Online casino gaming in Pennsylvania has reached new heights and is expected to keep soaring. Among the many drivers of growth is the increasing popularity of live dealer games.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced in a recent Annual Report on the PA gaming industry that online casino taxable revenue reached $1.2 billion during the fiscal year 2021/2022. It was an increase of 37% from the previous fiscal year of $897 million.
In September, PA online casinos had their second best month ever, posting gross revenue of $139.7 million. Table games revenue made up 23% of the total or $32.2 million, a 22% year-over-year increase.
What has propelled the continued growth of online casinos and specifically, online table games in PA? Let’s start with the number of offerings.
PA online casinos not done growing
Online casinos in Pennsylvania began launching in July of 2019. With the addition of three more online options during the fiscal year 2021/2022, Pennsylvania has 18 different sites where players can play online casino games.
The growth has been steadily increasing since 2019 and even now more online casinos are on the way. According to the PGCB, upwards of ten new online casinos could launch before the close of the current fiscal year in June 2023.
Some catalysts for continued growth of online casino verticals in PA include:
- The addition of new casino sites
- Vast increases in game offerings including new game types
- Increased popularity of live dealer games and expanded options
The graph below shows year-over-year gross revenue growth for the first three years of PA online casinos. As you can see, both slots and table games have grown immensely over time.
Lifetime to date, PA online casinos have made $3.2 billion in gross gaming revenue and brought in $993.2 million in taxes for the state and local entities.
New games and live dealer instrumental in PA online table games growth
Early on, many PA online casinos launched with just a couple dozen games. But that is far from the case today. Most sites now offer well over one hundred slot titles plus dozens of table games, with new online casino games added all the time.
Live dealer games, which launched in October 2020, are one of the offerings that have helped PA online casinos soar.
Forced COVID-19 closures of land-based casinos beginning in March 2020 led to a spike in online casino gambling in all the states where it is legal. In Pennsylvania, the introduction of live dealer games during the height of the pandemic propelled that growth even more.
During fiscal year 2021/2022, live dealer games accounted for approximately 50% of online table games revenue generated in Pennsylvania, according to the PGCB’s Annual Report. That was a 10% increase from the previous fiscal year.
In the following chart, you can see a new baseline for table games revenue was set once live dealer games launched in October 2020. Apart from seasonal summer dips, this vertical has seen strong YoY growth thanks in part to live dealer games.
What draws casino players to live dealer games?
Live dealer games, powered by Evolution Gaming, are popular for a number of reasons including:
- Social element
- Trust in fairness of the game
- Less pressure / slower game pace
Like other online table games, you can play live dealer games from the comfort of home. Unlike tables games in casinos, live dealer games offer unlimited seating and allow players to play at their own pace (an attractive feature for novice players).
Additionally, live dealer games add a human element that players otherwise would not get when playing regular online casino games. Players and dealers are able to communicate with each other, adding a social element to an otherwise solitary game-playing experience.
Trust is another reason why the popularity of live dealer games has increased. A camera is set up at the table where players are able to see cards getting shuffled and dealt by the dealer, which instills more trust in players that the game is fair.
In PlayPennsylvania‘s visit to the Evolution live dealer studio over the summer, reps from FanDuel stated that live dealer games do not cannibalize brick-and-mortar casinos. Instead, live dealer games are less intimidating and actually help players prepare for when they are ready to play at a Pennsylvania land-based casino.
Screenshots of live dealer craps from FanDuel Casino PA.
Live dealer games still expanding in Pennsylvania
Live dealer options have drastically expanded since first going live two years ago. PA online casinos currently offer live dealer blackjack, infinite blackjack, roulette, baccarat, three-card poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
In May, Evolution launched Lightning Roulette, where players can bet on a full range of roulette with additional chances to win through randomly generated Lucky Numbers and Lucky Payouts.
Lightning Roulette earned Product Innovation of the Year in the Global Gaming Awards and Game of the Year at the EGR Operator Awards in 2018. It’s available at FanDuel and BetMGM online casino.
Back in August, Evolution added live dealer craps to its Pennsylvania offerings. Craps is available at BetMGM and Unibet Casino in PA.
It’s possible we see even further expansion of live dealer offerings as Evolution continues to innovate in this popular online gaming space. After all, Evolution CEO Martin Carlesund said during their Q1 earnings call:
“For us at Evolution, launching new games is what we live for.”