PA Sportsbooks Jump Start 2021 with Record $615 Million Handle

Posted on February 17, 2021

Pennsylvania sportsbooks couldn’t have really asked for a better start to 2021.

December’s all-time handle was shattered by a record-breaking January handle of $615.3 million. Compared to November, sports betting handle was up 25%. Revenue for January hit $34 million.

Six months into the 2020/2021 fiscal year, sports betting handle in Pennsylvania has eclipsed $3.1 billion according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It has also already surpassed the total 2019/2020 fiscal year’s totals ($2.2 billion) in only six months.

It was a notable month for the state’s tax coffers as about $10.5 million in taxes was collected from sports betting revenue. It puts Pennsylvania’s total tax dollars collected since the start of sports betting in the state at over $111.7 million.

FanDuel again held the lead atop all of the state’s 12 online operators for handle. Their $220.7 million handle accounted for about 38% of all online wagers. FanDuel took back the top spot for revenue in January too, posting $14.3 million.

PA sports betting handle on the rise

January 2021’s handle marked a 76.6% increase from last year. Here is a look at fiscal year breakdown of the handle, revenue and taxes for sports betting in Pennsylvania.

Fiscal year 2018/2019

  • Handle: $244.6 million
  • Revenue: $3.1 million
  • State tax 34%: $699,319
  • Local share: $41,136

Fiscal year 2019/2020

  • Handle: $2.5 billion
  • Revenue: $163.2 million
  • State tax: $46 million
  • Local share: $2.7 million

Fiscal year 2020/2021 (June to present)

  • Handle: $3.1 billion
  • Revenue: $175 million
  • State tax: $59.4 million
  • Local share: $3.5 million

Where do PA sports betting taxes go?

Pennsylvania levies the highest tax on sports betting revenue at 36%.

The money collected from taxes from sports betting goes into the general fund; 34% is a state tax and 2% is a local share assessment.

Top players in PA online sports betting January 2021

The NFL playoffs headlined a month with other offerings such as bowl games, the college football National Championship game, NBA and college basketball. FanDuel, in partnership with Valley Forge Casino, broke their December record ($207.6 million) for handle in January 2021 by taking $220.7 million in bets. It represents about a 25% increase in handle since November 2020.

DraftKings continues to hold tight to the No. 2 spot with $143.5 million in handle, up from $131 million last month. DraftKings, through its partnership with The Meadows, saw its revenue rise from $5.4 million last month to $7.7 million in January.

January was also BetMGM‘s first full month. The online sportsbook, through its partnership with Hollywood Casino Morgantown, had a handle of $39 million and $414,300 in revenue.

It was also a notable month for freebies as online operators doled out $15.3 million in promotional credits.

Not included in the January figures was Pennsylvania’s $53.6 million Super Bowl LV handle. Bets on the big game increased 74% from last year.

New Jersey released its sports betting figures today and continues to flirt with the $1 billion mark for monthly handle. In January 2021, New Jersey’s handle was $958.7 million. Nevada has yet to release its numbers for the month. But if the trends from previous months hold, PA will rank third for total handle behind New Jersey and Nevada.

What about Barstool?

In December, Barstool online sportsbook experienced a surge in handle ($71.8 million) and revenue ($13.9 million). But the number that caused a double take was the 20% hold percentage. The hold for the other 11 sportsbooks last month was about 6%.

Barstool’s unheard of hold percentage caused an immediate reaction and many wondered what the next month would bring.

In January, Barstool’s handle was $65 million and its revenue was a little over $1 million with about a 4% win for the sportsbook. Across all of PA’s online operators, it was an average 7.8% hold.

When Penn National reported its Fourth Quarter results in mid-January, President and CEO Jay Snowden commented:

“Since launching in Pennsylvania last September, the Barstool Sportsbook app has registered over 72,000 customers in the state and has generated total handle of nearly $300 million, despite very limited external marketing spend.

