Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks have pushed past $100m in lifetime revenue thanks to a record-breaking January, but the state still lags behind New Jersey and Nevada in the race to become the largest US sports betting market.
Sportsbooks accepted a record $348.4m in wagers in January, breaking the $342.6m record set in December and up dramatically from $32m in January 2019. $308.6m, or 88.6%, of the state’s January handle came online.
January’s bets produced a record $31.6m in gross revenue — up from $17.5m in December. That produced $7.78m in state taxes. With January’s gains, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks have now generated $116.4m in gross revenue since launching in November 2018.
Pennsylvania is still well behind New Jersey, which generated a handle of $540.1m in January, and Nevada, which is expected to post a January handle of around $500m. The state’s $30.7m handle for February’s Super Bowl was third behind Nevada ($154.7m) and New Jersey ($54.2m), another sign of the Keystone State’s current place in the sports betting pecking order.
“Pennsylvania’s momentum is growing, and January shows that the state’s sportsbooks can sustain it even as the NFL season winds down,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com.
“Pennsylvania will likely remain the nation’s number three market for the foreseeable future. But it is becoming clearer that it will one day challenge Nevada and New Jersey as the largest legal sports betting market in the US.”
Talking about the longer term prospects for the state, Gouker added: “The opportunities for growth are abundant for Pennsylvania. Its population base is a huge advantage. Infrastructure issues have slowed the state’s development. But the industry is unquestionably getting past its growing pains.”
The gap between the top two online sportsbooks appears to be narrowing. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino remains the market leader with $153.1m January bets, down from $154.5m in December. That yielded $8.1m in taxable revenue, up from $7m. But DraftKings at The Meadows grew to $58.7m in January from $35.9m in December. That produced $2.8m in taxable revenue, up from $732,883.
According to Gouker, the online market could soon get a shakeup in light of Penn National Gaming’s acquisition of a significant stake in Barstool Sports and, with it, a recognizable brand for its online casino and sportsbook that will presumably launch later this year.
“DraftKings has been aggressively marketing itself in Pennsylvania, and it is making some headway in its attempt to catch up with FanDuel. But it still has a long way to go,” Gouker said. “Meanwhile, the expected launch later this year of the Barstool-branded online casino and sportsbook will add intrigue to a market that has been predictably controlled by the two most recognizable brands in online sports betting.”