Summertime Blues: Pennsylvania Sportsbooks Continue Their Slump in July as Handle Drops for Fourth Straight Month

Posted By Katie Kohler on August 18, 2021 - Last Updated on September 20, 2021

Pennsylvania sportsbooks can’t wait for the return of football. Handle dropped to $304.4 million in July, the lowest since July 2020. Bettors wagered about 25% less than they did last month.

Sportsbooks reported $27.5 million in revenue in July according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It’s a 35% month-over-month decrease in revenue for sportsbook operators. Handle declined each month since March 2021.

Nearly all bets have been placed online (90.5%) as has been the trend since sports betting apps launched in PA in the summer of 2019. Sportsbooks’ win percentage/hold was 9%, a small decrease from 10.1% in June. The state collected $6.7 million in taxes from sports betting in July and an additional $397,124 went to local entities.

FanDuel continues to be the top sportsbook in Pennsylvania for handle ($106.7 million) and revenue ($12.3 million). Through its partnership with Valley Forge Casino, FanDuel took nearly 39% of all bets placed in PA in July.

A slow July for PA sportsbooks

From July 2020 to July 2020, handle increased 87%. However, towards the end of July 2020, major sports were just starting to resume in their respective bubbles after COVID shutdowns. Handle also dipped in New Jersey in July ($578.7 million). Illinois recently released June sports betting numbers and reported a handle of $476.5 million.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayPennsylania commented:

“Even with the NBA Finals and the Olympics to help boost the schedule this year, bettors in Pennsylvania and beyond just don’t engage sportsbooks as much during July. This year in particular saw a surge in nationwide travel, which means people were occupied with family vacations and other summer activities. That said, sportsbooks cannot wait for football season to ramp up.”

In July, Pennsylvania bettors hardly had any “home team” options to choose from. The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t make it past the second round of the NBA playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers failed to qualify for the NHL playoffs and the Pittsburgh Penguins lost in the first round. The Phillies show quick glimpses of putting .500 in their rearview only to stumble and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in last place. In terms of the popularity of Major League Baseball outside of the two PA teams, NFL preseason games attracted more betting interest than baseball’s marquee summer event, the Field of Dreams game.

FanDuel took 61% more bets than its next closest competitor. DraftKings continues to hold the No. 2 spot in PA with a July handle of $66.2 million and $4 million in revenue. BetMGM maintains the No. 3 spot. Barstool’s July handle ($23.4 million) was the lowest since launch. Gross revenue for Barstool PA sportsbook in July was $2.3 million, a decrease from June’s $3.2 million.

PA sports betting handle & revenue by operator in July 2021

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleTotal RevenueOnline HandleOnline RevenueRetail HandleRetail Revenue
Valley ForgeFanDuel$108,483,759$12,424,478$106,726,317$12,330,640$1,757,442$93,838
MeadowsDraftKings$67,206,392$4,202,871$66,227,006$4,039,532$979,386$163,339
Hollywood MorgantownBetMGM$29,042,453$2,278,758$29,042,453$2,278,758$0$0
Hollywood Penn NationalBarstool$24,452,000$2,464,257$23,434,062$2,330,453$1,017,938$133,804
Rivers PittsburghBetRivers$17,903,344$1,611,007$14,459,898$1,331,713$3,443,446$279,294
Rivers PhiladelphiaSugarHouse$14,919,667$944,593$9,041,045$680,099$5,878,622$264,494
ParxParx$11,864,283$1,221,992$7,885,530$745,087$3,978,753$476,905
Mount AiryFox Bet$10,435,080$779,115$10,036,070$709,376$399,010$69,739
Mohegan Sun PoconoUnibet$5,305,144$445,587$4,536,408$316,936$768,736$128,651
Presque IsleTwinSpires$4,066,940$415,710$2,143,799$179,276$1,923,141$236,434
Live PhiladelphiaBetway$4,039,789$250,186$563,481-$32,239$3,476,308$282,424
Harrah's PhiladelphiaCaesars$2,454,034$68,004$947,532-$126,967$1,506,502$194,971
South Philly OTBN/A$1,502,528$165,009$0$0$1,502,528$165,009
Live PittsburghN/A$1,068,594$95,703$0$0$1,068,594$95,703
Wind CreekWind Creek$958,952$54,054$406,259$6,284$552,693$47,769
Lehigh OTBN/A$712,545$61,195$0$0$712,545$61,195
Total$304,415,503$27,482,519$275,449,861$24,788,949$28,965,642$2,693,570

Pennsylvania sportsbooks coming off a record year

June 2021 ended a record fiscal year for Pennsylvania sportsbooks. In FY 2020/2021, PA sportsbooks had a record $5.6 billion in handle and $440.6 million in revenue.

Fiscal year 2020/2021

  • Handle: $5.6 billion
  • Revenue: $440.6 million
  • Taxable Revenue: $308.8 million
  • State tax: $105 million
  • Local share: $6.2 million

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.

July fantasy sports figures

DFS operators saw a decrease in revenue, too. Fantasy operators reported $1.5 million in revenue in July, a drop from $1.9 million in June. DraftKings ($831,907) and FanDuel (729,606) dominate nearly all of the DFS market in PA.

Lead Image: FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino.by Katie Kohler.

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Katie Kohler

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

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