Pennsylvania projections suggest the jurisdiction’s sportsbooks could be on track to record in the region of $6bn in sports wagers in 2021, with the state’s online casinos capable of reaching more than $800m in revenue, following a strong start to the year.

The Keystone State has opened the year with more than $600m in monthly sports wagers for the first time while setting a fresh record for online casino revenue.

In a continuation of its digital momentum, online casinos and poker rooms took a record $80.4m in January revenue, up from $71.6m in December.

The $2.6m per day taken by the igaming entities surpassed the $2.3m per day across the 31 days of December, and generated $17.3m in state taxes and another $10.2m in local share assessments and county grants.

“With retail casinos closed, December’s record could have been an outlier,” noted Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “But January’s results prove that the gains made last month are more than resilient.

“Such a strong start to the year could mean a year with more than $800m in online casino revenue, which would be huge for the state.”

Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks took $615.3m in bets in January, up 76.6 per cent from $348.4m year-on-year and topping the record $548.6m in wagers set in December.

Those bets produced $34m in taxable revenue, up 49.1 per cent from $22.8m in January 2020, and yielded $11.5m in state taxes and $679,408 in local share assessments. Since launching in November 2018, Pennsylvania sportsbooks have generated $111.7m in taxes.

“A return to relatively normal — with a healthy retail market and a dependable sports schedule — would be enough to fuel growth in Pennsylvania’s gaming industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com

“There are a lot of positive signs right now as sportsbooks and online casinos continue to gain steam, and hopefully, the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos begin to regain their footing. If things do return to normal, the gaming industry should see significant gains across the board in 2021.”