Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks set a new monthly handle record and surpassed $1bn in lifetime wagers during November. The industry continues to gain momentum as its online product matures, a process boosted by the recent online launch of DraftKings and Unibet, according to PlayPennsylvania.com analysts.
In all, the state’s sportsbooks accepted $316.5m in wagers last month, up 31.2% from October’s $241.2m. Those bets yielded $20.6m in revenue, up from October’s $19.1m, generating $3.9m in state taxes.
The totals are a vast improvement on November 2018 when the state’s first and only sportsbook, Hollywood Casino, generated $1.4m in bets and $508,997 in gross revenue. In 12 months, Pennsylvania has grown into the third-largest legal sports betting jurisdiction in the country, and continues to chase neighbor New Jersey, which accepted $562.2m in bets in November.
The most important factor in Pennsylvania’s growth was the summer 2019 launch of online sports betting. The roster of online brands has grown to seven following the November launches of DraftKings, under The Meadows license, and Unibet, under the Mohegan Sun Pocono umbrella. Those seven online sportsbooks generated 84.3% of the state’s November handle — a total of $266.7m, up from $198.7m in October.
“Pennsylvania has come a long way in a year,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Plagued with relatively high gaming taxes and early hurdles to its online launch, Pennsylvania’s future as a legal sports betting jurisdiction was murky at the beginning. But despite the issues in its infancy, the state has proven to be attractive for operators and the market is truly beginning to flourish.”
He added: “Online sports betting has unquestionably been the key driver of the state’s growth. Not only has online betting grown to account for an overwhelming majority of the state’s handle, but it has also helped spur growth among retail sportsbooks. That is a pattern that we saw in New Jersey, too.”
FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino remains dominant in the online market, despite fresh competition from rival DraftKings and Unibet. FanDuel accepted $149.7m in November bets, up from $113.9m in October, yielding $9.2m in revenue, up from $8.1m.
“With the addition of DraftKings, Pennsylvania now has the two largest sports betting brands in the country,” Gouker said. “The question is whether DraftKings can make a dent in FanDuel’s market dominance, or has FanDuel’s early launch baked in its market advantages for the foreseeable future.”