In Its First Full Month In PA, FanDuel Casino Passes Up Its Competitors

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The FanDuel Casino’s strong week prior to the Super Bowl was no false start, as it proved its mettle as Pennsylvania’s top iCasino in its first full month in February.

Led by its strong internet table games play, FanDuel netted $6.1 million in iGaming revenue last month, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures released Wednesday.

A full $4.8 million of the FanDuel revenue came from its table games — five versions of blackjack and roulette. That represented well more than half of all the money generated by iCasino table games in the state.

FanDuel’s strong showing in table games was the biggest factor in total iCasino revenue in the state reaching a new high of $19.5 million in February, nearly 40% more than in the longer, preceding month of January. Internet casino gaming first began in the state in July.

Casino play remained strong after the Super Bowl

FanDuel burst out of the gate with $2.1 million in revenue in just eight days of operation in January, affiliated with the Valley Forge Casino Resort just like its online sportsbook that dominates the state. It was uncertain how much of that early success, however, might have been attributed to heavy play and promotions attracting crossover sports bettors just prior to the Super Bowl.

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Clearly, many of those gamblers continued patronizing FanDuel’s options, even though there’s no desktop play available and its slots menu is meager compared to competitors.

The Rivers Casino Philadelphia, the now-No. 2 iCasino operator in the state, earns nearly twice as much from slots play as table games. It made $4.8 million in revenue in February from two sites, PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers, with nearly $3.2 million of that from slots.

While there are eight online sites on which to play slots and table games in Pennsylvania, the gaming board’s revenue figures count them as just seven, as the PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers sites are both on the Rivers Philadelphia license of Rush Street Interactive.

Parx Casino’s online site showed its own strong jump in revenue to $2.4 million in February, with its slots play generating nearly four times as much revenue as its table games.

There remains only one Pennsylvania site to play poker, the PokerStars site connected to Mount Airy Casino Resort. Its poker revenue dipped to $1.8 million in February, down 15.2% from January. That prompted a drop in its revenue from all online activity, which stood at $3.2 million for the month.

February’s overall revenue was strong, but beware March

When comparing all of Pennsylvania’s gaming revenue in February to the same month a year ago, it experienced a 13.75% increase to $304.3 million. That’s attributable to all of the online casino play and sports betting available this year that was not the case 12 months earlier, and to 2020 being a leap year, with the extra day falling on a Saturday.

Slots play across the state saw a 5.1% increase to $199.7 million, and table games revenue for the month was up 4.6 % to $77.4 million.

Thanks to the boost received from FanDuel’s sportsbook and iCasino, Valley Forge saw a whopping 74.2% revenue increase over February 2019, to $18.9 million from all gambling sources.

Impressive in their own right, revenue was up 31.4% for Rivers Casino Philadelphia to $35.1 million; up 31.1% for little Lady Luck Nemacolin to $2.9 million; and up 29.5% to $18.8 million for Mount Airy.

Two casinos showed a net decline in February revenue from the year before: Wind Creek Bethlehem was off 12.2% to $37.7 million, and Meadows Racetrack & Casino was down 4.1% to $19.4 million.

All 12 of the state’s casinos were shut down by government order in recent days due to the public health threat from the COVID-19 coronavirus. They are likely to be closed for two weeks, at minimum.

The industry-wide suspension means the revenue figures for March to be released a month from now will provide an entirely different picture. Unlike in most other states, the casinos and state government will at least be netting some revenue from iGaming — perhaps even a lot more than in February from players trying the sites for the first time due to the closure of brick-and-mortar casinos.

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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at gary@usbets.com.

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