Pennsylvania Sports Betting Handle Approaches $350M in January, Online Wagering Near 90 Percent

Posted on: February 21, 2020, 10:10h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2020, 10:53h.

For the eighth straight month, Pennsylvania’s sports betting market saw month-to-month growth. According to data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state’s 12 licensed sportsbooks reported a handle of $348.4 million in January. That was a roughly $5.8 million jump from December.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers shows just how big the online sports betting market is in Pennsylvania. (Image: Wingspan Sports)

The sportsbooks reported taxable gross revenues of $22.8 million for the month, which represented a 100 percent jump from December. The increase in revenue likely came from the end of the college football season and the NFL regular season, which meant several futures betting markets could be closed.

That revenue increase resulted in nearly $7.8 million poured into state tax coffers and $456,824 in local taxes for the month. Pennsylvania taxes sports betting revenues at 34 percent at the state level and 2 percent at the local level.

Through the first seven months of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks have taken in $1.6 billion. Gross revenues have totaled $87.7 million, with $29.8 million generated in state taxes.

Online Booming in Pennsylvania

The ongoing increases in Pennsylvania’s sports betting handle can easily be attributed to the availability of mobile betting applications in the state. While the apps are tied to casinos, Pennsylvania allows open registration, meaning customers can download the applications from anywhere in the state and do not need to register first at a casino for an account.

In January, $308.6 million – or 88.6 percent of the handle – was wagered through the eight mobile sports betting applications available in the state. Nearly half of that total, or $153.1 million, was bet through the FanDuel app.

DraftKings, which only became available in Pennsylvania in November, enjoyed another month of strong growth in January. The mobile application reported a handle of $58.7 million, which was a 63.5 percent jump from December.

Just as FanDuel has used special promotional spreads to entice bettors in Indiana, DraftKings has taken a similar tactic in the Keystone State to cut into its rival’s market share. In recent weeks, DraftKings has offered a special over/under on a Penn State college basketball game, and the sportsbook has offered special markets on the Philadelphia 76ers.

On Friday, FanDuel countered with a “Spread the Love” offer in Pennsylvania, where the online sportsbook would bump up the spread for the Sixers by a point for every 1,000 bettors in their Saturday game against the Milwaukee Bucks. As late Friday night (ET), the spread, which started at 8.5 points, had grown to 25.5 points.

Bettors will get the final spread regardless of when they placed their bet.

Pennsylvania Slots Handle Down in January

In other Pennsylvania gaming revenue news, slot play fell slightly in January from December, dropping $2.43 billion to $2.42 billion. However, gross terminal revenue increased by nearly $3 million to $190.3 million for the month. Pennsylvania ended up generating $64.7 million in state tax revenue from the proceeds.

Parx Casino near Philadelphia was the slot leader, as the 3,172 machines generated $477.3 million in wagers and $35.9 million in gross revenue.

On table games, the state’s casinos won $72.6 million for the month, down from $78.1 million in December. The state’s share of those proceeds was $10.2 million.

Wind Creek Bethlehem generated the largest share of the table game revenue, winning nearly $18.3 million in the month.

Online casino play enjoyed a strong month as well. Gross revenue from interactive slots broke $7 million for the first time, with $7.2 million. The state’s ended up receiving $2.4 million of that.

Online banking table games earned $4.6 million in January, a more than $2 million increase from December. But revenue from online poker dipped from $2.5 million in December to $2.1 million in January.

Pennsylvania draws a 14 percent state on online table game revenues, giving the state $947,148 in January.