Pennsylvania sports betting operators have high hopes for online sports betting and it’s easy to see why.
One look at the sports betting figures coming out of the neighboring state of New Jersey tells most of this story.
Even though initial expectations were tempered when only retail PA sportsbooks launched under a tax-scheme most operators claimed would make it difficult to compete, revenue figures have been disappointing.
A look at PA sports betting revenue
Since the state’s first sportsbook went live in November 2018, seven more PA sports betting operations have launched at various PA casinos and two off-track betting parlors. Currently, legal PA sportsbooks include:
- Hollywood Casino
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- SugarHouse Casino
- Rivers Casino
- Parx Casino
- Valley Forge Casino
- South Philadelphia Turf Club
- Valley Forge Turf Club
PA sportsbooks did manage to take in a record $44.52 million in bets and post $5.51 million in revenue in March 2019. However, that came during the NCAA Tournament. March Madness has emerged as the largest betting event in the US.
Record numbers were expected and PA sports betting operators certainly came back down to earth in April.
Handle dropped to $36.7 million and revenue to $4.2 million for PA sports gambling operators last month.
It was still the second largest month for PA sports betting in 2019. PA sports betting operators posted $32 million in handle and $2.6 million in revenue in January. Plus, $31.5 million in handle and $1.94 million in revenue in February.
However, the numbers coming out of the smaller state of New Jersey have dwarfed those in PA, explaining the disappointment.
NJ sports betting numbers
NJ sports betting’s record March included $372 million in handle and more than $31 million in revenue.
Even in the down month of April 2019, New Jersey’s retail sportsbooks posted $59.7 million in handle and $4.6 million in revenue. Plus, there’s the matter of an additional $253.9 million in handle online and the other $16.5 million in NJ sports betting revenue generated from that.
These are the kind of numbers that have Pennsylvania sports betting operators feeling rather optimistic.
NJ online sports betting creates optimism
Since DraftKings Sportsbook came online in August 2018, another 16 NJ sports betting apps and websites have launched online in the Garden State.
Plus, the percentage of the money wagered in the state via online betting apps has gone up every month since August. As you can see from the April numbers, it now sits above 80 percent.
The sports betting figures coming out of New Jersey tell a story of success. Since launch, NJ sportsbooks have taken in more than $2.6 billion in bets, generating better than $178.5 million in revenue.
The sports betting figures coming out of Pennsylvania are more the tale of a damsel in distress. Since launch, PA sportsbooks have taken in just $162.4 million in bets, generating under $17 million in revenue.
There is still hope for PA sports betting
NJ sportsbook more than doubled both those numbers in the month of March 2019 alone. But there is hope.
Regulators are taking a look at the first of a group of PA sports betting apps in May 2019. These PA online sports betting operations could get off the ground by early June.
If online sports betting can do even half for PA what it has done for NJ, increasing business by additional 40%, that would mean upwards of $240 million more in handle and $25 million in revenue generated over the next six months.
They’re not New Jersey numbers, but they’re reason enough for PA sports betting operators to have high hopes for online sports betting.