Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks saw a monthly handle below $600m for the first time since September as the ‘expected’ post-football season slump depleted the appetite of bettors.
According to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks online gaming and sports betting in the state, whilst sports betting took a back seat in February, online casinos came to the fore, setting a monthly record in revenue-per-day and narrowly missing a total monthly revenue record.
“The Super Bowl is the most bet-on single game in the US, but it can’t alone replace a full schedule of football games,” commented Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayPennsylvania.com.
“The lull in February is expected and always short-lived. March Madness should get sportsbooks back into record or near-record territory.”
Buoyed by the Super Bowl, which garnered $68m in bets, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks took $597m in wagers during February. It represents a 17.2% year-on-year increase, however down 24.8% from the record month set in January. It is also the lowest drop since the $578.8m in September.
Total wagers produced $22.2m in gross revenue for sportsbooks, down 33.2% year-on-year indicating that bettors fared well during the month. At $22.6m in promotional spending, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks lost $442,847 in taxable revenue which put tax revenue in negative territory at ($268,976).
“The Super Bowl is a prime opportunity for sportsbooks to expand their customer base, which is why they promote it so heavily,” said Katie Kohler, an analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com.
“That took a significant bite out of tax revenue. But the industry is in excellent shape going forward, and poised for more growth.”
Online sportsbooks took 93.5% of the state’s handle in February, with FanDuel winning in the state, taking $212m in wagers, producing $6m in revenue.
DraftKings followed with $140.1m in wagers, which produced $4.9m in revenue. BetMGM was third in the state with a $72.3m handle, which led to $4.3m in revenue. Penn National’s Barstool-branded app was fourth with $46.8m in online wagers, which created $2.0m in revenue.
“The biggest concern for sportsbooks was whether or not they’d lose a significant portion of the baseball season, which makes up a relatively small share of annual handle but is the main bets generator over the slow summer months,” Kohler added.
“With the Phillies and Pirates now expected to play full schedules, sportsbooks can look forward to the first normal sports calendar since 2019.
Despite the sports betting woes, online casinos posted gross revenue of $123.7m, down 4.7% from January but 36.6% year-on-year. Additionally, $4.4m in GGR per day over the 28 days of February, up from $4.2m per day over the 31 days in January.
“Online casinos aren’t subject to the same seasonal shifts as sportsbooks, which is a major reason why it is such a better revenue generator,” Kohler concluded.
“When states see the success of online casinos in states like Pennsylvania, it’s a wonder why we haven’t seen the same wave of legalization that we have seen with sports betting over the last few years.”