PokerStars makes an early contribution to PA online gambling revenue

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Revenue On The Rise, Now With Poker!

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November was a big month for the fledgling Pennsylvania online gambling industry. Combined revenues for slots and table games have risen every month since launch, so naturally, the last one was the biggest to date.

Table games saw a particularly big surge. Official numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board show that table revenue doubled, while gross revenue and tax dollars nearly tripled.

The Keystone State also got its first online poker site in November, along with two new online casinos.

PA online gambling highlights – November 2019

The growth of PA online gambling in November was underpinned by a few key highlights and trends:

  • Most metrics saw the biggest month-to-month gains to date. Gross revenue nearly doubled, while total taxes collected increased by 51%.
  • Even excluding the newest operators, Pennsylvania’s growth is outpacing New Jersey’s. Gross online gaming revenue in PA is now roughly one-fifth of NJ.
  • Poker made a mark on the report even with a single operator, representing a 20% share of total revenue in its first month.
  • Table games have recently taken off for reasons we’ll examine below. Gross revenue from the segment has nearly tripled since August, and most of those gains came in November.

Market share is no longer the even split that it was just after launch, either.

Rivers (SugarHouse) is now the top dog, followed closely by Mount Airy (PokerStars). Together they account for almost two-thirds of all online gambling revenue in PA, excluding sports betting. The rest is mostly split between Hollywood and Parx.

Newcomer Mohegan Sun is barely a blip on the revenue report the moment, though Unibet did launch mid-month.

PA online gambling revenue breakdown

August was the first full month of revenue for the state’s original three operators. It, therefore, serves as a useful point of comparison.

Total (Change since August / Change since October)

Total Revenue: $9.66 million (+182% / +95%)
Taxes Collected: $3.48 million (+131% / +51%)
Net Revenue: $6.18 million (+222% / +134%)

Slots: $5.09 million (+102% / +28%)
Taxes: $2.75 million
Revenue: $2.34 million

Table Games: $2.60 million (+188% / +169%)
Taxes: $415k
Revenue: $2.15 million

Poker: $1.97 million (N/A)
Taxes: $314k
Revenue: $1.66 million

 * : Taxes include state tax, CFA county grants, and local share assessment.

Digging into the numbers

Pennsylvania online gambling revenue grew $4.7 million in November, nearly doubling October’s record. There are a number of contributing factors.

First, there has been steady organic growth in the market since launch. This has come mostly in the form of slots revenue, which has consistently increased at a rate between 23% and 28% per month since August. Compounded, the growth has amounted to a doubling of gross slots revenue over three months.

What’s more, two new operators also launched in the state. PokerStars went live on Nov. 4 with both casino and poker, joining Fox Bet under the license of Mount Airy. Two weeks later, on Nov. 18, Unibet became the state’s fifth online casino in partnership with Mohegan Sun Pocono.

SugarHouse additionally added online blackjack on Oct. 23 — something its players were craving. Total wagers across its table games had been under $10 million monthly since launch, whereas blackjack added $20 million to that in October despite being live for just a week. Bets received climbed to a staggering $84 million in November.

PA sports betting revenue

The above figures don’t include sports betting, which also debuted this year. PA online sports betting remained more profitable in November than all other online verticals combined, but only by the thinnest of margins: $9,658,654 to $9,655,811.

Read more about sports betting revenue at PlayPennsylvania.

Who’s who in PA online gambling?

Mount Airy (PokerStars)

Mount Airy technically held second place in November in terms of gross revenue, but we’re going to put it first for a few reasons.

  • First, the launch of PokerStars was the biggest story of the month for PA online gambling — and by far the biggest of the year for US online poker.
  • Second, with a 31% share of gross revenue, it wasn’t far behind SugarHouse. Its hard launch only came a week into the month, so it will likely pull ahead in December.
  • Finally, only 12% of that revenue came from slots, so PokerStars is paying a lower effective tax rate than other operators.

PokerStars pulled in nearly $3 million in gross revenue in November, about two-thirds of that from poker. By contrast, PokerStars NJ pulled in less than half a million from online poker in the same month.

It can’t be overstated what a big success PokerStars PA has been so far, though that may be due in part to a lack of competition for the time being.

Rivers (SugarHouse)

The physical SugarHouse Casino renamed itself Rivers Philadelphia in late October, but the online brand remains SugarHouse for now. It was the November market leader in gross gaming revenue at $3.18 million, or 33% of the total for the state.

As mentioned above, its gains were largely due to the launch of online blackjack. That created nearly a tenfold increase in its bets taken and a fivefold increase in gross revenue for its table games. Even so, its total revenue is still split roughly two-thirds in favor of slots.

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Hollywood now the state’s third-place operator with a 19% share of gross revenue. It is, by far, the operator most heavily skewed toward slots, which now account for almost 90% of its total revenues.


Parx was the second-place site shortly after launch but has fallen behind Hollywood. In November, it held a 15% share of statewide gross revenues. However, slots made up less than a 60% share of those revenues. Furthermore, Parx is expected to launch a poker site at some point, putting it in a position to compete across all verticals.

Mohegan Sun (Unibet)

Mohegan Sun is a latecomer, and the Unibet brand is not yet well established in the US, in general. As a result, its gross revenues were under $150,000 in November — or just 1.3% of the state total. Since it launched mid-month, revenue should at least double in December, but its long-term potential in the market is hard to predict.

- 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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