Pennsylvania gaming revenues fall in December, but online betting softens the blow

Pennsylvania gaming revenues fall in December, but online betting softens the blow

  • Rege Behe
January 20, 2021 10:44 AM
  • Other

Without igaming and online sports betting, December would have been an even bleaker month for Pennsylvania casino operators.

With casinos ordered closed by the state starting Dec. 12 due to a surge in COVID-19, total gaming revenues fell 42.2% to $168.7 million during the month. But customers still had access to igaming and online sports betting, which helped mitigate the damage.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Tuesday igaming revenue for December was $71.6 million, an increase of 35.4% from the previous monthly high of $59.7 million reached in October. December’s igaming revenue also was an increase of 574% from the $10.6 million earned a year earlier.

Sports wagers in Pennsylvania, fueled by the mobile app with casinos closed, was a single-month record of $548.6 million, 11.2% higher than the $491.9 million collected a month earlier and eclipsing the previous record of $525 million in October.

Total revenue from sports betting in December was $34.1 million, an increase of 199.4% from the $11.4 million accrued in December 2019.

Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said FanDuel and DraftKings combined for roughly 63% of the mobile sports wagers in Pennsylvania during December. Barstool Sports, operated by Penn National Gaming, as 13% of the market while BetMGM, which launched Dec. 18, generated a 2.3% market share.

Pennsylvania also dropped behind New Jersey in traditional casino gambling revenue in 2020, eight years after it passed New Jersey to become the nation’s No. 2 gambling revenue state behind Nevada.

Pennsylvania’s 13 operating casinos, fantasy sports operators, and truck stops took in $2.65 billion in gross revenue in 2020, compared to $3.4 billion taken in by 12 casinos in 2019, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said. That was a drop of 22%.

Not including sports wagering, fantasy sports or truck stops, Pennsylvania’s casinos drew $2.4 billion, a drop of 26% from $3.3 billion.

Pennsylvania’s casinos racked up nearly 1,500 closure days, or 33% of the days the casinos would have operated normally, the gaming control board said.

During December, Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville brought in $23.5 million, the most igaming revenue in the state, and a nearly 1,300% increase from the prior year.

Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia led all casinos in the state with a sports wagering handle of $209.2 million for the month, with total revenues of $7.3 million. Hollywood Casino at Penn National had the highest sports betting total revenue, $13.9 million, with a total handle of $72.6 million.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National was the only casino in the state to post an increase in total revenue in December 2020. The $42.3 million was the most in Pennsylvania for the month and an increase by 105.2% from the $20.7 million brought in over the same period in 2019. Hollywood Casino’s growth was due to the previously cited boost in its igaming revenues.

Associated Press contributed to this story

Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at rbehe@cdcgaming.com. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.