Half a month’s worth of online casino action in Pennsylvania is on the books, and the results so far are modest.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Friday that the three online casinos in operation for about half of July generated $812,306 in revenue from slots and table games, off of $49,248,072 in wagers received. Peer-to-peer online poker isn’t yet available in the Keystone State. Internet slot revenue was $517,712 (63.7%), while table games generated the remainder with $294,594.
Online gamblers bet $23,763,885 at the online slots, while wagering $25,484,187 at the online tables. Combined with July’s online sports wagering handle of $38,998,648, the PA casino industry’s total online gambling handle during the month was $88,246,720. The first online sportsbook (of which there are four now) launched in late May. It’s been a slow roll-out so far.
Tax revenue generated from internet casino gaming play during July was $326,700. The casinos pay a whopping 54% tax rate on online slots and 16% on table games (36% on sports). Why such a high tax rate on slots? The state put it bluntly at a regulatory hearing last week: casino authorization for the state was a “means to an end.” The end is property tax relief.
The online casino options, so far, are limited. For example, at the SugarHouse Online Casino, there are about 40 slots and a few roulette games. The Parx Online Casino has a game library of 46 games, with just one blackjack and three roulette offerings. The Hollywood Online Casino is the leader currently with a game library of more than 70 offerings, including seven non-slot games.
Considering the relative lack of online table games, it’s noteworthy that non-slot titles were able to capture about 51.7% of the iCasino handle and 36.3% of July’s revenue.
Revenue by operator
SugarHouse, which also has an online/mobile sportsbook, took the lion’s share of the July iCasino revenue with $422,796. Slots generated $261,869, while table games accounted for $160,927.
The iCasino’s handle breakdown was $10,082,439 for slots and $5,791,851 for the house-banked tables.
Like SugarHouse, Parx had online sports betting before launching online slots and table games, and it saw $260,124 in iCasino win last month. Its slots-table games breakdown was much closer, with online slots generating $139,903 and the tables grabbing $120,221. The Parx Online Casino’s handle was $19,257,852 for table games, and $9,983,108 for slots. Parx is currently the only online casino in Pennsylvania to offer a (mediocre) blackjack title.
Parx launched its online sportsbook about a month after SugarHouse did.
Hollywood, which only has retail sports betting, generated $129,386 in gross internet gaming win during July, of which $115,940 came from slots and just $13,446 from tables. Slots accounted for $3,698,338 in handle, while only $434,484 was bet at its tables.
Hollywood was likely hindered by a lack of a deposit bonus, which both of its competitors have.
More online sportsbooks and casinos are expected to launch in the coming weeks and months, including peer-to-peer online poker. There’s no official timeline for any additional launches.
Twelve entities have been licensed to operate online casino gaming, while the state has awarded 11 sports betting certificates. Pennsylvania’s online gambling industry is still in its infancy.
An open question remains how large can the Keystone market become with its high tax rates. The casinos have also complained about competition from the state’s iLottery.