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Pennsylvania Online Casinos Warming Up With $3.4 Million In August Revenue

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Online gambling revenue surged in August for the first three operators to market in Pennsylvania.

Hollywood, Parx and SugarHouse all saw gross revenue unsurprisingly increase several times over the previous month’s numbers. July 15 was the go-live date for PA online casinos, so sites were only active for half of that month.

Total wagers and revenue should have essentially doubled in August, even if daily averages remained constant. The actual numbers are much better than that, though, with combined revenue more than quadrupling to $3.4 million.

Data comes from the monthly report published by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

PA online gambling highlights — August 2019

A lot changed in Pennsylvania from July to August, as you’d expect for such a new market. There’s no shortage of information to digest as a result, but here are some of the details that stick out:

  • Slots are the biggest moneymaker overall, even factoring in the higher taxes for that vertical. Between the three operators, slots accounted for 74% of gross revenue and 68% revenue after taxes in August — and a whopping 87% of tax revenue from online casinos.
  • The combined revenue of $3,428,640 represents a 322% increase over July, but that still makes Pennsylvania’s market less than 1/10th the size of New Jersey’s. There’s plenty of room to grow (and for other operators to enter), and the Commonwealth should ultimately support the larger of the two industries in the years to come.
  • Margins increased across the board. Gross revenue for slots and tables in July represented just 2.2% and 1.2% of respective wagers placed, rising to 4.1% and 1.8% in August.

It’s a fairly close race between the three operators for early market share.

SugarHouse is the largest — despite launching a couple of days after its competitors — while Hollywood is, so far, the smallest. Though the rankings didn’t change from month to month, the separation between the three narrowed significantly in August.

PA online gambling revenue breakdown

  • PA online casinos: $3.43 million
    • Slots: $2.53 million
    • Tables: $903,000
    • Poker: $0

Because Pennsylvania is a brand-new market still filling out, it’s hard to say whether these numbers are good or bad.

Even accounting for the fact that operators were only active in the second half of July, per-day revenues have more than doubled. That’s never a bad thing. On the other hand, the market would have to double in size four more times before per-capita numbers resemble those in New Jersey.

Both of those facts are reflective of a market that got off to a slow start due to regulatory and technical challenges, but it is starting to spool up to speed.

That doesn’t tell us where the market is likely to end up in the long run, however. That won’t be apparent until a few more operators are live, PA online poker is established and growth starts to stabilize — all of which won’t likely be until the first quarter of next year at the earliest.

The good news for the state is that the high tax rate on slots – 54% versus 16% for tables – hasn’t deterred players from enjoying the games (or operators from promoting them). Slots were more popular than table games at launch, and they’re growing faster.

PA online sports betting revenue

  • PA sports betting (total): $9.89 million
  • PA online sports betting: $6.31 million

Pennsylvania sports betting has been around considerably longer than online casino gambling, launching late last year and going online over the summer. With that headstart, it’s no surprise that sports betting currently beats slots and tables for revenue.

PA sportsbooks recorded $109 million in wagers and $9.9 million in revenue in August, with nearly 75% of that handle coming via online/mobile channels.

The dynamic duo of Valley Forge and FanDuel Sportsbook are the early leaders, though SugarHouse isn’t terribly far behind. In fact, SugarHouse is the most profitable online brand in the market across all verticals combined.

Read more about the PA sports betting numbers at Legal Sports Report.

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Who’s who in PA online gambling?

SugarHouse is the largest operator for slots and overall revenue, accounting for half of all slots wagers placed in the state and almost half of the after-tax revenues.

Its action was balanced between slots and casino at launch, though the former made up the lion’s share of revenue. Slots have grown explosively for SugarHouse since then, though, with revenue more than quintupling. Its total wagers and revenue declined slightly on a per-day basis in August.

Conversely, Parx launched with much stronger support for table games.

It saw more than 70% of its online wagers come from tables, which is lopsided in the “wrong” direction. That’s down from 76% in July, but Parx has also seen the biggest improvement in margins among the competition. Its revenue more than doubled per dollar wagered in August, holding steady at a 32% share of the total market revenue.

Hollywood is by far the smallest of the three so far, but it’s the fastest-growing.

Its gross revenue soared 400% in August, and its PA market share grew from 16% to 20%. Hollywood is also the most heavily focused on slots, with these accounting for more than 90% of its pre-tax revenue. It sees less than 10% of all online table wagers statewide.

Detailed numbers by operator/product

- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for Online Poker Report, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
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