According to an estimate by PlayPennsylvania, the revenue from retail and online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania has risen in May, but lost out on about $275 million in potential bets. Also, the gamblers turned to online casinos and poker rooms in record numbers.
“May was another challenging month for Pennsylvania’s gaming industry, but it appears that it will be the last month of online casinos and poker rooms being the only bearer of good news. The casinos that have recently reopened appear to be experiencing relatively strong traffic, and sports bettors are finding increasingly more to bet on. Recovery for the entire industry will be a long road, but there are reasons for optimism,” Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, said.
Online sportsbooks generated $77.5 million in wagers in May, up 68.4% from April’s $46 million handle. But Pennsylvania sportsbooks would have accepted more than $350 million in a more typical May, according to PlayNJ.
May’s handle yielded $4.8 million in gross revenue, up from $3.2 million in April, and $1.6 million in state taxes.
“A normal menu of sports would likely mean an almost instant recovery for online sportsbooks, though we may still be a few months from that happening. Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks have been savvy in keeping their customers engaged with sports well outside the mainstream. That will only help when things begin to return to normal,” Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, said.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino topped the market with $29.6 million, up from $19 million in April. Those bets fueled $2.5 million in taxable revenue, up from $1.3 million. DraftKings at The Meadows generated a $21.8 million handle, up from $12.6 million.
Online casinos and poker rooms set a fresh record with $55.9 million in gross revenue, up 29.7% from $43.1 million in April.
A remarkable $1.8 billion was bet on online table games and slots in May, up from $1.4 billion in April. Operators, though, were still out of the $286.1 million land-based casinos generated in May 2019.
“As welcome as the online revenue has been, it can’t come close to replacing what was lost with the shutdown of land-based casinos. So far early signs are good for Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos, but they are still navigating diminished capacity and uncertain demand as they reopen. For that reason, online casino games and poker will remain critical in bridging revenue gaps as Pennsylvania casinos recover,” Cross said.
Rivers-Philadelphia led the online casino market with $17.6 million in revenue on $641.3 million in wagers, up from $13.7 million in revenue on $477 million in wagers in April. DraftKings enjoyed a strong debut of its online casino under the Penn National license. After launching on May 1, DraftKings helped boost Penn National to $9 million in revenue on $313.4 million in wagers from $4.6 million in revenue and $122.2 million in wagers in April.
“DraftKings’ online casino is a well-designed product, and bettors obviously reacted positively. FanDuel and DraftKings are the dominant players in the state, and their dominance will only grow as their online casinos grow and sports betting returns,” Gouker said.