PA Gaming Review: Gambling Stocks Make Headlines, Tracks Recovering, OTBs Closed

Written By Kevin Shelly on July 8, 2020 - Last Updated on April 1, 2021

News in Pennsylvania has recently focused largely on adjustments to the new normal after most casinos and horse tracks reopened.

The ripples mean online gambling stocks are hot.

Tracks are looking to re-establish their financial footing.

And some satellite betting sites remain shuttered.

Online offerings and their stocks are hot

Adjustments to virus shutdowns are tangible in the numbers, with April and May accounting for 54% of the year-to-date online casino gross gaming revenue. Demand is such that online casino gross gaming revenue so far this year, $501 million, has already surpassed the total for all of 2019.

A 45-minute Motley Fool podcast examined the underlying stocks recently, including companies active in PA. The theme of the show was the transition from physical wagering to online betting, and places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey are the main drivers for recent stock pumps.

The companies and stock for GAN, DraftKings and Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of FanDuel and PokerStars, were discussed. Not included but drawing interest are Penn National Gaming stock, and PENN and Golden Nugget‘s plans to roll out GNOC, a strictly online company, and list it on Nasdaq.

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Back on track, but unsure of footing

All but one horse track, Erie’s Presque Isle Downs, are again operating. But that’s without spectators in the grandstands and with safety precautions in place.

Reopening the last track is set for July 27, but the barn reopening was pushed back, so who knows?

The state racing nonrestricted fund, the primary account that pays for racing, dropped from $6.002 million to $4.854 million from the end of May 2019 to May 2020.

Are OTB sites bad bets?

The state’s two off-track betting locations, South Philadelphia Race & Turf Club and Oaks Race & Sportsbook, remain closed.

There’s no indication yet of if or when the Parx-related locations might reopen.

They closed when Pennsylvania’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos closed in mid-March to slow the spread of coronavirus. Eleven of the 12 PA casinos reopened, but Rivers Casino Pittsburgh closed again last week with cases spiking in Allegheny County. The plan was to close for one week, but it’s possible that will change.

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Kevin Shelly Avatar
Written by
Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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