The return of major sporting events has given Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks a welcome fillip, with July handle nearly double that of June’s.
Combined, retail and online sportsbooks generated $164.8m in wagers in July, up 85.1% from $89m in June, while year-on-year wagers were up 177.7% from $59.3m in July 2019.
“The return of baseball and the NBA were seminal moments for Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks, obviously,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “There is no making up for what was lost during the shutdowns. But with online casinos sustaining incredible growth, major sports back in play, and retail casinos gradually reopening, the industry is thankfully moving forward.”
Gross revenue also surged to $8.1m, up 22.3% from $6.7m in June and up 185.7% from $2.9m in July 2019. July’s revenue produced $2.8m in state taxes and another $162,950 in local share assessment. Sportsbooks have now produced $51.6m in state taxes and local share assessments since launching in November 2018.
“Even just over a week of baseball and a few days of the NBA was enough to unleash pent-up demand for wagering on major sports,” Gouker added. “August should be a huge month, with NBA and NHL playoffs drawing bets that aren’t typical in the late summer. That should help Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks make up a little of the revenue lost this spring.”
Not unexpectedly, bettors continued their overwhelming preference for online betting, accounting for 94.3%, or $155.4m, of July’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino remains the market’s dominant player, collecting $68.8m in online bets, more than doubling the $32.9m in June wagers. July’s handle generated $1.4m in taxable revenue, down from $2.9m in June.
Retail sports betting remained relatively slow in July, generating $9.4m in bets, which was up significantly from $689,534 in June. Sportsbooks won $1.3m on those bets after losing $99,270 in June. Parx Casino overtook the market lead with $2.2m in July wagers, beating out Rivers-Pittsburgh’s $1.6m handle. But Rivers-Philadelphia topped gross revenue with $303,571.
“The key for sports betting going forward is obviously the health of the various major sports leagues in the US,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “We saw with the Phillies that the pandemic can abruptly alter the sporting landscape. And with college football in jeopardy this fall, and the NFL still working through its plans, the fall remains quite uncertain.”