PA Online Casinos Ride Record Revenue Wave As Overall Gaming Numbers Bottom Out

Posted on May 18, 2020

Statewide casino closures for coronavirus precautions continued in Pennsylvania through April. As a result, the financial damage continued.

With all land-based casinos closed since mid-March, gaming revenue dropped a dramatic 51 percent from February to March. In April, PA casinos, like those around the nation, brought in no revenue. Total gaming tax revenue was down 84% year-over-year, comparing to April 2019, the PGCB reported.

That is no surprise, considering land-based slots and table games revenue disappeared. But iGaming had yet to launch at this time last year.

PA is now one of four states with regulated online gambling, a market that has thrived in the absence of live gaming. That has also meant some much-needed tax revenue for the state, though it’s nothing near what April would have brought without pandemic closures.

PA iGaming peaks in April

The bright spot in this historic storm is that PA online gaming is up substantially, helping to cushion the blow. From March to April, iGaming revenue jumped 73 percent from its previous best of $24.9 million.

Online slots, table games, and poker combined for $43.1 million in April, which includes poker’s best month yet of $5.3 million.

Slots and table games brought in $37.8 million in April, far exceeding the record $21.1 million set in March. Slot revenue more than doubled month-over-month, from $13 million to $27.3 million.

As a result, online casino tax revenue more than doubled month-over-month, from $8.1 million to $16.5 million.

Here’s a look at online slots and table games total play and revenue since the start of the year.

 AprilMarchFebruaryJanuary
Total Play$1.4 billion$871.6 million$703.6 million$466.8 million
Revenue$37.8 million$21.1 million$17.7 million$11.8 million
Tax Revenue$16.5 million$8.1 million$6.5 million$4.6 million

In terms of amount wagered, April saw a 59 percent increase over March. Slots accounted for 55 percent of total play, while tables made up 45 percent.

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Online casino leaders continue their quest

In terms of leaders in PA online casino, there are no surprises. The relatively new FanDuel casino continues to position itself at the top of the growing pack. In April, FanDuel brought in $7.9 million in revenue.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which operates both PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers Casino, brought in a combined $13.7 million.

Mt. Airy (PokerStars and FOXBet Casino) posted $5.2 million in online casino revenue in April, to go with their stellar poker revenue month.

Hollywood and Parx follow, with $4.6 million and $4.1 million, respectively, and then there’s a pretty steep drop-off to Unibet and BetAmerica.

Bringing up the rear are two operators that will likely not stay in that position long. Caesars and DraftKings Casino launched at the tail-end of April, hence their low numbers. DraftKings casino was live for just two test days in April.

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueTable GamesSlots
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$13.7 million$2.7 million$11 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$7.9 million$3.8 million$4.1 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & FOXBet)$5.2 million$2.4 million$2.8 million
Penn National (Hollywood)$4.6 million$490,000$4.1 million
Parx Casino$4.1 million$300,000$3.8 million
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$1.8 million$650,000$1.2 million
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$210,000$100,000$110,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$230,000N/A$230,000
Penn National (DraftKings)$30,000-$160$30,000
Totals:$37.8 million$10.5 million$27.3 million

PA sets US online poker record in April

With live poker rooms shuttered, and many with extra time (at home) on their hands, online poker in PA has flourished. After launching in November 2019, PokerStars PA quickly made waves and continues to grow.

The site posted $5.3 million in revenue in April, setting a US record for single-month revenue.  The previous record was recently logged by NJ online poker, which brought in $5.1 million in April. But they also have seven regulated rooms, as compared to just one so far in PA.

Hosting their biggest series yet in April also contributed to PokerStars’ record month. PASCOOP (Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker) paid out over $3.2 million across 100 events from April 4-20.

PokerStars PA revenue November-April

MonthRevenue (Rake & Tournament Fees)State & Local Tax (16%)
November 2019$1,965,494$314,479
December 2019$2,473,137$395,702
January 2020$2,157,266$345,162
February 2020$1,830,356$290,752
March 2020$3,133,019$500,384
April 2020$5,253,304$837,550

Sports gambling revenue limps along

April produced $18.3 million in total gaming tax revenue, $17.3 million of which came from iGaming.

DFS and online sports betting also continued to generate revenue in April, but at an extremely limited capacity. With the sports calendar decimated, sportsbooks and DFS operators did what they could with offerings on table tennis, Belarusian soccer, and the like.

Sportsbooks brought in just $2.9 million (just over $1 million for the state) with DFS bringing in $167,000 ($25,000 in taxes).

Valerie Cross Avatar
Written by
Valerie Cross

Valerie Cross is the managing editor of PlayPennsylvania. Valerie taught English as a Second Language before transitioning full-time to poker media. She has a B.A. from Furman University and MA and PhD degrees in language education from Indiana University. A former associate editor at PokerNews, Valerie currently resides in Northern California.

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