Land-based closures for pandemic precautions in mid-March accelerated legal online gambling traffic and revenue. In Pennsylvania, it has translated into record numbers for the state’s ten online casinos.
The reopening of most PA land-based casinos in June – all at 50% capacity – had little effect on online gaming numbers. June iGaming revenue totaled $50 million (down slightly from an all-time high $55.8 million in May). In June, $3.2 million in iGaming revenue came from online poker.
Looking at slots and table games alone, revenue was $46.8 million, with $21.5 million going to state and local taxes. While a slight dip from their May peak, both remained around three-times their pre-pandemic levels.
Total wagers for online slots in PA surpassed $1 billion for the second month in a row – more than double pre-pandemic play.
Meanwhile, the market continues to mature, adding new casinos and products along the way. PA has seen new operators and new apps, with plenty more to come.
June numbers: PA online casino still flying high
Slot revenue in June was $36.8 million, down just $2 million from May. Table games saw a relatively greater decline, going from $12.4 million in May to $10.0 million in June. Total play in June was still on par with May’s astronomical number.
Here’s a look at these total play, revenue, and taxes from PA online slots and table games from January through June.
|Total Play||$1.7 billion||$1.8 billion||$1.4 billion||$871.6 million||$703.6 million||$466.8 million|
|Revenue||$46.8 million||$51.2 million||$37.8 million||$21.1 million||$17.7 million||$11.8 million|
|Tax Revenue||$21.5 million||$23.2 million||$16.5 million||$8.1 million||$6.5 million||$4.6 million|
Top PA online casino operators, new iGaming developments
The online casino market in Pennsylvania continues to flourish in 2020, now with 10 online casinos to choose from. The first operator launched in July, 2019. For the fiscal year 2019/20 (July 1-June 30), the first full year with iGaming live in PA, online gambling yielded almost $240.9 million in revenue.
Looking at June, the same heavy hitters remain on top, accounting for the majority of iGaming play. Those operators include Rivers Philadelphia, Penn National, Valley Forge, and Parx.
Rivers Philadelphia is the land-based partner for both BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse online casinos, which will soon merge under the BetRivers brand. Penn National strengthened its iGaming portfolio with the DraftKings Casino launch on May 1. Penn now offers both a Hollywood Casino and DraftKings Casino app in PA.
|Casino Operator||Total Revenue||Slots revenue||Table Games revenue|
|Rivers Philly* (SugarHouse & BetRivers)||$15.0 million||$13.3 million||$1.7 million|
|Penn National* (Hollywood & DraftKings)||$9.6 million||$7.7 million||$1.8 million|
|Valley Forge (FanDuel)||$7.8 million||$4.6 million||$3.2 million|
|Parx Casino||$6.2 million||$5.0 million||$1.2 million|
|Mt. Airy (PokerStars & FOXBet)||$4.5 million||$2.7 million||$1.8 million|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)||$2.5 million||$2.2 million||$377,000|
|Harrah's Philly (Caesars)||$761,000||$742,000||$18,000|
|Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)||$498,000||$504,000||-$7,000|
|Totals:||$46.8 million||$36.8 million||$10.0 million|
Where do we go from here?
The Pennsylvania iGaming market has demonstrated a strong aptitude for growth. And clearly, the appetite for new products and competition abounds.
Most recently, FanDuel and DraftKings launched standalone casino apps in Pennsylvania (and before that, in NJ). The pair continue to branch out from their fantasy roots. With most of their traditional customers deriving from DFS and sports betting, FanDuel and DraftKings are demonstrating a commitment to serving an ever-expanding client base.
Jesse Chemtob, General Manager of FanDuel Casino, told PlayPennsylvania following their app launch:
“We are happy with the results so far, but there is a larger market, rather than just sports bettors or table games players…There is a much bigger online casino market we are trying to tap into. We want to offer a product to those players who are looking for a bit of a different experience than what you might find within a sportsbook app.”
Meanwhile, slot libraries and online table games options continue to grow, with some approaching New Jersey-like levels. And DraftKings announced in their Tuesday presser that they’ll soon launch Live Dealer games in PA, which could be a real game-changer.
While extremely popular in New Jersey, live dealer products have yet to launch in the Keystone State with the PA requirement for separate in-state servers. That means operators with products in both NJ and PA can’t just use their already-established servers in the Garden State.
Get ready for poker expansion in PA
In June, PokerStars PA revenue figures dropped back down to earth from the record $5.3 million and $4.6 million earned in April and May, respectively. But June’s $3.2 million revenue was still their third-best since launching in November, 2019.
PokerStars was the early bird in PA, and they’ve reaped the benefits. But the PokerStars PA lone reign will soon come to an end as multiple other operators move to get regulatory approval to launch. Among them are partypoker, which could be up for approval as soon as Aug. 5, and WSOP.com.
Generally, iGaming products in PA are attached to a land-based casino, as PokerStars is partnered with Mount Airy Casino and WSOP.com an arm of Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia. That will not be the case for GVC’s partypoker brand, now under the MGM/GVC online gambling umbrella ROAR Digital.
BetMGM is one of two Qualified Gaming Entities (QGEs) licensed to operate iGaming products in PA, pending PGCB approval. The other is Golden Nugget, which holds licenses for slots and table games, but not poker.
If the complete land-based casino shutdown for three-plus months has taught us anything, it’s that legal online gambling is here to stay. In Pennsylvania, the growth phase continues.