Sports-Packed September Scores PA Sportsbooks New Record $462.8 Million Handle

Posted on October 16, 2020

Pennsylvania’s legal sports betting market is not even two years old yet but it continues to put up big numbers. PA sportsbooks broke their own record from August, taking in more than $462.8 million in bets in September.

The return of NFL action fueled a 27% month-over-month increase in handle at Pennsylvania online sportsbooks.

Gross revenue dropped to $6.2 million from $18.2 million in the previous month. According to the monthly report by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state collected $2.2 million in taxes from sports betting. Some of the drop in revenue can be attributed to the $12 million in promo credits given away by operators.

FanDuel online sportsbook took the top spot once again for handle with $168 million.

Bettors love sports to the moon and back

Coronavirus turned sports betting menus to tumbleweeds. But things changed in September. Sept. 10 marked one of the rare instances of a sports equinox where all four major sports play on the same day.

The shining star of the equinox was the opening game of the 2020 NFL season with the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans. DraftKings director of operations Johnny Avello said it was “one of the highest, if not the highest volume day. The focus was mostly on the football game.”

Prior to the start of the season, FanDuel said bet count across the three states (which includes PA) with YoY comparisons for NFL was up 27%.

In August, New Jersey broke the record held by Nevada ($562 million) with $668 million wagered on sports in a month. New Jersey smashed that number in September with a $748.6 million handle and $45 million in revenue.

PA sports betting handle revenue by operator in September 2020

Casino or Off-Track Betting FacilityTotal HandleTotal RevenueOnline HandleOnline RevenueRetail HandleRetail Revenue
Valley Forge Casino (FanDuel)$171,184,786 $2,745,897 $168,037,776 $2,384,081 $3,147,010 $361,816
The Meadows (DraftKings)$118,790,769 ($920,180)$116,503,059 ($1,186,054)$2,287,709 $265,874
Rivers Pittsburgh (BetRivers)$32,368,960 $748,908 $24,080,157 $410,091 $8,288,803 $338,817
Hollywood Casino (Barstool Sportsbook)$32,335,584 ($2,441,284)$29,883,071 ($2,811,635)$2,452,513 $370,351
Rivers Philadelphia (PlaySugarHouse)$31,643,398 $2,048,004 $20,259,639 $853,108 $11,383,760 $1,194,896
Parx$29,371,915 $2,159,085 $21,681,769 $1,292,216 $7,690,146 $866,870
Mount Airy (FOX Bet)$24,983,955 $441,110 $24,060,373 $249,034 $923,582 $192,076
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$9,351,967 $9,091 $7,618,200 ($189,599)$1,733,767 $198,690
Harrah's Philadelphia (Caesars)$4,166,207 $307,881 $1,326,490 $98,849 $2,839,717 $209,032
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$3,918,914 $456,650 $649,826 $47,277 $3,269,088 $409,373
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook$3,341,881 $502,931 $0$0$3,341,881 $502,931
Mohegan (The Downs at Lehigh Valley)$1,329,058 $211,790 $0$0$1,329,058 $211,790
Statewide Total$462,787,392$6,269,883 $414,100,359 $1,147,367 $48,687,033 $5,122,516

FanDuel and DraftKings still the top PA sportsbooks

FanDuel accounted about 41% of all online wagers in September. The leader since their launch gave out nearly $4.2 million in promo credits. It was just shy ($19,420) of breaking its record of most promos in a month (Jan. 2020). FanDuel’s gross revenue was $2.4 million in September.

DraftKings held onto second place in PA and cracked the $100 million handle threshold for the first time. They took $116.5 million in bets, doled out $2.3 million in promotions, and finished in the red for gross revenue with -$1.1 million.

The much-anticipated Barstool Sportsbook, through its partnership with Hollywood Casino, arrived in mid-September. The Barstool sportsbook app took about $30 million in bets, gave away $2.1 million worth of promotions, and finished its first (half of a) month in the red for gross revenue (-$2.8 million).

Other PA online sportsbooks in July:

  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: $24 million in handle (up from $18.9 million), $410,091 revenue
  • Fox Bet (Mount Airy): $24 million in handle (up from $22 million), $249,034 revenue
  • Parx online sportsbook: $21.6 million in handle (down from $22 million), $1.3 million revenue
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia: $20.2 million in handle (down from $20.3 million), $853,108 revenue
  • Unibet (Mohegan Sun Pocono): $7.6 million (up from $4.8 million), negative $189,599 revenue
  • Caesars Sportsbook (Harrah’s): $1.3 million in handle (up from $1.1 million), $98,849 revenue
  • Bet America (Presque Isle Downs): $649,826 in handle (up from $606,139), $47,277 revenue

Huge increase from last September

In September 2019, Pennsylvania had only five online sportsbooks which took about $158 million in bets for the month. Pennsylvania’s September 2020 are not only record breaking but they also represent a 162% year-over-year increase in online handle.

2020 PA sports betting handle, revenue and taxes

Here’s a look at top-line numbers for PA sports betting since the start of 2020. Tax revenue includes the 34% state tax and 2% in local taxes.

 
 Jan. 2020Feb. 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020
Total Handle$348.4 million$329.8 million$131.3 million$46.0 million$77.5 million$89.0 million$164.8 million$365.0 million
Total Gross Revenue$22.8 million$4.7 million$6.9 million$2.9 million$4.8 million$6.7 million$8.1 million$18.3 million
Tax revenue (36%)$8.2 million$1.7 million$2.5 million$1.0 million$1.7 million$2.4 million$2.9 million$6.6 million

DFS up, too

Fantasy revenue was $3.2 million in September, up from $2.1 million in August. Pennsylvania has six DFS operators but it’s always the same two at the top. This month, DraftKings led with $1.7 million in revenue followed by FanDuel ($1.4 million).

Another record month for PA online casino as well

It wasn’t just sports betting that got a boost in September. PA online casinos continued to shine as they have since land-based pandemic closures began. September brought a new record $57 million revenue, slightly eclipsing the previous record of $55.9 million from August. Here’s how it broke down:

  • Online slot revenue: $39.9 million
  • Internet table games revenue: $14.7 million
  • Online poker revenue (PokerStars/Mt. Airy): $2.4 million

Rivers Casino Philadelphia was the top online operator with $16.1 million in revenue from PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers casinos. DraftKings Casino ($10.2 million), in partnership with Hollywood (Penn National), surpassed FanDuel/Valley Forge ($9.1 million) for second place for the first time since its early May debut.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Darron Cummings

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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