Another $400M Month Brings PA To $4.7B In Record-Shattering 2021 Gaming Revenue

Sportsbooks did not do as well in December, but that didn't hold state back from record
record shattering

A strong December of online casino gaming and the addition of the state’s 16th brick-and-mortar casino during the month helped Pennsylvania finish an impressive year of gaming revenue in 2021.

Sports betting volume was down modestly from the month before, and the revenue from it even more so. Still, the $406.3 million from all gaming revenue in December resulted in the industry’s collective revenue surpassing $4.7 billion for the year, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported Thursday.

The $4,734,552,201 total, to be precise, exceeded the prior high of $3.41 billion in 2019 by 38.7%. In 2020, when COVID-19 concerns closed casinos for a third of the year and also diminished revenue in other ways, revenue totaled $2.65 billion.

With a blended tax rate that amounts to about 41% in Pennsylvania as the government’s share of the various types of revenue, taxes last year amounted to $1.93 billion, with most of that going to the state and a small percentage to local governments.

Sportsbooks did worse, bettors better

Sports betting handle, about 92% of it coming online, amounted to $750.4 million in December, down from $761.6 million in November and the record of $776.3 million in October.

Sportsbook revenue was down more dramatically, which has been the case in other states as well. The industry’s numbers in November generally consisted of high hold percentages that led to revenue records in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, with one factor being numerous upsets in NFL play that month.

In December, the 13 online sportsbooks and 17 retail ones collectively grossed $38 million from bettors compared to $84.9 million the month before. That equates to a hold percentage of 5.1%, less than half of what they kept from bettors in November.

After adjusting for $19.1 million in promotional credits given to customers, which are not taxed, sportsbook operators claimed $18.8 million in taxable revenue.

FanDuel widened its gap as longtime market leader in December after DraftKings had closed in on it substantially in November. FanDuel’s handle amounted to $246.8 million, representing 35.6% of the $693.3 million online handle statewide, and the sportsbook reported gross revenue of $13.7 million, $7.6 million of which was taxable.

DraftKings’ handle fell 4.8% from the month before to $204.7 million, or 29.5% of the market. Its gross revenue was $8.1 million and adjusted after-credits revenue $4.5 million.

BetMGM and Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook repeated a pattern of November where the former sees more betting action and the latter makes more money from it. BetMGM’s handle was up 11% to $83.5 million (12% of the overall market), yet it reported an actual net loss for the month of $33,107 after giving away $5.2 million in credits. While Barstool’s handle fell 17.3% to $61.4 million, it grossed $3.9 million in revenue, of which $2.4 million was taxable.

Combined, the top four online sportsbooks represented 86% of the state’s betting volume.

$100M a nice target for iCasino revenue

Their $102.1 million in revenue for December represented a bounce-back month for the 17 online casino sites, which had slipped to $93.9 million in November after October’s record of $102.9 million. Anything over $100 million monthly has come to signify a strong showing for the industry.

Of the monthly revenue, $68.8 million came from slots play, $30.3 million from table games, and $3.1 million from poker play. The latter amount on the four poker sites was the most seen since August, as $3 million monthly has come to represent a benchmark goal for the iPoker sector.

The gaming board does not break down individual revenue among each of the 17 iCasino operators as it does for the sportsbooks, making it hard to distinguish which sites would be the most responsible for the gains in December. Collectively, those that are either operated by Penn National or in partnership with it claimed $40.5 million in revenue, while those connected to Rivers Casino Philadelphia made $26.1 million during the month.

While the iCasinos appear in late 2021 to have plateaued in the range of about $90 million to $100 million in total monthly revenue, that’s a big step up from where they were a year ago. Their revenue in December was 42.6% above the $71.6 million of December 2020.

Adding casinos makes up for losses elsewhere

With the Dec. 22 opening of the Hollywood Casino Morgantown mini-casino, the state now has 16 brick-and-mortar venues. The opening of three in 2021 on top of one in 2020 have helped maintain the statewide total for retail slots and table games revenue, even though some of the longer-established properties have seen decline as a result of COVID, cannibalization from the newcomers, or other factors.

The 16 casinos’ gaming revenue totaled $278.9 million last month, compared to $268.4 million the month before. The figure was just $59.3 million in December 2020, when casinos were closed the majority of the month, and it was $265.6 million in the pre-COVID-comparable month of December 2019, when 12 casinos were operating.

Hollywood Casino Morgantown, Penn National’s property located in Berks County, made $2.8 million while open just about a third of the month. That was part of $37 million earned in December by the four casinos that did not exist two years ago.

For the 12 casinos that were open in both December 2019 and December 2021, they saw revenue of $241.9 million last month, compared to the $265.6 million two years earlier.

Photo: Shutterstock


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