PA Sports Betting Handle Jumps 55% Year Over Year in February Thanks To Record Super Bowl

Posted By Valerie Cross on March 16, 2021 - Last Updated on April 14, 2021

If someone told Pennsylvania sportsbooks a year ago they’d bring in over half a billion in handle in Feb. 2021, there would be cause for celebration. Incidentally, it’s only Pennsylvania’s fourth-best month ever for handle.

In February, sportsbooks took $509.5 million in bets. And while it was down 17.2% from the January record of $615.3 million, the bigger picture shows no cause for alarm.

PA handle has surpassed $500 million in four out of the last five months (the exception being November when handle was $491.9 million). And handle for February was up 54.5% year-over-year compared to $329.8 million last year. The month-over-month drop is also typical of February when the betting calendar cools off between the Super Bowl and March Madness.

That was also the case next door in New Jersey, where handle was $743 million in February, down from record highs of $996.3 million in Dec. 2020 and $958.7 million in Jan. 2021. Nevada has yet to release its numbers for the month. But if the trends from previous months hold, PA will rank third for total handle behind New Jersey and Nevada.

After a whopping $16.8 million in promo credits, the PA books claimed revenue of $16.4 million, a significant drop from $34 million revenue in Jan. but up 246.9% YoY. The state’s tax cut was $5.6 million with $328K going to local entities.

Eight months into the 2020/2021 fiscal year, sports betting handle in Pennsylvania has eclipsed $3.6 billion according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It has also already surpassed the total 2019/2020 fiscal year’s totals ($2.5 billion).

FanDuel Sportsbook once again led for handle with $176.3 million, accounting for 37.5% of all online bets. FanDuel was also tops in revenue with $7.3 million, after taking back the top spot for revenue in January when it posted $14.3 million.

PA sports betting handle, revenue, taxes on the rise

February 2021 handle marked a 54.5% increase from last year. Here is a look at fiscal year breakdown of the handle, revenue and taxes for sports betting in Pennsylvania.

Fiscal year 2018/2019

  • Handle: $244.6 million
  • Gross Revenue: $3.1 million
  • State tax (34%): $699,319
  • Local share (2%): $41,136

Fiscal year 2019/2020

  • Handle: $2.5 billion
  • Gross Revenue: $135.5 million
  • State tax: $46.1 million
  • Local share: $2.7 million

Fiscal year 2020/2021 (July to present)

  • Handle: $3.7 billion
  • Gross Revenue: $191.2 million
  • State tax: $65.0 million
  • Local share: $3.8 million

Where do PA sports betting taxes go?

Pennsylvania levies the highest tax on sports betting revenue at 36%.

The money collected from taxes from sports betting goes into the general fund; 34% is a state tax and 2% is a local share assessment.

Pennsylvania’s total tax dollars collected since the start of sports betting in the state is closing in on $117 million.

PA online sports betting February 2021

Super Bowl LV factored into February’s figures released on Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Sports bettors in Pennyslvania wagered $53.6 million on Super Bowl LV, a 74% increase from the previous year’s big game.

After payouts, sportsbooks won an estimated $9.4 million, a huge swing from last year when the books lost $3.3 million as a result of the Super Bowl. About 89% of all bets on the Super Bowl in Pennsylvania were placed online. Despite the success brought by the Super Bowl, previous months like January had more volume of NFL games that drew high betting volume, resulting in more handle and revenue.

DraftKings continues to rule the No. 2 spot in PA with $111.7 million handle. Through its partnership with The Meadows, DraftKings saw its revenue drop from $7.7 million in Jan. to $3.0 million in Feb.

In its second full month, BetMGM Sportsbook, through its partnership with Hollywood Casino Morgantown, had handle of $33.7 million and revenue of $199K, compared to $39 million handle and $414K in revenue in Jan. That put it fourth in market share.

Promotional credits, thanks to Super Bowl specials, were extremely high once again with $16.8 million in freebies, up a bit from $15.3 million in January.

Tracking Barstool’s PA progress

Barstool Sportsbook, in partnership with Hollywood Casino (Grantville), debuted in Sept. Since launch, Barstool has brought in nearly $349 million in handle and $17.9 million in gross (taxable) revenue.

