Reporting on the latest sports betting receipts for Pennsylvania, analyst website PlayPennsylvania said that sportsbooks has again capitalized on non-traditional sports to draw surprising interest from sports bettors. Online gambling continued its torrid pace, it noted, to end the fiscal year with an uplifting June.
The state’s $89m handle was still an estimated $235m shy of an ordinary June, when baseball would traditionally take center stage. But the signs of a turnaround are growing more distinct across gaming platforms as the market begins to normalize.
Lead analyst Dustin Gouker commented: “The reopening of casinos in June is an important milestone that points toward brighter days, even if we’re not there yet. Online gambling will continue to be a force for the foreseeable future.
“Online and retail sportsbooks, like brick-and-mortar casinos, will navigate an uncertain landscape as long as the pandemic is ongoing. If a setback can be avoided, though, the return of major sports later this month will be huge for the industry.”
Sportsbooks generated $89m in wagers in June, up 14.8% from $77.5m in May, while gross revenue for the month rose 37.9% to $6.7m, up from $4.8m in May, producing $1.6m in state taxes.
June’s handle was up 92.2% from $46.3m in June 2019, while gross revenue tripled from $2.1m.
Even with months of shuttered casinos and major sports on hiatus, sportsbooks produced $113.7m in gross operator revenue on $2.3bn in bets for the industry’s first full fiscal year, which ended June 30. That produced $38.7m in state taxes. In 2018-19, when Pennsylvania sports betting was in its infancy, sportsbooks earned $21.7m in revenue on $244.7m in bets, yielding $7.4m in state taxes.
“The disruption in sports betting is something no one could have seen coming, but even with it the industry is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was last year,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If major sports resume as planned, sportsbooks will almost instantly return to generating hundreds of millions of dollars in bets each month.”
With casinos opening slowly, and a limited menu of sports to bet on, online betting generated $88.3m of June’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino led the way with $32.9m in bets, up from $29.6m in May. That generated $2.9m in taxable revenue, up from $2.5m.
In-person sports betting reopened slowly, producing the first $689,534 in retail bets since March, leading to a loss of $99,270. Rivers-Pittsburgh led the way with $345,962 in wagers, which resulted in an $11,267 loss.
If things move ahead as planned, sportsbooks should see strong growth in July as baseball, the NBA, and the NHL draw closer to their first games. That should renew interest in futures bets, too.
“With pent-up demand and local interest in all three sports, the return of baseball, basketball, and hockey should bring heavy betting,” Cross said. “That interest has already been seen with a rise in futures betting. July could ultimately be a dynamic-changing month.”