The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released the March sports betting handle for the Keystone State this week. It was a solid month for PA online sportsbooks, mainly because of another March Madness filled with upsets and wild endings.
Caesars Sportsbook PA has gained some market share in Pennsylvania over the last several months and finally cleared a big hurdle. For the first time ever, they ranked No. 4 in handle in Pennsylvania.
The Las Vegas-based sportsbook still has an uphill battle to claim even more market share, but came out of nowhere to earn its current spot in Pennsylvania.
Caesars rapidly ascends among Pennsylvania sportsbooks
Caesars Sportsbook recorded a handle of $40.4 million in March, placing fourth in the Keystone State. The top three consisted of the usual PA sports betting platforms:
- FanDuel PA Sportsbook: $280.7 million
- DraftKings PA Sportsbook: $187.9 million
- BetMGM PA Sportsbook: $56.4 million
Caesars finished fourth, ahead of Barstool Sportsbook for the first time since launching in Pennsylvania. Barstool Sportsbook recorded $37 million in handle for March.
Caesars started to pick up steam just in time for the NFL and college football seasons in September 2022. After a massive rebrand in Pennsylvania, Caesars had occupied the sixth spot in handle from September 2022 until January of this year. Caesars leap-frogged BetRivers PA Sportsbook for the fifth position in January.
Then Caesars made another jump in March when surpassing Barstool Sportsbook in handle for fourth place.
It’s clear Caesars is making strides in the Pennsylvania sports betting market, however, it has a ton of work to do to cut into FanDuel and DraftKings’ hold in the state.
Caesars Sportbook’s humble beginnings in Pennsylvania
Caesars Sportsbook launched in Pennsylvania in March 2020. With the NCAA Tournament cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caesars, along with every other PA sportsbook, could not cash in like it intended.
Caesars’ gross taxable revenue finished in the red for much of FY 2021/2022. Its revenue consisted of:
- July 2021: -$128,882
- August: -$604
- September: -$36,587
- October: -$460,872
- November: -$86,653
- December: -$78,827
- January 2022: -$137,997
- February: -$184,796
- March: $19,231
It wasn’t until Caesars announced and launched the new rebrand that the online sportsbook started to gain some traction.
New upgrades paying off for Caesars Sportsbook
In 2021, Caesars partnered with William Hill and would undergo a rebrand.
The rebrand features:
- Customized offers
- Flexible limits
- A wide range of betting lines
- Liberty, the company’s owned and integrated tech stack
The sportsbook links with Caesars Rewards loyalty program and bets earn Caesars Rewards Tier Credits and Reward Credits. The credits earned with Caesars Rewards can be redeemed at over 50 destinations across states, including Harrah’s Philadelphia. Promotions include free play, dining, getaways and more.
In a 2022 Q1 earnings call, CEO Tom Reeg addressed plans to build market share in Pennsylvania.
“In terms of building share, these are states where we’re undeniably late to the game. We’re going to be smart about how much resources we throw at them, but roll in tying them into our brick-and-mortar business. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of customers out of Pennsylvania, both in Chester and in Atlantic City. We’d expect to continue to grind higher in market share.”
Since the new upgrades, it’s evident that Pennsylvania bettors are using Caesars at a much higher rate. Since September 2022, Caesars has posted the following sports betting handle:
- September 2022: $20.1 million
- October: $26.6 million
- November: $30.8 million
- December: $31.5 million
- January 2023: $35.6 million
- February: $30 million
- March: $40.4 million
March Madness betting is comparable to NFL season
The NCAA Tournament is one of the best sporting events in the country. With buzzer beaters and upsets, the nearly three-week tournament draws huge betting numbers for Pennsylvania.
PA sportsbooks did not see big numbers from the tournament before 2020 with sports betting just launching. Then, taking a pause in 2020 because of COVID-19 didn’t help matters, either.
The Keystone State rebounded in 2021, receiving $560.3 million in handle that year for March Madness betting. Last year, Pennsylvania recorded $715 million and increased slightly this March to $723.5 million.
For three straight full seasons, the NCAA Tournament draws just about as many bets as one month during the NFL regular season. Here is a breakdown of handle:
2020 NFL / 2021 March Madness
- September: $462.8 million
- October: $525.8 million
- November: $491.9 million
- December: $548.6 million
- March: $525.8 million
2021 NFL / 2022 March Madness
- September: $578.8 million
- October: $776.3 million
- November: $761.6 million
- December: $750.4 million
- March: $715 million
2022 NFL / 2023 March Madness
- September: $645.2 million
- October: $797.1 million
- November: $789.2 million
- December: $754.8 million
- March: $723.5 million
March Madness has held its weight in Pennsylvania as a premier sporting event and rivals the NFL season for that single month. It shouldn’t be surprising that Caesars’ best month in Pennsylvania happened during this time.