Pennsylvania Online Gambling, Sports Betting Key in Keystone State, as Retail Revenue Plummets

Posted on: December 17, 2020, 12:24h. 

Last updated on: December 17, 2020, 01:22h.

Online gambling and sports betting are playing vital roles in the economic health of Pennsylvania’s gaming industry. The state is the third-largest in the United States.

online gambling Pennsylvania casino revenue
Pennsylvania online slot machines and table games, along with sports betting, helped offset some brick-and-mortar losses in November. (Image: PGCB)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) revealed today that online slots won just shy of $39.4 million last month. That’s a staggering 673 percent gain in November 2019.

Online casinos went live back in July of 2019. However, as of November of last year, only Parx and Hollywood casinos were operating online games. Today, Pennsylvanians have 11 interactive online casino sites to choose from, and the internet products are finding favor among Keystone residents as they continue to remain under strict COVID-19 state orders.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) from internet table games totaled a little more than $17.9 million, a 592 percent year-over-year increase. Pennsylvania’s iGaming haul in November was the state’s all-time best mark. Internet slots, table games, and poker rake totaled $59.7 million.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia led the way with $16.5 million in internet GGR. Rivers Philly was the first casino to be forced to again close its land-based operations because of city orders, which went into effect on Nov. 20.

Retail Rollbacks

Along with internet gaming, sports betting in the Commonwealth enjoyed yet another strong month. Sportsbooks took $491.9 million in bets and kept $37.3 million. November’s sports win was up 242 percent, higher than the same month in the previous year.

The drastic gains made by iGaming and sports betting wasn’t enough to offset legacy gaming losses. GGR from physical slot machines fell almost 32 percent to $129.5 million, while tables won 30 percent less ($52.3 million).

Even with the $3 million won by daily fantasy sports networks and $2.2 million from truck stop video gaming terminals, Pennsylvania’s gaming industry still recorded a year-over-year decline in November. Total GGR from all gaming was $284.2 million, down 2.7 percent.

Bad End to Bad Year

2020 won’t be remembered fondly by many. And certainly, for those invested in the Pennsylvania gaming industry, COVID-19 delivered an unimaginably difficult year.

November’s nearly three percent GGR fall will only worsen in December. All 13 brick-and-mortar casinos are once again closed. Governor Tom Wolf (D) ordered land-based gaming to suspend operations on December 12. They won’t reopen until at least January 4.

Pennsylvania casinos have pleaded with Wolf not to take a one-size-fits-all approach to close businesses. The gaming companies say their floors are some of the safest indoor business environments in the Commonwealth.

Representatives from the casinos explain there’s been no evidence that their operations have been responsible for coronavirus spread. Wolf first closed the gaming facilities in March, and allowed them to reopen at a maximum 50 percent capacity in June.

Brick-and-mortar legacy gaming will tumble dramatically in December, as the slot machines and table games were only in business for 11 days. iGaming GGR will likely further benefit, as gamblers confined to their homes look for an outlet.