Pennsylvania set for bumper year
after record breaking end to 2019

Pennsylvania sportsbooks closed 2019 with a record handle of $342.6m, with online poker drawing significant interest as the popularity of igaming entities continues to grow, according to analysts from PlayPennsylvania.

Online casino games and poker produced a record $10.6m in December gross revenue, up 22 per cent from $8.7m in November. This yielded $2.3m in state taxes.

Poker generated $2.5m during the month, all at the Mount Airy Casino Resort, with the property and PokerStars leading the online casino and poker market with $3.5m in revenue on $73.6m in bets.

“The interest in poker so far in Pennsylvania is dramatic compared with neighbouring New Jersey, where about 3 per cent of online casino and poker revenue comes from poker,” Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “New Jersey got off to a hot start, too. So the question now is can the Pennsylvania sustain the initial enthusiasm.”

As well as generating $342.6m in handle, online and retail sportsbooks brought in $1.5bn in wagers, including $1.1bn in online bets, during the year. 

PlayPennsylvania stresses that with a full year of online sports betting ahead and an increasingly robust offering of operators, Pennsylvania should more than double that handle in 2020.

“That last two months of 2019 began to show us the real potential of the Pennsylvania market,” stated Gouker. “The launch of DraftKings in November, adding one of the best-known brands to Pennsylvania, helped push online betting forward. And now that the online market is maturing, it is entirely possible that 2020 could bring in $4bn or more in online and retail bets.”

In December, the region’s sportsbooks accepted $342.6m in wagers, up 8.2 per cent from $316.5m, according to data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Online sportsbooks produced $297.5m, 86.8 per cent of the handle. December’s bets produced $17.5m in revenue, down from November’s $20.6m win, injecting $3.9m into state coffers.

“Pennsylvania is beginning to succeed where it wanted to most: making sports betting a significant revenue driver for the state,” Gouker added. “Its tax rate is significantly higher than every other state, which has slowed the industry’s growth. But Pennsylvania is the most populous state to fully legalise sports betting, and that has proven to be too enticing for operators to ignore.”