Sounding Like A Broken Record: PA Needs Online Sports Betting

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The state of Pennsylvania has reported yet another month of retail-only sports wagering revenue, and the numbers, as one might expect, are nothing to get excited about.

According to figures made public Thursday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state’s eight brick-and-stick sportsbooks took $36.76 mm in handle in April, winning $4.22 mm off of gamblers. The casinos paid a whopping $1.51 mm in taxes off that revenue.

The most recent sportsbook opening came in March, so April had all eight books in operation for the full month. Here’s a look at their results, according to the PGCB.

Casino Handle Revenue Tax
Rivers Casino $8,159,827 $871,753 $313,831
SugarHouse Casino $7,920,797 $781,163 $281,219
Parx Casino $6,850,305 $907,298 $326,627
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course $3,923,499 $361,249 $130,050
Valley Forge Casino Resort $3,050,424 $379,731 $136,703
Harrah’s Philadelphia $2,718,595 $282,740 $101,786
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook $2,603,808 $441,692 $159,009
Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook $1,541,891 $195,856 $70,508
Statewide Total $36,769,145 $4,221,482 $1,519,734

Handle in March was $44.52 mm, generating $5.51 mm in revenue.

The $36.76 mm in April handle was the state’s second-best month to date. Same goes for the $4.22 mm in revenue. The first book opened in November.

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PA’s sports betting handle through April was $162.39 mm, generating $16.81 mm in taxable revenue.

That represents a hold percentage of 10.3%, significantly higher than in NV. Over the past year in the Silver State, the books held 6.0% of the wagers.

Mobile in the pipeline

Online operations from at least one book are expected to begin this month. It’s known that Parx plans to launch in early June. Others should launch this summer.

In October 2017, Pennsylvania legalized sports betting, including online/mobile. It’s now approaching a bewildering two years without those games in the equation.

In neighboring NJ, 81% of the handle last month came over the internet.

If PA had had online betting last month and experienced the same breakdown, handle in PA would have been more than $190 mm. Total NJ handle in April was $313.7 mm. PA has the potential to overtake NJ’s market, but it won’t happen quickly. NJ launched sports betting in June 2018.

PA operators are hindered by a 36% effective tax rate, and a hard one skin per operator limit.

The state also regulates daily fantasy sports, but April revenue for those games isn’t out yet.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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