Online casinos shatter records, too, closing transformational year for state’s gaming industry, according to PlayPennsylvania
(LAS VEGAS) — Betting volume at Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks remained near all-time highs in December with more than $750 million in wagers as revenue slipped from November’s record. With a record-shattering $127.6 million in online casino revenue in December, too, the month closed a year that brought more than $6.5 billion in sports wagers, a U.S.-best $122.5 million in tax revenue from sports betting, and nearly $1.3 billion in online casino revenue, according to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks regulated online gaming and sports betting in the state.
“With so many records set this fall, a modest pullback in December is not a particular surprise,” said Katie Kohler, an analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Importantly, though, sportsbooks remained near all-time highs for wagering, extending a four-month stretch in which wagering reached nearly $3 million. It’s been a fitting end to an impressive year.”
In December, Pennsylvania sportsbooks accepted $750.4 million in wagers, which was up 36.8% from $548.6 million in December 2020, according to official data released Wednesday. December’s betting volume was the third-most ever, down 1.5% from $761.6 million in November and short of October’s $776.3 million record.
A month after gross revenue spiked to $84.9 million, bettors won at a far higher rate in December. That created $38.0 million in gross revenue for sportsbooks, down 16.3% from $45.3 million in December’s 2020. After $19.1 million in promotional spending, sportsbooks closed the month with $18.8 million in taxable revenue, yielding $6.8 million in state taxes and local share assessments.
December was the final chapter in a transformational year for sportsbooks. Wagering nearly doubled, and no state wrung more tax revenue out of its sports betting industry than Pennsylvania. At the same time, the Keystone State has been surpassed in overall handle by Illinois, which is almost identical in population.
For the year, Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks produced:
- $6.5 billion in wagers, up 83.0% from $3.6 billion in 2020.
- $6.0 billion in online wagering, up 83.7% from $3.3 billion in 2020.
- $505.5 million in gross revenue, up 87.3% from $269.9 million in 2020.
- $122.5 million in state taxes and local share assessments, up 79.4% from $68.3 million in 2020. No state took in more in state and local tax revenue.
“If the carrot for legislators to legalize sports betting is to create a sustainable and consistent revenue source for the state, no state has been more successful than Pennsylvania,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayPennsylvania.com. “Pennsylvania’s relatively high tax rate does seem to contribute to slower growth overall, but that seems to be a worthwhile tradeoff that has been an overall benefit to the state.”
In December, online sportsbooks took in $693.3 million in wagers, or 92.4% of the state’s handle. FanDuel topped the online market with $246.8 million in wagers, or 32.9% of the state’s online market. FanDuel’s revenue returned to normal levels with $13.7 million, which still led the state’s operators.
DraftKings was second in wagering with $204.7 million in wagers in December, producing $8.1 million in gross revenue. BetMGM followed with its $83.5 million handle, producing $5.2 million in gross revenue. Penn National’s Barstool-branded app was fourth with $61.4 million in online wagers, yielding $3.9 million in gross revenue.
Meanwhile, retailers accepted $57.1 million in wagers in December, down from $57.5 million in November. Wagers yielded $2.8 million in gross revenue, down from $8.6 million in November. Rivers Pittsburgh topped the retail market with $10.0 million in bets, topping Rivers Philadelphia’s $8.8 million handle.
“With college football winding down in December, betting on NBA and college basketball made up the difference,” Kohler said. “Basketball betting quietly has become an important cog for sportsbooks, especially in the Northeast where basketball takes in more in wagering than football, even as football gains the most attention.”
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms produced a record $127.6 million in gross gaming revenue in December, topping the previous best of $117.0 million reached in October. Revenue was up 17.6% from $108.5 million in December 2020.
Pennsylvania was the second-largest U.S. market for online casinos, trailing only New Jersey, and was the second state to reach $1 billion in annual revenue. For the year, Pennsylvania’s online casinos generated:
- $1.3 billion in gross revenue from online casino games and poker rooms, up 91.1% from $680.2 million in 2020.
- $466.4 million in state taxes.
“The growth in online casino gambling seems almost endless,” Kohler said. “Online casino revenue nearly doubled year over year, a significant jump from 2020 when the global pandemic kept people at home. Growth should taper some in the year ahead, but online casinos have yet to reach their ceiling.”
Other highlights from December:
- Online casino games and poker produced $102.1 million in taxable revenue, which yielded $42.5 million in state taxes and local assessments.
- Online casinos won $4.1 million in gross gaming revenue per day over the 31 days of December, up from $3.8 million per day in November.
- Wagering at online casinos rose to $4.3 billion from $3.8 billion in November.
- Penn National, which includes the DraftKings, BetMGM, Barstool, and Hollywood casinos, led the state with $50.9 million in gross revenue. Rivers Philadelphia, which includes SugarHouse, Borgata, and BetRivers casinos, was second with $34.4 million.
- Poker generated $3.1 million in revenue. Mount Airy/PokerStars topped operators with $2.0 million in revenue.
For more information and updates on legal betting in PA, visit PlayPennsylvania.com/news.
Contact: Zack Hall, Catena Media, [email protected]