Pennsylvania Sports Betting Handle Nears $200 Million in September

September football propelled Pennsylvania to new sports betting heights, but the betting volume paled in comparison to New Jersey's.
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Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry soared to new heights in September.

According to figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the Keystone State retail and online/mobile sportsbooks took a total of $194.5 mm in wagers, generating $19.3 mm in revenue.

Online/mobile accounted for the lion’s share with $158.15 mm in handle and $13.71 mm in revenue, though only $9.26 mm was taxable thanks to the books writing off promotional credits.

Retail books generated $5.65 mm in winnings off of $36.35 mm in handle.

Best month to date

Pennsylvania’s first retail sportsbook opened in November 2018, but it took until May for online/mobile wagering to begin — and it’s been a relatively slow rollout in terms of options.

September’s handle and revenue are both records for fledgling Keystone industry.

Still, Pennsylvania’s market pales in comparison to neighboring New Jersey, which saw $445.6 mm in handle and $37.9 mm in revenue last month. Garden State online/mobile handle was $374.2 mm compared to $71.3 mm for the brick-and-mortars.

New Jersey has a significantly smaller population, but it has had online/mobile for longer, thus creating greater awareness. However, Pennsylvania’s industry is hampered by a 36% effective tax rate on sports betting revenue. Pennsylvania sportsbooks paid $5.35 mm in taxes last month.

The tax rate is one reason why former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this week called Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry a “rolling dumpster fire” at a prominent gambling conference.

Online casino

Pennsylvania’s online casinos saw $94 mm in slot handle, which generated $4.4 mm in revenue. More than 50% of that goes back to Pennsylvania, just like the slots at b&m casinos.

Online table games saw $46.8 mm in bets, and the platforms held onto $900k of it in the form of winnings. Internet table games are taxed at a 16% effective rate.

Combined with the $158.15 mm in online/mobile sports betting handle, online gamblers in Pennsylvania bet $298.9 mm last month. Online casino gaming kicked off in July.

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