The Reality Is Fantasy Revenue Numbers Pale In Comparison To Sports Betting

Written By Katie Kohler on June 21, 2019 - Last Updated on April 16, 2020

Is this real life?

Is this just fantasy?


Yes, it’s been 13 months since Pennsylvania started regulating (and taxing) online daily fantasy sports.

On June 20, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board posted May’s Fantasy Contest Report. It shows fantasy contests revenue of $1,803,056 for May 2019, an increase of 35.39% over May of 2018. This is the first month in PA regulated fantasy with year-over-year comparisons.

Tax revenue collected from the play of fantasy contest for May was $270,458.

Pennsylvania’s top fantasy picks

FanDuel and DraftKings are the top two revenue generators, by far. FanDuel earned $960,155 and DraftKings netted $813,346. From May 2018 to May 2019, the pair ruled the market with 98.36% of the Commonwealth’s total fantasy sports revenue. FanDuel and DraftKings lead the market nationally with better than 90% market share.

DRAFT finished a distant third with $18,001.

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Sports betting is a top pick

May’s Fantasy Contest Report comes a day after the PGCB May Sport’s Wagering Report.

Revenue from betting on real games crushed online daily fantasy sports.

Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks generated $35.9 million in bets and $2.8 million in revenue in May.

Daily fantasy sports are taxed at 15% in Pennsylvania. It’s much lower than the 36% tax rate for sports betting.

In seven months, sports betting garnered the state more than $7 million in taxes. Daily fantasy sports has yielded less than $3.7 million across 13 months.

Expect Pennsylvania sports betting numbers to take big leaps when online sports betting launches completely. Currently, just is the only online app. Even with a limited market for four days, it generated more than half a million dollars in May.

The birth of fantasy

On Oct. 26, 2017, the PA House passed a bill to formally legalize daily fantasy sports in Pennsylvania, along with online poker and other forms of online gambling, including online table games and slots. One day earlier, Senate passed the same bill, H 271.

Pennsylvania became the 17th state to regulate daily fantasy sports and the fourth to regulate online gambling when Gov. Tom Wolf signed H 271 into law. The minimum age for DFS players is 18.  Anyone 21 years or older can bet on sports in Pennsylvania.

In May 2018, regulated DFS in Pennsylvania officially launched. At the time, there were 10 licensed operators:

  • Boom Fantasy
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • FantasyDraft
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship
  • FastPick
  • Sports Hub
  • Scout Fantasy Sports
  • Yahoo Fantasy

Currently, there are seven operators.

How to play fantasy sports

In fantasy sports, players compete against each other by drafting players with a limited budget or in a draft format. The teams earn points based on stats compiled by drafted players in real-life sporting events. Daily fantasy sports games run for a single play or limited period. More traditional fantasy sports contents run the extent of a season.

In terms of payouts for DFS, the operator takes a cut of the total buy-in on a content. The top point-earning teams win a certain percentage of the pool.

Fantasy Contests ProviderMay 2019
May 2018
% Change
Yahoo Fantasy Sports$8,463$4,43091.01%
Fantasy Draft$1,176$2,500-52.95%
Sportshub Technologies$1,012$1,591-36.37%
Boom Fantasy$903$8516.04%*$0$319-
Statewide Total$1,803,056$1,331,70635.39%

* stopped providing fantasy contest in Pennsylvania in July 2018.

Katie Kohler Avatar
Written by
Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She is the Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania and covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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