Pennsylvania sportsbooks see third consecutive drop in wagers despite June revenue gains

Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks experienced their third consecutive monthly drop in wagers in June, although they did achieve significant revenue gains despite the summer off season’s lull in sporting action. 

The down month closed a dramatic fiscal year that saw more than $5.5bn in sports wagers and an online casino gaming market that continues to compete with New Jersey as the nation’s largest, according to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks regulated online gaming and sports betting in the state.

Online and retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania combined to take in $420.2m in wagers in June, down 6.1% from $447.5m in May. Sportsbooks’ gross gaming revenue jumped to $42.5m, though, which was up 13.6% from $37.4m in May. 

The month’s gross receipts produced $34.2m in taxable revenue, which yielded $11.6m in state taxes and $684,510 in local share assessments.

“Betting volume typically falls over the summer, but sportsbooks tend to win more per bet on sports like golf and tennis,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayPennsylania.com. “That really helped sportsbooks in June and will help them to continue to weather the offseason even as bettors engage less.”

Still hampered by pandemic-related shutdowns, sportsbooks generated just $89m wagers and $8m in gross gaming revenue in June 2020. But those results would hardly be a harbinger of the fiscal year ahead, which brought $5.6bn in sports wagering, up 121.0% from $2.5bn in FY 2019-20.

It also generated $440.7m in gross gaming revenue, up 169.9% from $163.3m in FY 2019-20; $308.8m in taxable revenue, up 128.0% from $135.5m year-on-year; and $111.2m in state and local taxes, up 128% from $48.8m in FY 2019-20.

Pennsylvania, which celebrated two years of online sports betting in June, has now taken in $8.1bn in online and retail wagering since launch. Only New Jersey and Nevada have taken in more over that time.   

“By any measure, Pennsylvania’s entry into sports betting has been an unqualified success, and the market has yet to fully mature,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Importantly, with more than $111m in state and local taxes over the fiscal year no state takes in more in tax revenue from sports betting than Pennsylvania. That is where the state truly stands out.”

In June, 90.3%, or $379.3m, of all sports bets were made online, a fitting end to a fiscal year that saw an increasing number of bets made online. FanDuel only increased its dominance of the online market, producing $162.5m in online wagering, up from $160.9m in May. 

By taking in 42.9% of all online wagers in June, FanDuel posted its largest share of the market since August. Gross gaming revenue in June jumped to $19.7m from $17.6m in May, generating $16.4m in taxable revenue.

DraftKings was second in the state with $86m in bets, down from $100m in May. That resulted in $6.4m in gross revenue, up from $5.2m in May, and $5.7m in taxable revenue. Penn National’s Barstool-branded app was fourth with $31.9m in June wagering, down from $43.6m in May. Those bets yielded $3.2m in gross revenue, up from $2.8m in May, and $2.2m in taxable revenue.

Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks continued on their road to health with $40.9m in wagers in June, up from $40.1m in May. Those bets yielded $4.9m in taxable revenue, up from $5.2m in May. Rivers-Philadelphia led the retail market with $8m in bets, topping Parx Casino’s $6.4m handle. 

“With no Sixers to bet on and with the Phillies and Pirates sagging in the standings, sportsbooks will have to get creative in driving action in July and August,” Gouker said. “The Olympics later this month should help fill the gap, but it won’t be until football season that we see significant growth return to either retail or online sportsbooks.” 

Gross gaming revenue at online casinos and poker rooms topped $100m for the fourth consecutive month, even as it fell to $100.8m in June, down from $110.8m in May. June’s gross revenue produced $88.9m in taxable revenue, down from $101.3m in May, and $37.2m in state and local taxes.

Pennsylvania’s online gambling market has boomed since the beginning of the pandemic, taking in more than $1bn in gross revenue over the fiscal year. New Jersey’s $107.1m in gross gaming revenue topped Pennsylvania in June, making the Garden State No. 1 among US markets in June. 

But near the two-year anniversary of the launch of online casinos in Pennsylvania, which debuted on May 31, 2019, online gambling has generated more in monthly gross gaming revenue than New Jersey for two of the last seven months, including in May.

“The growth of online casinos over the past 15 months has forever altered the landscape of Pennsylvania’s gaming industry,” Cross said. “The potential of Pennsylvania was obvious from the start. But the expansion over the last year to the cusp of becoming the largest online gambling market in the country, capable of generating more than $1bn in revenue in a single year, has been remarkable.”