February may have included one of the biggest sporting events of the year, but even the Super Bowl couldn’t rise PA sports betting handle and revenue above the figures from January.
Total handle for the month at Pennsylvania’s six sportsbooks came in at $31,500,742. The good news is that number is down just 1.6 percent from last month’s bets.
Unfortunately, the decline in revenue was not exactly slight. That number dipped 25.4 percent from $2,607,215.09 in January to $1,946,816.50 last month.
The decline was not unique to the PA sports betting market though. Several states, including New Jersey, did not do well on the Super Bowl. In fact, New Jersey sportsbooks lost a combined $4.5 million on bets related to the big game.
Here’s a look at how each of the sportsbooks did last month. It is the first month all books were open for the entire month:
Property Handle Gross Revenue Tax YTD Revenue
SugarHouse Sportsbook $7,091,933.11 $522,308.00 $188,030.88 $1,266,998.00
Rivers Sportsbook $8,147,558.96 $627,520.99 $225,907.56 $2,546,993.99
Parx Sportsbook $6,965,511.90 $369,995.89 $133,198.52 $1,540,343.89
Hollywood Sportsbook $3,742,819.85 $13,914.20 $5,009.11 $1,106,756.80
South Philadelphia Turf Club $2,601,650.62 $275,876.90 $99,315.69 $367,711.90
Harrah's Philadelphia $2,951,267.50 $137,200.52 $49,392.19 $240,769.52
Total $31,500,741.94 $1,946,816.50 $700,853.95 $7,069,574.10
Too early for some industry takeaways?
As we’ve mentioned in past months, the youth of the industry makes it difficult to draw concrete conclusions. However, with the third full month of operation in the books, some patterns are starting to creep up.
Pittsburgh is better than Philadelphia
The Philadelphia sports scene is huge, so it makes sense there would be several sportsbooks in the area to cater to fans. There are four to be exact. Plus, the two new Valley Forge-area sportsbooks are not too far away.
With so much competition, the wealth is spread around fairly evenly. Parx Sportsbook and SugarHouse Sportsbook each took around $7 million in bets and generated between $350,000 and $525,00 in betting revenue. The two smaller books, Harrah’s Philadelphia and South Philadelphia Turf Club, each took around $2.7 million in bets.
While SugarHouse was far and away the leader last month, the launch of three new books in the area clearly ate into its advantage in the market. Handle for the property dropped almost 25 percent month-over-month.
Meanwhile, on the western side of the state, Rivers continues to rake in significantly more bets than its Philly-area sports betting counterparts. Things will get tougher for Rivers Sportsbook in April when Presque Isle Downs opens up its retail sportsbook. However, do not expect the cannibalization we are seeing in Philadelphia in the Pittsburgh area.
Being first can’t make up for being the furthest away
First-mover advantage may play an important part when it comes to launching a PA online sportsbook. For retail though, being the first to launch is not doing much if anything to benefit Hollywood Casino at Penn National. Its central location and distance from major cities continues to hamper the property’s success. The casino peaked with $5 million in December only to fall in January and plummet even more in February.
It seems like the bettors at Hollywood Sportsbook might be a little sharper than the rest too. Of the $3.7 million in bets, Hollywood only brought in $13,914 in revenue. That is the worst in the state. By a wide margin.
Last month, it was SugarHouse who held on to the lowest percentage of bets, netting a little over $100,000 off of $10.8 million in bets.
As mentioned, with so many folks taking the Patriots for the Super Bowl, hold was low across the board. In this case, it really is too early to tell if this is anything more than an anomaly.
Kambi controls 80 percent of the betting market
By virtue of operating four of the six books in action last month, sports betting provider Kambi naturally caters to the majority of PA sports betting. To give you a sense of just how well it is doing though, 80 percent of bets took place at a Kambi-powered book.
The more customers at Rivers, SugarHouse, and Parx are getting used to the look and feel of what a Kambi-powered betting app will look like. Not only can bettors place wagers at kiosks on all those properties, but they can also use bet slip builder software online to put together a ticket in advance of going to the casino.
What will be interesting to monitor is if this familiarity will lead to a fast adaption of Kambi-powered apps when they launch. Harrah’s Philadelphia and Hollywood Casino are taking a more modest approach to sports betting that could put them even further behind the curve when online betting starts this summer.
Online betting can’t come soon enough either. New Jersey took ten times the bets of the Keystone State, the vast majority of which took place online. If the state wants to bring in the bucks, the roughly $2.5 million in tax they earned from retail sports betting in February is definitely not going to cut it.
At least March Madness betting is underway. Here’s hoping 63 different basketball games can have a more positive impact on PA sports betting than one giant football game did.