PA Gaming Review: Sports Betting Flourishes as Most Pennsylvania Teams Flounder

Posted on September 17, 2020 - Last Updated on October 29, 2020

PA sports betting has been flourishing since the sports calendar roared back in full force.

That’s despite the Flyers and the Penguins. And despite the 76ers. Also despite the Eagles. And finally, despite the Phillies and Pirates.

The Flyers fell short in the playoffs, as did the 76ers. The Penguins were never even in the running. The Eagles looked not so great in their season opener when they were upset by the Washington Football Team. The Phillies’ bullpen is subpar. And the struggling Reds just swept the Pirates.

The only real bright spots on the field have been the return of the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the news that the Big 10 reversed their decision to cancel the season, so Penn State will play football this fall.

And the other good news is that sports betting in PA is booming.

PA sports betting sees record handle in August

The PA sports betting handle hit nearly $365 million in August, setting a new all-time record high. The return of major sports meant a 122% month-over-month increase in handle for Pennsylvania sportsbooks.

August revenue was up more than three times above July’s, going from $8.1 million to $27.5 million.

The monthly report by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board showed that the state collected $6.5 million in taxes from sports betting last month alone.

Of all wagers placed in Pennsylvania in August, 88% were placed online. FanDuel online sportsbook held the top position once again.

Pull up a stool: Barstool Sportsbook makes debut in PA

The Barstool Sportsbook online betting app just rolled out this week with a soft launch after a huge buildup that began with Penn National Gaming buying into the home of the Stoolies way back at the end of March.

Full 24/7 play could happen as early as Friday. PA, home to Penn National’s Hollywood Casino, is just the first location for the company, and others should follow.

Barstool is the 10th online sportsbook in Pennsylvania. Penn is banking on Barstool’s dedicated younger followers to change the game in the crowded market.

The stock market is liking the move, with $PENN shares above $70. Early in the pandemic, but after the Barstool deal, shares were down below $4.

ESPN goes big on sports betting

Broadcaster ESPN has gone big on sports betting, with new deals with DraftKings and Caesars – and Caesars’ new face of sports betting William Hill.

DraftKings is the exclusive daily fantasy sports provider for ESPN, while Caesars/Hill is now the exclusive odds provider.

The deal follows Hill becoming the exclusive sports betting operator for Caesars Entertainment following Caesars’ merger with Eldorado Resorts.

Markets have also liked the merger and new deals related to this, with the revamped Caesars stock ($CZR), William Hill stock ($WIMHY) and DraftKings ($DKNG) all trading higher.

Eagles team with Fox Bet Sportsbook

The Philadelphia Eagles may not be looking great on the field, but they are still doing some interesting business, teaming with Fox Bet for a multiyear partnership.

The deal will mean a Fox Bet-branded 4,000-square-foot lounge and production studio at Lincoln Financial Field.

Fox Bet also becomes an official partner of the Philadelphia Eagles, and that brings with it messaging, promotions and fan interaction when spectators are allowed back in the stands.

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Written by
Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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