Sports betting in Pennsylvania has officially kicked off. And for the first time, the public got a sneak peek into how much demand the industry commands.
Despite operating for less than two weeks, the Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino took in $1,414,586.55 in wagers during November. That total, after calculating payouts made during the month, resulted in $508,996.60 in gross revenue, representing a hold of 35 percent.
Per figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Tuesday, PA sports betting action at the Grantville property led to $173,058.84 in state tax and $10,179.93 in local share assessment. As a reminder, the tax rate is 34 percent, while 2 percent is set aside for the local share.
A positive sign for PA sports betting
After all, he noted, Thanksgiving neared, meaning potential customers will “go away” for travel rather than head to Hollywood’s sportsbook. On top of that, a historic winter storm slammed the Keystone State, creating yet another obstacle.
The novelty of becoming the state’s first regulated sportsbook still carried some weight as did the wagering enthusiasm of state residents.
And while Hollywood resides just outside the state capital, Monday’s report creates more optimism.
Major metro areas not accounted
November’s figures represent only Hollywood in central Pennsylvania.
Come January; a clearer picture should emerge. Why? Because the state’s major metropolitan areas, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, will be represented in the revenue report.
Hollywood broke the mold by opening its doors in November. Just last week, the first sportsbooks in PA’s major sports cities hit the market.
Considering the proximity of the two properties to MLB and NFL stadiums, those operations should certainly attract ample attention.
One of the first wagers accepted at Rivers, for example, was an $11,000 bet on the New England Patriots to cover the spread against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, which is just a few hundred yards from the sportsbook.
The crowd of sportsbooks will only grow in 2019. Parx Sportsbook, in Bensalem (as well as South Philadelphia Turf Club), and Harrah’s Philadelphia expect to open sports betting operations soon after the new year.
PA online sports betting still on the way
Another factor to consider when examining November’s figures is the lack of online sports betting in Pennsylvania. Online wagering should take root in spring 2019.
If the trend of New Jersey sports betting is any indication, which shows mobile wagering representing 72 percent of the handle last month, such an amenity in PA should certainly pay off for sportsbooks.
And Doug Harbach, spokesman for the PGCB, expressed excitement for the launch of mobile sports betting.
“Nothing to comment on in regards to these early figures,” Harbach told PlayPennsylvania. “From a higher level view, we certainly have been excited to work with the casinos to get the first three operations up and running and look forward to helping other casinos to introduce sportsbooks (in the) months ahead along with a launch in 2019 of internet-based options, too.”