PA Sports Betting February Figures: Strong But Bracing For Impact

Posted on March 18, 2020 - Last Updated on March 19, 2020

Like everything else during the present coronavirus pandemic, there is a sense of fear of what is yet to come.

In February, Pennsylvania sportsbooks took nearly $330 million in bets and made $4.7 million in revenue. The majority of wagers, 89%, were placed online.

FanDuel easily maintained its top spot in the state by taking $138.5 million in bets. DraftKings tightened its grip on second place and was the only operator to see a substantial increase in handle with $72.3 million.

PA sports betting: past and present

Since the launch of PA online betting apps in May, this is the first month that handle has not increased over the previous month. However, it’s important to look at a broader picture of sports betting numbers in PA.

In February 2019, when only retail sports betting was available, handle totaled $31.5 million. In August, before the start of the NFL season, handle was $109 million. From there, the next five months saw revenues regularly rise as online sports betting flourished and football was in full force.

A relatively small downswing in February, with the Super Bowl being the only NFL game in the month, is not surprising. February’s handle was down less than $19 million from its January peak of $348.4 million.

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In the larger scope of sports betting in the United States, Pennsylvania remains third behind New Jersey and Nevada. New Jersey took $494.8 million in wagers in February. Nevada’s January handle was $502.5 million (February is not yet available).

A larger percentage of Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s handle skews toward online. However, in Nevada, it’s closer to a 50-50 split between online and retail.

PA sports betting: future

The coronavirus-induced shutdowns have decimated online sportsbooks’ offerings. On March 12, the NBA and NHL postponed their seasons. On the same day, college basketball ended its season. No NCAA Tournament is a crushing blow to the books.

The NCAA Tournament in 2019 attracted $8.5 billion in wagers, with figures expected to increase. It would have been the first time Pennsylvanians could have wagered on the NCAA Tournament online.

In addition, Major League Baseball has canceled the remainder of its spring training games. The start of the 2020 season will be delayed to mid-May at the earliest.

The effect of coronavirus on sportsbooks in Pennsylvania and the country is being felt right now. But when the numbers are on paper in about a month, it will detail the impact.

PA sports betting handle, revenue by operator in February 2020

Here’s a look at the numbers for operators in terms of revenue and handle:

Casino or Off-Track Betting FacilityTotal HandleTotal RevenueOnline HandleOnline RevenueRetail HandleRetail Revenue
FanDuel/Valley Forge Casino$140,970,569$70,774$138,460,432$146,080$2,510,136($75,306)
DraftKings/The Meadows$73,772,973$1,067,446 $72,323,304$1,000,564$1,449,669$66,882
SugarHouse/Rivers Philadelphia $31,900,121$1,168,358$24,748,470$784,565$7,151,650$383,793
Parx $25,749,773$946,048$19,873,550 $818,817$5,876,224$127,231
Rivers Pittsburgh$24,887,812$809,858$18,885,943$680,514 $6,001,869$129,344
FOX Bet/Mount Airy$14,974,947$519,307$14,385,280$539,372$589,668($20,065)
Unibet/Mohegan Sun Pocono$5,712,486$395,819$4,027,302$395,819$1,685,184$19,561
Presque Isle Downs$3,145,194$50,123$1,423,222$37,258$1,721,973$12,865
Harrah’s Philadelphia$2,911,391($64,494)00$2,911,391($64,494)
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook$2,742,245$181,23600$2,742,245$181,236
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course$2,141,897($150,053)00$2,141,897-$150,053
Oaks Race and Sportsbook$856,374$17,52900$856,374$17,529
Statewide Total$329,765,782$4,722,252$294,127,503$4,093,728 $35,638,279$628,524

Revenue drops for FanDuel, DraftKings climbing

Nearly half of the $294 million total amount wagered on sports betting apps, $138.4 million, came via FanDuel. FanDuel saw handle drop from January when it was $153.1 million. The revenue drop was much more drastic, from $8.1 million to $146,080.

Last month, DraftKings doubled its handle and landed in second place among PA sportsbook operators. In February, DraftKings at The Meadows experienced a jump in handle from $58.6 million to $72 million. Revenue went from $2.8 million to $1 million.

DraftKings again gave customers a large amount of promotional credits. Their $2.4 million in credits in February was a close second to FanDuel’s $2.7 million.

Rounding out the rest of PA sportsbooks:

  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia, with $24.7 million in online bets, placed and Rivers Pittsburgh ($18.9 million) continued to lose ground to DraftKings. Rivers Philadelphia ($784,565) out-earned Rivers Pittsburgh ($680,514).
  • Parx online sportsbook sits in fifth place with $19.9 million in handle and $818,817 in revenue.
  • After a record month of revenue ($1.2 million), Fox Bet (Mount Airy) saw it dip to $539,372.
  • Unibet, with Mohegan Sun as its PA gaming partner, turned in its second month of profit ($86,558).
  • BetAmerica, with Presque Isle Downs as its PA partner, finished at the bottom with a handle of $1.4 million.
  • Caesars (Harrah’s Philadelphia) launched an online sportsbook in March and is not included in January’s report.
  • Rivers Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse) continues to pull in the largest handle ($7.3 million) of all retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania.

Super Bowl betting in Pennsylvania

Super Bowl LIV numbers were included in February’s revenue numbers. The San Francisco 49ers versus. Kansas City Chiefs matchup was the first Super Bowl that Pennsylvanians could legally wager online.

Bettors in PA wagered $30.7 million on Super Bowl LIV. Operators handed over about $34 million in payouts resulting in a $3.3 million loss as a result of the big game.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported nearly 200,000 unique users logged on to PA online betting apps that Sunday. Previous NFL Sundays attracted closer to 100,000 unique visitors, so Super Bowl traffic was about double online.

Fantasy contests in Pennsylvania

Fantasy contest revenue increased by 4.5% over February of last year. FanDuel and DraftKings accounted for nearly 96% of the total $1.7 million in revenue.

Pennsylvania has nine fantasy operators. FanDuel (27%) and Yahoo Fantasy Sports (40%) experienced the biggest percentage increase in revenue from the previous February.

DFS, much like sports betting, is sure to take a hit in March and possibly longer because of sports cancellations and delays. The hope for many is that the current containment efforts are successful, and the sports betting industry comes back strong.

Katie Kohler Avatar
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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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