $261,869 in revenue on $15.9m in bets.
“Once mature, online casinos will likely generate more revenue than online sportsbooks,” Welman said. “In New Jersey, online casinos generate close to $40m each month in revenue. If Pennsylvania’s market grows in a similar way, it will be enormous for the state.”