In Feb., Barstool handle was $65.6 million, second only to December’s $71.8 million. However, gross revenue for Feb. came it at -726K. That number is the result of $5.8 million in promo credits deducted from $5.1 million in revenue. And it’s the second month in less than six months live that Barstool has posted negative gross revenue, the first being Sept.

Barstool’s biggest month yet was December, when revenue was $13.9 million. In February, Barstool’s online market share was 14% putting them again third behind FanDuel and DraftKings.

Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming, which acquired a stake in Barstool in January 2020, made headlines last week with its pending inclusion into the S&P 500.

On March 12, Dow Jones Indices announced it will add $PENN (and Caesars) into the S&P 500 Mid-Cap index on March 22. Penn was previously in the S&P 400 Mid-Cap index. On March 15, Penn National Gaming reached an all-time high of $142 a share.

Barstool founder Dave Portnoy on the inclusion of Penn in a video on Twitter said:

“They tell me the S&P 500 are the 500 most American, most dominant, most influential, most spectacular companies in the universe. I am now, a lot of people saying, their words not mine, the king of the S&P 500, hence, the king of America. We’re bigger than American steel. We’ve taken a $2 billion market cap to $20-$21 billion in the blink of an eye and we aren’t even slowing down.”

PA sports betting handle & revenue by operator in February 2021

Sports Betting OperatorTotal HandleTotal RevenueOnline HandleOnline RevenueRetail HandleRetail Revenue
Valley Forge Casino (FanDuel)$179,188,145 $7,561,605 $176,334,823 $7,321,453 $2,853,322 $240,151
The Meadows Casino (DraftKings)$113,193,193 $3,088,709 $111,724,899 $3,000,576 $1,468,294 $88,133
Hollywood/Penn National (Barstool)$67,354,922 ($872,228)$65,612,417 ($726,040)$1,742,505 ($146,188)
Hollywood Morgantown (BetMGM)$33,740,789 $198,763 $33,740,789 $198,763 $0$0
Rivers Pittsburgh (BetRivers)$25,524,432 $867,237 $20,421,224 $737,759 $5,103,208 $129,478
Parx Casino$24,179,068 $1,886,826 $17,677,686 $1,374,260 $6,501,381 $512,566
Rivers Philadelphia (PlaySugarHouse)$22,392,591 $1,301,699 $14,642,786 $759,961 $7,749,805 $541,738
Mount Airy Casino (Fox Bet)$18,693,894 $909,239 $17,962,234 $867,850 $731,660 $41,389
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$9,186,193 $326,874 $7,475,785 $106,431 $1,710,408 $220,444
Presque Isle Downs (TwinSpires)$4,000,081 $112,483 $1,303,336 ($62,650)$2,696,745 $175,133
Harrah's Philadelphia (Caesars)$3,167,651 $180,202 $1,104,817 ($2,966)$2,062,834 $183,167
Live! Philadelphia$2,927,136 $460,145 $0$0$2,927,136 $460,145
Wind Creek (Betfred)$2,380,287 ($127,685)$1,708,131 ($167,033)$672,156 $39,348
South Philly Race & Sportsbook$2,063,158 $325,084 $0$0$2,063,158 $325,084
Mohegan Sun Lehigh Valley$913,554 $112,678 $0$0$913,554 $112,678
Live! Pittsburgh$642,726 $48,176 $0$0$642,726 $48,176
Total$509,547,820$16,379,807$469,708,926$13,408,365$39,838,894$2,971,443

February fantasy figures

Fantasy operators reported about $2 million in revenue, about a 20% increase from Feb. 2020.

Of the five DFS operators in the state, DraftKings and FanDuel account for nearly all of the revenue, with $1.2 million and $743K respectively.

PlayPA writer Katie Kohler contributed to this article.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Doug Benc

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Valerie Cross

Valerie Cross is content manager for Catena Media's Play-branded sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan. She has a bachelor's degree from Furman University and master's and doctoral degrees in language education from Indiana University. Previously associate editor at PokerNews, Valerie has covered poker and legal gambling for more than five years.

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