PA Online Casino And Poker Revenue Hits Record High In August

Pennsylvania online casinos resumed their pattern of record-setting in August.

The market turned one year old in July. Its growth had been uninterrupted for the first 11 months. However, it hit a bump in the road in June, when the state’s land-based casinos reopened.

The upward trend resumed immediately thereafter, but the dip was significant. July revenue, though up from June, was still well below the record set in May. Now, the state’s iGaming operators have cleared that high-water mark once more, albeit only by a narrow margin.

All told, online casinos and poker rooms earned a total of $55.9 million in August, compared to $54.4 million in July. The August total beat May’s by a mere $103,738.

Operators’ share of the revenue amounted to $31.9 million of that, while $24 million went to state, county, and local taxes.

August was also the first month for which we can do a year-on-year comparison, as August 2019 was the state’s first full month of operation. Total online gaming revenue has multiplied by a factor of 16 in that time. Some of that comes from new operators. However, combined revenues for the original three — Parx, Rivers, and Penn National — also grew about eightfold, even excluding estimated revenue for DraftKings, which operates on Penn’s license.

Data comes from the latest report published by the PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

PA online gambling highlights: August 2020

Here’s what those PA online gambling trends look like by the numbers:

  • Online revenue from slots, casino games, and poker totaled $55,942,525, an increase of $1,590,376 over July.
  • The relative position of the top three licensees remained unchanged. Rivers, the leader in the state, increased its online casino revenue to $17,141,834.
  • Total taxes were $24,010,433, with slots contributing $21,400,525 of that.

Despite setting a new revenue record, Pennsylvania has seen growth start to slow down once more. The increase in total revenue from July to August was just under 3%, compared to 9% in the preceding month.

Rivers didn’t merely hang on to its market leadership position but expanded it significantly. It saw the biggest revenue increase of any major operator at 10.9%. In percentage terms, Wind Creek did better, but only because July was a partial month for the newcomer, and its revenue was close to zero.

Second-place licensee Penn National did nearly as well, increasing its revenue 9.7%. Combined, these two accounted for all the growth of the market and then some. All other operators’ combined revenues actually declined 4%. Rivers contributed 30.6% of iGaming revenue in the state and Penn a further 21.1%.

On the other end of things, Mount Airy and its partner PokerStars had a brutal month across all verticals. Its slots revenue fell 24%, while its table games dropped 19% and poker was down 9%.

In July, only about $150,000 separated Mount Airy from the third-place partnership of Valley Forge and FanDuel. Now the gap is much larger, at $6.9 million versus $8.7 million, and Mount Airy has actually fallen to fifth place, behind Parx, which held steady at $7.5 million.

Wind Creek’s revenue for its first full month was $213,648. Barring a big increase in coming months, that means it’s fighting for crumbs with Presque Isle Downs and its partner BetAmerica at the bottom of the heap. August’s new market entry, PlayLive!, will likely end up in the same boat. Revenue for its first partial month was just $25,091, similar to what Wind Creek made in the final days of July.

PA online gambling revenue breakdown

Revenue / ∆ Monthly / ∆ Yearly:

  • Total: $55.9 million / +3% / +1,532%
  • Slots: $39.6 million / 0% / +1,469%
  • Table games: $13.6 million / +14% / + 1,404%
  • Poker: $2.7 million / -9% / N/A

Breaking revenue down by verticals, August repeated the same pattern as July. Slots held very close to steady, while essentially all of the market’s growth was the result of table games.

Here, too, it was the top two licensees driving the trend. Rivers increased its table game revenue 26%, while its slots grew only 9%. Penn National saw an even more dramatic difference, with table games up 54%, while slots actually fell 3%.

The recent addition of DraftKings as a skin may have contributed in Penn’s case. Its rival, FanDuel, which targets a similar clientele, has close to a 50/50 revenue split between tables and slots, and it’s probably a fair assumption that DraftKings performs similarly in that regard. Conversely, traditional casino brands like Parx and Caesars emphasize their slots vertical heavily.

One implication of the growing importance of table games is that operator revenue is currently growing faster than tax revenue because the rate Pennsylvania charges on slots is so high. After-tax earnings were up 4.1% in August, while tax contributions rose only 1.4%.

Online poker in PA has had a rocky road. Revenue surged in the early days of the casino shutdown, but began falling again quite quickly, unlike online casinos. That decline hasn’t stopped in four months, either. It looked like it was slowing down in July, but August saw a further loss of 9%, marking a slight acceleration. Fortunately, the PA Championship of Online Poker, running now, should help PokerStars get its numbers moving in the right direction again.

Detailed numbers by operator/product

Rivers Philadelphia$15,199,856$1,941,979$-$17,141,834$8,518,639
Penn National$8,054,623$3,737,195$-$11,791,817$4,947,447
Valley Forge$4,402,474$4,310,191$-$8,710,564$3,065,832
Mount Airy$2,424,949$1,703,776$2,729,199$6,857,924$2,018,748
Mohegan Sun$2,584,244$408,923$-$2,993,167$1,460,920
Wind Creek$238,684(-$25,036)$-$213,648$124,884
Live! Philadelphia$24,458$633$-$25,091$13,309
Presque Isle Downs(-$49,997)$83,114$-$33,117(-$13,700)

PA online sports betting revenue

  • Total PA sports betting: $13.7 million
  • Online sports betting: $12.4 million
  • Retail sports betting: $1.3 million

Sports betting has been the biggest success story of all in recent months. That’s unsurprising, given that sports themselves have been returning in gradual fashion.

In August, the big difference makers were the NHL and NBA, both of which resumed play and went straight into their respective playoffs. Both online and retail sports betting revenue doubled from July to August as a result.

The combined total of $27.6 million wasn’t quite a record. The best month to date is still January, when sportsbooks made $31.6 million. There’s a strong chance that September will beat that figure, however, now that the NFL football season has started.

Handle increased to an even greater extent, with retail sportsbooks taking $43.4 million in bets, compared to just $9.4 million in July. Apps, meanwhile, saw $322 million in wagers, up from $155 million. Hold, on the other hand, dropped. Online and retail channels together held only 7.6 cents per dollar wagered, compared to 8.3 cents in July.

See more of August’s sports betting data at Legal Sports Report.

- 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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