PA Fantasy Revenue Spikes Ahead Of Widespread Sports Betting Launch

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With Penn National launching the first legal sportsbook in the state last week, and several other casinos primed to do the same, attention will likely soon shift away from fantasy and DFS games to straight up real-money sports betting.

Nonetheless, with all four major sports leagues in full swing last month, the Keystone State’s fantasy sites pulled in a decent haul in October, banking $2.9 million, a 36% bump over the previous month.

Topline fantasy overview for October

  • October handle: $27,312,944
  • YTD handle: $93,563,366
  • October revenue: $2,902,862
  • YTD revenue: $9,207,950
  • Revenue M/M % change: +36%
  • YTD Taxes: $1,381,192

FanDuel and DraftKings reign supreme

In PA, the fantasy market is dominated almost completely by premier DFS sites DraftKings and FanDuel. The perennial rivals gobbled up a massive 96% slice of the total pie, leaving just crumbs for the five other active state sites.

DraftKings boasted a $1.54 million win last month – a 31% increase over September – while FanDuel raked in $1.25 million, up 31% M/M as well. Both sites have positioned themselves to become major players in the sports betting world, and are already active with live and online books in New Jersey, with DraftKings recently opening a branded retail facility at Scarlet Pearl Resort in Mississippi, and slated to go live with its land-based book at Resorts AC this Tuesday, November 20.

DraftKings is by far the leader in the New Jersey market to date, taking in over $8 million in online sports betting revenue there in September, and close to $5 million in October. FanDuel didn’t profit quite as much, but still blew its PA DFS totals out of the water, banking $2.85 million in NJ online sports revenue in September and $2.42 million in October. Its land-based book at the Meadowlands has taken in a whopping $5.5 million in revenue during those two months.

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Only six PA casinos have applied for a sports betting license thus far, and DraftKings has not yet revealed a partnership with any state gambling property. FanDuel, on the other hand, will almost certainly be the face of the retail and online sportsbook of Valley Forge, which has become the latest PA casino to apply for sports betting permit.

Earlier this year, the resort’s parent company, Boyd Gaming, inked a deal with Paddy Power Betfair, FanDuel’s parent, sealing the FanDuel/Valley Forge bond.

Signs of life

Several other PA fantasy operators – which make up the paltry remaining 4% of the market – suddenly sprang to life last month. Even so, there isn’t too much to get excited about.

Of the remaining sites, SportsHub had the best showing, banking $41,571 this go-round (it made nearly nothing in September). DRAFT was on its heels with $36,592, an 86% month-over-month increase.

After a disastrous September, during which it lost $12,000, Yahoo! Fantasy finally got into the black last month with a $22,117 take.

FantasyDraft and Boom Fantasy rounded out the list with meager $6,000 and $1,450 October wins respectively.

Sports betting is here

Last Thursday, Penn National was approved to begin taking bets from the public on a limited basis, signaling the start of the Pennsylvania sports betting industry. Five other casinos have been approved to open their own books, with Valley Forge awaiting the go-ahead from the Gaming Control Board.

Once other state casinos begin opening their sportsbooks, and especially when they start offering betting via mobile apps, we expect that fantasy operators not specifically named DraftKings or FanDuel will struggle. The two DFS giants will likely integrate fantasy contests (as much as they can) into their sports betting platforms in PA, as they do in NJ, allowing for easy crossover between the two verticals.

In either case, it almost goes without saying that once revenue starts pouring in from sports betting, profits from DFS will likely be just a drop in the overall bucket.

Total October 2018 fantasy revenue

SiteMonth TotalTax% of Total
DraftKings$1,545,151.83$231,772.7753.23%
FanDuel$1,249,989.98$187,498.5043.06%
Sportshub$41,571.73$6,235.761.43%
DRAFT$36,592.23$5,488.831.26%
Yahoo! Fantasy$22,117.96$3,317.690.76%
FantasyDraft$5,979.67$896.950.21%
Boom Fantasy$1,459.57$218.940.05%
Full Time Fantasy$-$-0.00%
FFPC$-$-0.00%
FastPick$-$-0.00%
Totals$2,902,862.97$435,429.45

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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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