PA Overtakes NJ As Online Poker Champ In First Month — With A Single Site

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It’s hard to know whether $1.965 million is a number to be excited about. All that we know for sure is that number — the revenue for PokerStars in November, its first month of operation as a regulated site in Pennsylvania — is enough to immediately make PA the No. 1 online poker state in the country.

Whether that’s something to brag about is a matter of interpretation. Maybe it’s an impressive distinction, especially given that it was achieved with a single online poker site that didn’t begin its soft launch until Nov. 4. Or maybe, given the state of legal online poker in the U.S., it’s akin to being the most intellectual of all the Kardashians.

According to Tuesday’s release from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Mount Airy Casino Resort, PokerStars’ land-based partner in the Keystone State, generated $1,965,494 in online poker revenue from Nov. 4-30, the first three days of which were a testing phase with limited hours. That works out to just under $73K per day.

In New Jersey, where there are three active poker sites (including PokerStars), total revenue for all 30 days of November was $1.49 mm, just under $50K per day and about $16.5K per site per day.

Only four states currently regulate online poker — Nevada and Delaware are the others — and while Pennsylvania probably took a bit of business away from its neighbor to the east, the reality is that New Jersey online poker numbers have been on a steady decline for years. Back in 2013, the first full month of online poker in the Garden State saw a single operator produce $1.7 mm in revenue. That doubled to $3.4 mm with two operators the following month … and has slowly trended down ever since.

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So the debut of online poker in PA was slightly superior to the debut in NJ, but of course, Pennsylvania has nearly 4 million more residents. Excitement over the introduction of online poker probably goosed the November numbers a bit, while a lack of publicity surrounding the soft launch pulled in the opposite direction.

Ultimately, is $1.965 mm a strong number? Whether your answer is yes or no, expect a big bump in December, thanks to the PACOOP tournament series and PokerStars’ decision to keep boosting guarantees.

Online gaming growing overall

Powered by that nearly $2 mm in poker revenue, Mount Airy debuted in the “internet casino-type gaming revenue” rankings at No. 2, adding about $1.03 mm in online slots and table games revenue to land at $2.99 mm total.

That trails only Rivers Casino Philadelphia’s PlaySugarhouse site, which improved from a PA-best $2.53 mm in October to $3.17 mm in November. Rivers was tops in the state in both online slots ($2.09 mm) and table games ($1.09 mm).

Hollywood Casino’s online revenue was fairly flat at $1.87 mm, after posting a $1.8 mm figure in October. Parx Casino enjoyed the biggest percentage increase in November, from $610K to nearly $1.5 mm, a 245% improvement. Newcomer Mohegan Sun Pocono, partnered with Unibet, debuted in fifth place with $131K in revenue.

Total non-sports-betting online gaming revenue for the month was $9.66 mm, producing $3.48 mm in tax revenue. For comparison, New Jersey’s more mature online casino industry cranked out $49.1 mm in revenue in November, translating to $7.4 mm in taxes.

Total online sports betting revenue for the month in Pennsylvania came in at $11.43 mm, with Valley Forge Casino Resort’s FanDuel Sportsbook producing almost half of that.

DFS dips

DraftKings and FanDuel are still the dominant forces in daily fantasy sports, combining for a ridiculous 98.6% of the $2.98 mm in DFS revenue in Pennsylvania in November. DK led the way with $1.65 mm, and FD produced $1.29 mm.

But both companies, and the entire DFS business in the state, are down compared to November 2018. DraftKings slipped by 5.46% and FanDuel was down 9.46%, while DFS revenues overall fell by 8.02%.

Fantasy Draft, in fact, lost money in November, reporting revenues of -$3,896. The only DFS company to improve its fortunes year-over-year was Boom Fantasy, although the uptick from $604 in revenue to $903 a year later is not exactly what you’d call a game-changer.

Photo by Shutterstock.com

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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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