FOX Brand Not Translating Into Big Betting So Far In PA

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Much of the industry buzz upon the release Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board of the October sports betting revenue figures surrounded the positive: handle climbing 24% month over month, tax revenue for the state looking sunny, and FanDuel Sportsbook flexing its muscles.

But the news wasn’t necessarily good for everyone. And at the bottom of the list of muscle-flexers sits FOX Bet, which some journalists thought would make an immediate impact in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For the second month in a row, FOX Bet ranks fifth out of five PA online sportsbooks.

FOX Bet is trending in the right direction, mind you; its online betting revenue nearly doubled from September to October, from $232k to $422k. And the total handle across FOX Bet and the land-based book at Mount Airy Casino Resort more than doubled from $4.9 mm to $10.4 mm. So there’s growth happening.

It’s just not happening quickly enough to keep FOX Bet out of a distant last place.

FOX Force fifth

That $422k in revenue is less than one-thirteenth of what FanDuel generated in October. It’s about one-fifth of what Play SugarHouse produced, one-third of Parx Casino’s online sports betting take, and less than half of BetRivers’ revenue.

FOX Bet launched in Pennsylvania on Sept. 5, behind all of those competitors. So, especially if casual bettors are inclined to open one or two betting accounts and stop there, first-mover advantage matters and presumably helps explain the sluggish start. Then again, FanDuel was the fourth to launch in PA and had shot to the top by the end of its first full month.

One might suspect that FOX Bet’s land-based partner, Mount Airy, being a modest casino that ranked just 10th in the state in total revenue in October ($16.09 mm) is a factor. But FanDuel’s land-based partner, Valley Forge Casino Resort, ranked ninth in the state with $16.61 mm in revenue. So that reasoning doesn’t take you very far.

It seemed likely that the NFL season would provide a huge boost to FOX Bet, given that the site could be promoted on a broadcast network that carries games every Sunday (not to mention every offshoot FOX network and property). That simply hasn’t been the case. All of the Colin Cowherd promos and Cousin Sal money-back guarantees in the world apparently don’t drive traffic. At least not yet.

And it figures to get worse for FOX Bet before it gets better. DraftKings Sportsbook opened its virtual doors on Nov. 4. So when the November numbers are released, FOX Bet might well be in sixth place.

The game is not won or lost on the first drive. But a three-and-out to open the contest was not what we were expecting with the FOX marketing machine doing its thing.

Other PA gaming revenue notes

  • Parx Casino remained the top overall earner in the state in October, with a year-over-year increase of 15.9%, from $47.19 mm to $54.69 mm. Parx also won the month in terms of slots revenue and was second in table games, behind Wind Creek Bethlehem. The Meadows Casino was the only property in PA to slip significantly in total revenue from October 2018 to October 2019, falling by 16.1%.
  • Play SugarHouse took a major step forward in online casino revenue, going from third place out of three in September ($1.07 mm) to first place in October ($2.53 mm). Hollywood Casino held steady at $1.8 mm in online casino earnings, up a mere $3k over the prior month. Parx’s online casino went in the wrong direction, meanwhile, slipping from $1.27 mm in revenue in September to just $610k in October.
  • DraftKings and FanDuel continue to lap the field in fantasy sports revenue, with DK leading the way. In October, DraftKings posted $1.77 mm in earnings, while FanDuel came in at $1.4 mm — roughly one-quarter of what FD’s sports betting site made in the same month.
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Eric Raskin

Eric is a veteran writer, editor, and podcaster in the sports and gaming industries. He was the editor-in-chief of the poker magazine All In for nearly a decade, is the author of the book The Moneymaker Effect, and has contributed to such outlets as ESPN.com, Grantland.com, and Playboy.

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