Pennsylvania sportsbooks bounce back with $560m-plus in March bets

Image source: copyright argus 456 / 123RF Stock Photo

Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks took in more than $560m in wagers, as March Madness helped propel betting to the second-highest monthly volume in state history, according to PlayPennsylvania. The Keystone State also set a fresh record for online casino revenue while the state’s sportsbooks crossed $500m in lifetime gross gaming revenue.

The final count for March saw Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks collect $560.3m in bets, up 326.6% from $131.3m in March 2020, a month marred by the shutdown of major sports in the US, including the NCAA Tournament

The month represented a rebound from February’s $509.6m handle, even as it fell short of the record $615.3m handle in January.

Sportsbooks did well on March’s bets, too, producing $41m in gross gaming revenue — up 376.7% from $8.6m in March 2020. That yielded $29.4m in taxable revenue, up 326.1% from $6.9m a year ago. The revenue produced in March created $10m in state taxes and $587,047 in local share assessment.

“March’s results show just how important the NCAA Tournament can be in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, giving a huge boost to sportsbooks at a time when football is dormant,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for 

“With last year’s tournament canceled, sportsbooks were left a revenue hole that they could not fill. Pennsylvania itself was a bit of an unknown, since the last time the NCAA Tournament was held online sports betting had yet to launch. This really sets sportsbooks up for a strong rest of the year, especially in comparison with 2020.” 

Pennsylvania sportsbooks have now generated $506.7m in gross gaming revenue since launching, reaching yet another impressive lifetime milestone. New Jersey should remain the top market, but Pennsylvania could feasibly pass Nevada for No. 2 in the US, or Pennsylvania could be passed by Illinois, which continues to gain ground.

“$500m in gross gaming revenue is a threshold reached by only two other markets, Nevada and New Jersey, a sign of Pennsylvania’s increasingly mature market,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for 

“Regardless of where Pennsylvania finds itself in the state rankings, it is in an excellent position as online betting gains steam and retail sportsbooks find themselves with fewer pandemic-related restrictions.”

Online sports betting produced 91.8%, or $514.3m, of March’s handle. The percentage is down from 92.2% of February’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino topped the market again with $202.8m in online wagering, up from $176.3m in February. Those bets produced $10.4m in taxable revenue, up from $7.3m in February. 

DraftKings/The Meadows was second with $116.6m in bets, up from $111.7m in February, yielding $6m in taxable revenue.

The Barstool-branded Penn National/Hollywood Casino app is still trying to gain ground, generating $63.6m in March, easily No. 3 in the state but down from $65.6m in February. That produced $3.3m in revenue.

Retail sportsbooks generated $45.9m in handle, up from $39.8m in February. Sportsbooks won $3.4m on February’s bets. The top retail sportsbook was Rivers-Philadelphia with $7m in bets, edging Parx Casino’s $6.9m.

“The Penn National-Barstool partnership has been successful, but its gains on the market leaders has stalled,” Gouker said. “FanDuel and DraftKings have built so much brand recognition and marketing might that they still hold advantages over a brand as well-known as Barstool partnering with a Pennsylvania-based company.”

Online casinos and poker rooms hit a fresh high in March with $97.7m in taxable revenue, shattering the record $80.4m set in January. Online casinos generated a per day revenue record, too, producing $3.2m in revenue per day for the 31 days in March, which was up from the previous high of $2.8m per day over the 28 days in February.

Year-on-year, revenue is up 292.4% from $24.9m from March 2020, a month that marks the beginning of a year-long surge that continues today. Online casino wagering has grown 275% to $3.3bn from $871.6m in March 2020.

“The year-over-year gains in revenue are staggering,” Cross said. “The pandemic-related shutdowns of the state’s retail casinos changed bettor behavior for the foreseeable future. This is evident as online casino gaming keeps setting records, even as brick-and-mortar restrictions are eased.”