A busy February pushed Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks past the $2bn mark in wagers since the state’s legalization of sports betting. But with every major US sport suspended indefinitely, the immediate future for operators is far less certain, according to analysts from PlayPennsylvania

“The next few months are impossible to predict until we get a better handle on how long the coronavirus will affect, not just sports and the gaming industry, but all of daily life,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “The immediate outlook of sportsbooks is secondary right now. But there is little doubt that the industry will be affected significantly, at least in the short-term.”

Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks produced $329.8m in wagers, just short of the $348.4m record set in January, according to official data released this week. The state has now collected $2.1b in online and retail wagers since its industry was born in January 2019. By doing so, the Keystone State joined Nevada and New Jersey as the only states to have crossed the $2bn threshold.

February’s handle produced $4.7m in gross revenue, down from January’s record $31.6m. Sportsbooks rebounded from a $3.3mn loss on the Super Bowl, which generated $30.7m in bets. The revenue resulted in a $1.6m injection into state coffers.

Online betting produced $294.1m, or 89.2%, of the state’s February handle. The online handle generated $4.7m in gross revenue, providing all of the state’s taxable revenue. But without any US sports to bet on, it will be online casinos that prove particularly valuable in the days ahead.

“Revenue from online casinos should help fill in the gaps, at least in part, while sportsbooks and land-based casinos feel the impact from COVID-19,” Gouker said. “In New Jersey, online casino revenue already tops $50m per month, and revenue could really leap forward in Pennsylvania, too. But it will be impossible to completely replace all the revenue lost from the sports world going dark.”

FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino dominated the online market with $138.5m in February bets, down from $153.1m in January. That yielded $146,080 in taxable revenue, down from $8.1m. DraftKings at The Meadows has been a success story, too. In February, the firm generated $72.3m, up from $58.7m in January. Now the state’s clear number two, DraftKings has grown from $16.2m in its first month in November.

“After a slow start, Pennsylvania sportsbooks have continually matured into the market that we all thought it would be when the state first legalized sports betting,” Gouker added. “The state has only begun to scratch the surface of its potential. In fact, Pennsylvania was on track to reach $4bn in lifetime handle by the beginning of the NFL season. But it would take a quick recovery from the coronavirus outbreak to reach that milestone now. 

Pennsylvania’s online casinos and poker rooms generated a record $19.5m in February gross revenue, up from $14m in January. Casinos and poker generated $672,097 per day in the 29 days of February, up from $450,243 per day in the 31 days in January. February yielded $4.7m in tax revenue for the state, and online casino games attracted $547.6m in bets.

Online casinos continue to jump into the market, including FanDuel/Valley Forge Casino and BetAmerica in late January. But unforeseen issues, including iOS problems that have reduced the size of game libraries and relatively high fees and tax rates, have conspired to slow the industry’s start compared with booming New Jersey.

“Online casinos have dealt with headwinds that have been more forceful than anything that New Jersey operators have had to face,” Gouker said. “These are mostly just growing pains, and it is a near-certainty that online casinos will take off.”

FanDuel/Valley Forge Casino continued its hot start, generating $6.1m in revenue on $279.3m in wagers to take the market lead in the online casino’s first full month of operation. Rivers-Philadelphia was second with $4.8m in revenue on $194.7m in wagers. That is up from $3.5m in revenue on $146.4m in wagers in January.

For more information on the revenue generated by Pennsylvania sports betting, visit www.playpennsylvania.com/revenue.