“Trends in January thus far are encouraging. Visitation and length of play have improved, several of the properties that were forced to close in November and December have reopened, and our retail sportsbooks continue to positively impact both gaming and non-gaming revenues. We are continuing to see encouraging growth in the younger demographic tiers of our database, and we believe the roll-out of vaccinations will encourage more guests in all age segments of our database to return to our land-based facilities soon. Given the service enhancements and operational changes we have implemented, we stand to achieve meaningful EBITDAR growth as our volumes continue to approach previous levels.”

PA sports betting handle & revenue by operator in January 2021

Sports Betting OperatorTotal HandleTotal RevenueOnline HandleOnline RevenueRetail HandleRetail Revenue
Valley Forge Casino (FanDuel)$223,307,287 $14,518,621 $220,730,775 $14,293,196 $2,576,511 $225,425
The Meadows Casino (DraftKings)$145,230,750 $7,904,355 $143,512,213 $7,720,309 $1,718,537 $184,046
Hollywood/Penn National (Barstool)$66,535,848 $1,308,335 $65,042,521 $1,067,375 $1,493,327 $240,960
Hollywood Morgantown (BetMGM)$39,306,952 $414,300 $39,306,952 $414,300 $0$0
Rivers Pittsburgh (BetRivers)$31,653,273 $2,084,736 $26,809,167 $1,280,033 $4,844,106 $804,703
Parx Casino$28,765,215 $2,344,867 $22,777,577 $1,845,056 $5,987,638 $499,811
Rivers Philadelphia (PlaySugarHouse)$27,722,868 $2,032,918 $20,761,429 $1,361,433 $6,961,439 $671,485
Mount Airy Casino (Fox Bet)$27,339,866 $1,846,237 $26,632,094 $1,768,955 $707,772 $77,282
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$11,889,856 $437,183 $10,014,947 $377,770 $1,874,909 $59,413
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$4,123,074 $474,816 $1,649,043 ($81,367)$2,474,031 $556,183
Harrah's Philadelphia (Caesars)$3,364,583 $298,698 $1,250,067 $36,506 $2,114,516 $262,192
Wind Creek$2,070,815 ($83,618)$1,454,868 ($143,898)$615,947 $60,280
South Philly Race & Sportsbook$1,995,038 $247,918 $0$0$1,995,038 $247,918
Mohegan Sun Lehigh Valley$988,552 ($71,405)$0$0$988,552 ($71,405)
Live! Philadelphia$535,373 $116,944 $0$0$535,373 $116,944
Live! Pittsburgh$465,476 $95,491 $0$0$465,476 $95,491
Total$615,294,827$33,970,396 $579,941,653 $29,939,668 $35,353,174 $4,030,728

PA online sportsbooks in January:

  • FanDuel (Valley Forge Casino): $220.7 million in handle (up from $207.6 million), $14.3 million in revenue
  • DraftKings (The Meadows): $143.5 million in handle (up from $130.9 million), $7.7 million in revenue
  • Barstool (Hollywood Casino): $65 million in handle (down from $71.8 million), $1 million in revenue
  • BetMGM (Hollywood Casino Morgantown): $39.3 million in handle (up from $12 million), $414,300 in revenue
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: $26.8 million in handle (up from $26.7 million), $1.2 million in revenue
  • Fox Bet (Mount Airy): $26.6 million in handle (down from $28.6 million), $1.7 million in revenue
  • Parx online sportsbook: $22.7 million in handle (down from $23.7 million), $1.8 million in revenue
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia: $20.7 million in handle (down from $21.8 million), $1.4 million in revenue
  • Unibet (Mohegan Sun Pocono): $10 million in handle (up from $9 million), $377,770 in revenue
  • Bet America (Presque Isle Downs): $1.6 million in handle (up from $1.5 million), negative $81,367 in revenue
  • BetFred (Wind Creek): $1.4 million in handle (up from $99,309), negative $143,898 revenue
  • Caesars Sportsbook (Harrah’s): $1.2 million in handle (down from $1.4 million), $36,506 in revenue

January fantasy figures

In January, fantasy operators reported about $3 million in revenue, about a 41% increase from Jan. 2020.

Of the six DFS operators in the state, DraftKings and FanDuel account for nearly all of the revenue.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis

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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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