After a Lukewarm June, PA Sports Betting Operators Ready for Major Sports’ Return

Posted on July 16, 2020 - Last Updated on September 8, 2020

Pennsylvania sportsbooks started heating up again in June. But unlike temperatures in the commonwealth, they are more lukewarm than blazing.

Coronavirus scorched the mainstream sports calendar, leaving operators parched for options to offer.

According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, sports betting handle for June was $89 million, up from $77.5 million last month. Revenue also increased, to $7.9 million from $4.8 million in May.

Casinos in the state started reopening in early June. Nearly all of June’s wagers were placed online.

FanDuel sportsbook topped all operators for handle ($32.8 million) and revenue ($2.8 million).

Glass half full

June 2020 represents another lost chapter for PA sportsbooks. What should have been a month of NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs and MLB action was replaced with UFC, PGA and the Premier League.

Taking a glass-half-full perspective — which is imperative to making it through these times — last year, PA’s online sports betting market was still in its infancy. In July 2019, four operators combined for a handle of $38.9 million and $665,798 in revenue.

The fiscal year (July 1-June 30) for 2019-20 brought in revenue of $113.7 million. That was a 423% increase over the $21.7 million that sports wagering (without online betting) yielded the previous year, 2018-19.

New Jersey’s sports betting market started cooking again recently. Handle reached $165 million in June, up 40% from May. It tripled April’s awful $54.6 million. Handle dropped 39.6% from last June, but operators had a better month in 2020 for revenue with $12.6 million (up 30.3%).

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PA sports betting handle, revenue by operator in June 2020

Casino or Off-Track Betting FacilityTotal HandleTotal RevenueOnline HandleOnline RevenueRetail HandleRetail Revenue
FanDuel/Valley Forge Casino$32.9 million$2.8 million$32.9 million$2.9 million$26,000($26,000)
DraftKings/The Meadows$25.1 million$1.3 million$25.0 million$1.4 million$75,000($20,000)
Rivers Philadelphia (Formerly SugarHouse)$9.4 million$594,000$9.4 million$594,0000
($600)
FOX Bet/Mount Airy$8.4 million$680,000$8.4 million$683,000$8,000($3,000)
Rivers Pittsburgh$6.3 million$509,000$5.9 million$520,000$346,000($11,000)
Parx $5.3 million$671,000$5.2 million$693,000$56,000($22,000)
Presque Isle Downs$262,000$9,000$230,000$17,000$32,000($7,000)
Unibet/Mohegan Sun Pocono$1.1 million$14,000$1.1 million$14,000$37,000($300)
Harrah’s Philadelphia$177,000$800$133,0000$44,000$800
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook000000
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course$65,000($10,000)00$65,000($10,000)
Oaks Race and Sportsbook000000
Mohegan (The Downs at Lehigh Valley)000000
Statewide Total$89.0 million$6.7 million$88.3 million$6.8 million$690,000($99,000)

FanDuel and DraftKings take big slices

FanDuel took 37% of all online sports wagers in PA in June. The DFS-turned-sports-betting behemoth claimed the top spot when it arrived in late July 2019. It has yet to cede its lead.

DraftKings (The Meadows) has a firm grip on second place, accounting for 28% of all wagers with a handle of $24.9 million and $1.36 million in revenue (both month-over-month increases).

Other PA online sportsbooks in June:

  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia: $9.4 million in handle (up from $8.5 million), $594,862 revenue
  • Fox Bet (Mount Airy): $8.4 million in handle (up from $7.7 million), $683,217 revenue
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: $5.9 million in handle (up from $4.8 million), $519,774 revenue
  • Parx online sportsbook:$5.2 million in handle (up from $3.8 million), $692,649 revenue
  • Unibet (Mohegan Sun Pocono): $1 million in handle (up from $714,400), $14,490 revenue
  • Bet America (Presque Isle Downs): $229,711 in handle (down from $265,938), $16,519 revenue
  • Caesars sportsbook (Harrah’s): $132,659 in handle (down from $143,991 in handle), negative $25 revenue (down from $1,545 revenue)

2020 PA sports betting handle, revenue and taxes

Here’s a look at top-line numbers for PA sports betting since the start of 2020. 

 January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020
Total Handle $348,381,708$329,765,782$131,330,059$46,015,988$77,510,033$89,002,562$164,782,229
Gross Revenue $22,841,192 $4,722,252$6,889,255$2,883,471$4,828,989$6,663,433 $8,147,480
Taxes (36%)$8,222,829$1,700,011$2,480,132$1,038,048$1,738,436$2,398,836$2,933,093

Major sports return in late July

Bettors’ pent-up demand for major sports will have to wait until the end of month. So the July report will only show a few days’ worth of wagers.

MLB: Sixty-game season starts July 23.

NHL: Restarts with exhibition games, including one between the Flyers and Penguins, July 28, and qualifying series Aug. 1.

NBA: Resumes with seeding games on July 30.

Of course, it all depends on the coronavirus and if a major outbreak stops the seasons from resuming or reaching their planned end.

Fantasy gets a small nudge

Fantasy contests started to awake from a nightmarish April and May, when they hit all-time lows.

June 2020 revenue for fantasy contests in PA was $647,246, a jump from May’s $318,840 but a far cry from June 2019’s $1,592,313. 

DraftKings ruled fantasy games ($517,902), followed by FanDuel ($126,863). Of PA’s eight fantasy operators, the pair of DFS giants continue to combine to take 99% of the market.

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Katie Kohler

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

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