Betting volume at Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks in September was the second-most all-time for the state, nearly hitting $580 million for just the second time. A spike in interest was inevitable during the first full month of football, but the surge in both sports betting and online casino gambling — which produced more than $110 million in revenue — is indicative of an industry that continues to grow and mature, according to PlayPennsylvania, which tracks regulated online gaming and sports betting in the state.
“Nothing stirs the sports betting drink like football, even when the Steelers and the Eagles get off to slow starts,” said Katie Kohler, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Penn State made a difference in boosting interest, which certainly helps. The bottom line is every sportsbook wants a strong start to the football season, and that is exactly what Pennsylvania’s industry got in September.”
Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks drew $578.8 million in wagers in September, according to official data released Tuesday. September’s volume was up 25.1% from $462.8 million in September 2020 and up 66.1% from $348.5 million in August.
Gross sports betting revenue nearly hit an all-time high, falling just short of the record $49.3 million in revenue generated in January. Operators generated $48.1 million in gross revenue in September, up 163.2% from $18.3 million in September 2020 and up 90.1% from $25.3 million in August. That created $28.3 million in taxable revenue, generating $10.2 million in state taxes and local share assessments.
Growth has been relentless since legal sports betting launched in Pennsylvania in 2018, and it has only accelerated this year. Through the first nine months of 2021, bettors have placed $4.3 billion in wagers, or 45.6% of the $9.4 billion wagered in Pennsylvania since sports betting opened in November 2018. Operators have generated $340.4 million in gross sports betting revenue this year on those bets, or 47.0% of the $724.5 million in revenue produced since sports betting began.
“Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks are in a position to generate more in wagering this fall than the $1.5 billion that was bet in all of 2019,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayPennsylvania.com. “The industry will in all likelihood continue to grow in the months ahead, gaining steam in October with baseball’s postseason and the opening of the NBA season. Sports betting should produce some eye-popping numbers over the next few months.”
Online sportsbooks accepted $527.4 million in wagers in September, representing 91.1% of the state’s total handle. FanDuel claimed 34.8% of the online market with $183.7 million in wagering, up from $135.7 million in August. Revenue rose to $21.2 million in September from $5.7 million in August, which produced $5.0 million in state and local taxes. DraftKings was second with $164.7 million in wagers, capturing 31.2% of the online market. Those bets yielded $5.1 million in gross revenue.
Penn National’s Barstool-branded app celebrated its first anniversary by attracting $52.8 million in wagers in September, the third-most in the state. Those bets produced $2.6 million in gross revenue. Since launching in September 2020, the Barstool app has generated $52.9 million in revenue on $647.7 million in bets.
The online leaders were followed by:
- BetMGM ($50.7 million handle, up from $28.4 million in August; $5.6 million GGR, up from $2.6 million)
- BetRivers ($19.8 million handle, up from $13.2 million; $3.0 million GGR, up from $882,274)
- Fox Bet ($15.2 million handle, up from $8.6 million; $1.2 million in GGR, up from $749,103)
- SugarHouse ($13.5 million handle, up from $10.3 million; $1.2 million in GGR, up from $692,350)
- Parx Casino ($12.0 million handle, up from $6.4 million; $1.0 million GGR, up from $713,282)
- Unibet ($7.3 million handle, up from $4.2 million; $511,171 GGR, up from $307,601)
- TwinSpires ($3.5 million handle, up from $2.3 million; $307,518 GGR, up from $147,448)
- Caesars ($2.4 million handle, up from $1.2 million; $219,829 GGR, up from $73,785)
- Betway ($1.0 million handle; up from $617,954; -$23,818 GGR, down from $18,818)
- Wind Creek ($921,828 handle, up from $521,601; $57,873 GGR, down from $78,195)
“Barstool hasn’t quite achieved the ‘world domination’ that founder Dave Portnoy proclaimed with the app launched, but it has performed well,” Gouker said. “No operator has seriously challenged the dominance of FanDuel and DraftKings yet. But Barstool has at least proven to be an important player in Pennsylvania.”
Retail sportsbooks drew $51.3 million in wagers in September, up from $48.7 million in September 2020 and from $30.4 million in August. Those wagers created $7.2 million in gross sports betting revenue, up from $5.1 million September 2020 and $3.3 million in August. Rivers Pittsburgh topped the retail market with $7.9 million in bets, topping Rivers Philadelphia’s $7.1 million handle.
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms produced $111.8 million in gross gaming revenue, the second-most all time in Pennsylvania and the seventh consecutive month with gross gaming revenue over $100 million. September’s revenue was up 61.3% from $69.4 million in September 2020 and up 8.4% from $103.2 million in August. The monthly revenue record for online casinos and poker is $113.8 million, set in May.
The win was whittled to $97.8 million in taxable revenue, which yielded $41.7 million in state and local taxes. Wagering at online casinos hit $3.5 billion in September, up from $3.2 billion in August.
“Online casinos have a symbiotic relationship with online sportsbooks,” Kohler said. “When sportsbooks do well it tends to lift the fortunes of online casinos, and vice versa. We saw that in action in September.”
Other highlights from September:
- Online casino and poker rooms generated $3.7 million in gross gaming revenue per day over the 30 days of September, up from $3.3 million per day in August.
- Penn National, which includes the DraftKings, BetMGM, Barstool, and Hollywood casinos, topped the market with $43.0 million in gross revenue. Rivers Philadelphia, which includes SugarHouse, Borgata, and BetRivers casinos, was second with $31.1 million.
- Poker generated $2.9 million in revenue. Mount Airy/PokerStars topped operators with $2.0 million in revenue.