Pennsylvania Bettors Gambled More In Counties Near Major Sports Teams

Written By Corey Sharp on March 31, 2023
The latest PA online gambling report shows more betting from counties near major sports teams.

The highest percentage of bettors in Pennsylvania reside in counties closest to major sports teams in the state, according to the PA Online Gambling Report.

While online gambling remained stable across PA, it’s clear Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Penn State fans drive the majority of the action, both online and offline.

PA regions with the highest percentage of gamblers

The 2022 PA Online Gambling Report showed that gamblers living around major sports teams resided in areas that had the highest percentage of bettors.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have a combined seven professional sports teams. Penn State, located in Centre Valley, accounts for fans gambling in the middle of the state.

Here is the breakdown of online gambling prevalence by region:

  • South West: 15.2%
  • North Central: 12.9%
  • South East: 12.0%
  • South Central: 8.6%
  • North East: 7.8%
  • North West: 5.5%

The South West region covers 11 counties in PA, including where Pittsburgh sports play in Allegheny County.

North Central covers 12 counties and is home to Penn State in Centre County.

The South East makes up nine counties and is also home to all four Philadelphia teams, plus six college basketball teams.

PA online gamblers also bet offline

In addition to online platforms, Pennsylvania residents gamble offline at a high rate as well, according to the latest online gambling report.

Approximately 67.5% of PA residents have gambled offline over the previous 12 months. Among online gamblers, 90.2% indicated having gambled offline over the past year.

Lottery, slots and fantasy sports are among some of the most popular offline gambling activities.

For PA sports betting, only 5.5% of participants wagered on sports just at a retail location. About 27.1% of participants bet online and at retail sportsbooks.

Philadelphia’s loyal fan base drives more betting

South Philadelphia was buzzing in the fall of 2022 all the way into February.

The Phillies played through November after advancing to the World Series, as the Eagles started September 8-0 and finished with the best record in the NFL. The Union also reached the MLS Cup during the fall.

The Phillies and Union each lost their respective championships, but helped set Philadelphia into a frenzy.

In October 2022, Live! Casino Philadelphia set a state record with $10.05 million in retail handle. It broke the previous mark of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh’s $10.02 million in December 2021.

When the Eagles hosted the Giants in the NFC Divisional playoffs in January, Bryan Newman, General Manager of FanDuel PA Sportsbook at Live! Casino Philadelphia, expected a ‘crazy’ atmosphere.

“Typically on a Sunday night, it does get busy,” Newman told PlayPennsylvania in January. “On a Saturday night, it’s going to be crazy. You have the away team that’s roughly 90 miles away. We’re going to have the New York fans, we’re going to have the Eagles fans and they’re going to be tailgating all day. We’re expecting near records for foot traffic on Saturday.”

Though the Super Bowl was played in 2023, the South East part of PA represented the Eagles in record numbers, according to Newman.

“In addition to the Big Game being the most wagered-on sporting event since Live! opened in 2021, February 12, 2023 set the sportsbook’s single-day revenue record. The Big Game’s handle was three times higher than last year’s, and eight of the top 10 wagers placed were on the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Philadelphia certainly held up its end of the bargain for offline sports betting.

Other PA casinos came close to $10 million in retail handle in 2022

Live! Casino Philadelphia is one of five casinos in the South East region of Pennsylvania. The others include:

  • Parx Casino
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Valley Forge Casino

Here are some notable retail handle numbers:

Parx Casino

  • September: $6.5 million
  • October: $9.4 million
  • November: $8.7 million
  • December: $7.8 million

Rivers Casino Philadelphia

  • September: $7.7 million
  • October: $8.7 million
  • November: $9.1 million
  • December: $7.4 million

Though Live! Casino Philadelphia set the retail handle record in a single month, Parx and Rivers Philadelphia recorded a higher sum of handle over the four-month span in 2022.

To represent the South West region, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh posted strong retail sports betting numbers, especially during the fall:

  • September: $7.9 million
  • October: $8.0 million
  • November: $6.2 million
  • December: $4.8 million

While there is no PA casino located in the county in or surrounding Penn State yet, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia sports teams showed that residents in those counties bet more overall online and offline.

Penn State bettors, in the North Central region, still bet online at the second-highest rate.

Photo by Matt Rourke / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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