Pennsylvania bettors were quick to place their first legal wagers on football according to PlayPennsylvania.com analysts, resulting in a record $109m in August bets for the state’s online and retail sportsbooks.
According to official data released this week, the handle from online and retail sportsbooks was ahead by 84% from the previous record of $59.3m set in July. Combined, online and retail bets yielded $9.9m in revenue in August, up from $5.1m in revenue in July. It was good news for state funding with $2.1m flowing into state and local government coffers.
Pennsylvania’s four online sportsbooks accrued an increasing share of the total sports betting market. Online bets increased from $39m in July to $83.2m in August, representing 76% of the state’s total handle, up from 65.7% in July. By comparison, about 85% of sports bets in New Jersey are made online.
“Sports bettors almost universally bet on football, so it is no surprise that even with just one full week of college football games and NFL futures to bet on, that Pennsylvania would experience a significant uptick,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “But with the NFL season now underway and more sportsbooks online, August’s successes are just a precursor to much bigger things ahead.”
She added: “Online betting in Pennsylvania will continue to increase its share of the state’s handle to a level on par with New Jersey. To that point, the early-September launch of Fox Bet – the first major sports media-branded betting site in any state – is an interesting development that should gain bettors’ attention. And other online sportsbooks are planning on launching this fall.”
The growth of FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino, which enjoyed its first full month of operation in August, is another key reason why the future of online sports betting is bright. FanDuel – a brand that dominates both the retail and online markets in New Jersey – attracted $35.3m in online bets in August, yielding $2.9m in revenue and overtaking SugarHouse Casino as the market leader.
SugarHouse gained the retail market lead in August with $5.4m in bets. That yielded $816,768 in revenue.
“Even if FanDuel’s ascension is all but inevitable, its first full month in the online market was impressive,” noted Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “To take over the market lead so quickly shows the strength of the FanDuel brand. However, competition for market supremacy should remain fierce.”
SugarHouse, Parx and Penn National casinos enjoyed their first full month of online casino games in August, and generated $3.4m in gross revenue on $111.8m in wagers. That is up from $812,306 in July revenue and $49.2m in bets. The revenue injected $985,155 into state coffers.
Sugarhouse led the way with $1.6m in revenue on $40.9m in bets, but Parx accepted $53.1m in wagers.
“It will take a few more months before we get a clear picture of Pennsylvania’s online gambling market, but the early returns are positive,” Gouker said. “This market should grow dramatically before the end of the year, working with online sportsbooks to grow exponentially in the coming months.”