Four Days Of Online Sports Betting Already Impacting Sportsbook Bottom Lines

Written By Kevin Shelly on June 18, 2019 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
First PA online sportsbook revenue

The launch of online sports wagering in Pennsylvania at the end of May shows encouraging numbers, even if it was just four days of online betting.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released May’s sports betting revenue numbers today. PA, the state’s first sports betting app, took $573,163 in bets across four days. Most of that time was a testing period, which meant limited hours of operation and no marketing. If SugarHouse were to keep that same level of action across a month, it would have generated more than $4.4 million in online bets.

Online launch not marred by technical hiccups

Four Days to Remember: SugarHouse PA Launch Yields Big Numbers | PlayPA Gambling News from Catena Media US on Vimeo.

Additionally, SugarHouse’s launch ran into some other problems early on, including limited deposit options. Another problem was that the action was limited to desktop and Android.

The PA SugarHouse client is still not available as an iPhone app in the app store. Moreover, new Apple guidelines could keep the app out of the store for months to come. grossed $38,753 across those four days, a hold of 6.8%.

Meanwhile, the retail sportsbook at SugarHouse Casino had another solid month. Between online action and retail betting, SugarHouse accepted $7,923,839 in wagers, with a hold of $711,845. Roughly 7% of those bets were placed online.

By comparison, about 80% of New Jersey wagers are placed online. So, expect a big boon in online numbers as more operators launch.

Here is a rundown of how all eight sportsbooks fared in May:

PropertyHandleGross RevenueTax
SugarHouse Sportsbook$7,934,839$711,846$256,264
Rivers Sportsbook$7,924,510$641,029$230,771
Parx Sportsbook$6,809,662$639,922$230,371
Hollywood Sportsbook$3,816,054$210,637$75,830
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook$2,745,803$168,815$60,773
FanDuel at Valley Forge$2,739,475$240,766$86,675
Harrah's Philadelphia$2,589,147$138,094$49,714
The Oaks Race and Sportsbook$1,385,725$110,744$39,868

Rivers still tops, even with online competition

May’s overall handle for Pennsylvania sports wagering was $35,934,215, with a gross of $2,823,099.

Rivers Pittsburgh Casino, traditionally the leader in Pennsylvania, was just ahead of SugarHouse with a May handle of $7,924,510 to SugarHouse’s $7,923,839. This even with PlaySugarHouse’s strong online debut.

SugarHouse did outgross its sister property with $711,845 in revenue compared to Rivers’ $641,029.

Soon it will be a battle of two Rivers, too. SugarHouse’s parent company Rush Street Gaming recently announced its plans to rebrand SugarHouse to Rivers Philadelphia later this summer.

It was a good month for Pennsylvania coffers as well. It was the third-straight month the state collected more than a million dollars in sports betting taxes.

Parx made a strong showing with a healthy gross

The May handle was for Parx Sportsbook was third in the state at $6,809,662. For the second-straight month, Parx’s revenue performed well. The sportsbook held onto $639,922, a hold of 9.4%.

In April, Parx revenue was $907,298 on a handle of $6,850,305, a hold of 13%.

It may be tempting to try and compare New Jersey’s online launch with Pennsylvania’s, but there are a number of factors making that inadvisable. For example, several NJ apps launched in a short window, they launched midway through the month, and they were not facing the same headaches regarding the Apple app store.

New Jersey had three separate online line operators during at least some of its startup month.

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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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