Pennsylvania’s sports betting handle surged by 24% in October 2019, and reaching a new high of $3.267 billion in 2019 from both table games and slots at the authorized 12 casinos. The total for 2018 was just $3.249 billion.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole noted that an additional $144 million in 2019 was generated by the new types of gambling unleashed by Pennsylvania’s legalization of online casino gaming, sports betting, fantasy sports, and video lottery terminals installed at truck stops.
Pennsylvania takes 34 percent of the sports gambling revenue in taxes, with an additional two percent tax going to the local municipalities where the sportsbooks are located. Overall, legalized sports betting will benefit the residents of the state.
The numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board revealed that the increase was driven by the huge number of people drawn to the FanDuel Sportsbook website and app. FanDuel and their local partner, Valley Forge Casino drew $113.9 million in wagers just in October, 2019, which was nearly a 34% increase over September and represented more than 57% of the online bets in the state.
Sports betting in Pennsylvania put more than 82% of their wagers into playing online at the five available sites rather than at the 12 retail locations. The 12 retail locations in the Keystone State include 10 casinos and two Philadelphia off-track betting sites connected to Parx Casino.
Pennsylvanians wagered nearly $1.5 billion through online sports betting in 2019. While its a good start, Pennsylvania’s sports betting handle still trails far behind the New Jersey’s handle of nearly $4.6 billion for 2019. However, the Keystone State is closing the gap with the launch of both DraftKings and Unibet, among others.
Betting continues to grow at the 12 retail sites
While online sites and apps, such as FanDuel, continue to be the focal point of most sports betting, Pennsylvania’s retail betting also grew. That growth was propped up with the opening of the sportsbooks operating within the Mount Airy Casino Resort and the Mohegan Sun Pocono, plus the bricks-and-mortar Meadows Racetrack & Casino sportsbook.
October was an incredible month for sports betting in the state because of the NBA, NFL, NCAA football, and the NHL were all hosting games. November was also strong, with NCAA basketball taking the place of baseball.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Valley Forge Casino Surges to the Top
The Valley Forge Casino Resort’s FanDuel Sportsbook that opened in March 2019, has been wildly successful. It has a roomy 1,800-square-feet and can seat more than 30 people. As expected, the FanDuel sportsbook at the Valley Forge quickly rose to the top to become the leader in sports betting in the Keystone state. The FanDuel sportsbook at the Valley Forge Casino Resort totaled more than $23 million in 2019.
FanDuel is synonymous with sports betting, particularly football. Many FanDuel users play daily fantasy games every minute of the day during the NFL season. FanDuel’s huge customer base and significant advertising funds for TV, radio, and online ads gave the Valley Forge sportsbook an immediate edge. This gave FanDuel a definite edge on the competition, especially the casino operators, whose customers tend to be older. Likewise, the brick-and-mortar casinos usually have less experience with online marketing than companies like FanDuel and DraftKings do.
The Future of Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
Overall, the future of sports betting in Pennsylvania looks very bright. As of January 2020, Pennsylvania has eight online sportsbooks as well as a dozen retail sportsbooks. That compares to just three retail sportsbooks and no online options at the beginning of 2019.
If the current pace of growth continues, the next full year of online and retail sports betting could lead to revenue of up to $6 billion in 2020. That would result in between $275 million and $350 million in revenue for the state.