Rivers Is Top New Sportsbook, According To December Revenue Numbers

Written By Kim Yuhl on January 17, 2019 - Last Updated on May 20, 2021
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The Wire Act may be dominating conversations this week, but the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has given us something else to focus on.

The PGCB released the first full month of Pennsylvania sports betting revenue figures. Included in the report are:

PA sports betting is off to a solid start

The three PA sportsbooks accepted $16,173,090 worth of bets (handle). They earned $2,006,546 in revenue and paid $722,356 in taxes to the state.

December’s report is the second sports betting revenue report the PGCB issued. Hollywood Casino is the only sportsbook to begin accepting sports bets in November 2018.

For November, Hollywood Casino brought in $1,414,586 worth of wagers and $508,996 in revenue in its first 14 days.

A jump from $1.4 million to $16.2 million in one month is pretty impressive, even with two additional sportsbooks joining the fray.

It is hard to put the first month’s numbers into perspective without enough data to reference. Keep in mind, though, that only Hollywood Casino operated for the full month. Rivers and SugarHouse were only operational for 17 days.

Look for handle and revenue to continue to grow at a decent speed, especially as more retail sportsbooks open their betting windows and mobile sports betting launches.

Overall, it is fair to say PA sports betting is off to a solid start.

PA sportsbooks — by the numbers

PA sports betting figures for December 2018:

Rivers Casino$5,581,553$1,066,157$383,816
SugarHouse Casino$5,539,806$641,167$230,820
Hollywood Casino$5,051,730$299,222$107,720

Looking at the numbers broken down by sportsbook, it is interesting that the handle was relatively comparable across all three properties, while revenue was anything but that. It is too early to speculate, but it is something to keep an eye on going forward.

At first glance, it’s hard not to notice the dominance of Rivers Casino. It earned more than SugarHouse and Hollywood combined.

In fact, the revenue disparity between Hollywood Casino and the Rush Street Entertainment properties is even more glaring knowing that Hollywood Casino had two extra weeks of earnings.

However, it makes sense when you look at the location of the three books. You know what they say, “Location, location, location.” Rivers and SugarHouse are in the metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively.

Conversely, Hollywood Casino is in Grantville. Grantville’s population is 3,604. Granted, it also is convenient to nearby Harrisburg, a town of 50,000. It will be hard for Hollywood Casino to pull the number of sports bettors into its facility that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia casinos will.

When January numbers emerge, look for Rivers to keep its lead.

After all, it is the only sportsbook in the Pittsburgh market, and it won’t have competition, unlike SugarHouse. SugarHouse is now competing with the newly launched Parx Sportsbook for business as well as South Philadelphia Turf Club.

Of course, all bets are off once online sports betting goes live sometime in the coming months. And unfortunately for Hollywood Casino, it is not too much of an overreach to surmise it will continue to bring up the rear.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.

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