Casino table games exceed $1 billion wagers received for first time in PA.

Pennsylvania Table Games Surge In October Thanks To Live Dealer, Now Rival Slots For Dollars Wagered

Pennsylvania’s legal online gambling market continued to grow in October. Save for a blip in June when casinos reopened, this marks 15 months of almost uninterrupted growth for the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania online casinos brought in a combined $57.3 million in October, an increase of $2.6 million. PokerStars remains the only option for online poker in PA and added a little over $2.4 million, slightly up from September. Adding in $41.5 million from mobile sportsbooks and $3.2 million from fantasy sports brings the total for all online channels to $104.4 million, breaking into nine-figure territory for the first time.

Tax revenue from online casinos and poker amounted to $24.9 million. That’s only a slight increase, because most of the gains from the casino vertical came from table games, which are taxed at a lower rate than slots. By the same token, operators’ bottom lines benefited to a comparatively larger degree.

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

PA online gambling highlights: October 2020

Here’s what these monthly revenue trends look like by the numbers:

  • Online revenue from slots, casino games, and poker totaled $59,760,431 — up from $57,041,936 in September.
  • The race for market leadership tightened even further, to just a 6.8% revenue difference between the top two licensees.
  • Total wagers at table games exceeded $1 billion for the first time, while coin in for slots crept up to more than $1.1 billion.
  • PA gambling sites produced nearly $25 million in state and local tax revenue for the month.

Overall growth for Pennsylvania iGaming revenue was a little under 5% in October. This is quite small considering that a 3.3% increase would be expected just due to the fact that there were 31 days in October and only 30 in September. Even accounting for that, however, there was an increase of about 1.4% in daily average revenue, so the market is still moving in the correct direction.

Penn National continued closing in on Rivers for market leadership. Last month, the separation between the two was 9.1%. In October, Penn increased its gross revenue 5.3%, while Rivers gained just over 3%. The latter’s lead has therefore shrunk to 6.8%, so we could see Penn become the new front-runner within a matter of months if this trend continues.

Valley Forge (home to FanDuel Casino) had the best month of the bigger licensees, picking up more than a 25% increase in table games and 10% in overall revenue. Some of the smaller operators did well, too. BetAmerica, licensed through Presque Isle Downs, increased its revenue by nearly 20%, and newcomer PlayLive! jumped a whopping 167%, though it remains the smallest fish in the pond by far.

PA online gambling revenue breakdown

Revenue / ∆ Monthly (∆ Daily Avg.) / ∆ Yearly:

  • Total: $59.8 million / +4.8% (+1.4%) / +1111%
  • Online casinos (slots + tables): $57.3 million / +4.9% (+1.3%) / +1060%
  • Slots: $40.3 million / +1.0% (-1.9%) / +960%
  • Table games: $17.0 million / +15.3% (+11.6%) / +1670%
  • Poker: $2.4 million / +2.0% (-1.3%) / —

Pennsylvania’s annual growth numbers continue to be astronomical. On the month-to-month time scale, though, what’s interesting about October is that table games enjoyed a surge in popularity. Slots and poker both grew slightly but actually slipped a bit in terms of daily average. Table games, on the other hand, jumped over 15% month-on-month and nearly 12% on the daily average.

The amount players wagered at table games increased by an even larger margin, 17.6%. Pennsylvanians bet over $1 billion at the tables in a single month for the first time. In fact, the difference between table game betting and coin in for slots was just over 2%, though the margin for the tables is much slimmer and slots remain the primary driver of revenue.

The reason for the increase may have a lot to do with the launch of Evolution Gaming’s live dealer studio. Some of the biggest gains in table game revenue were for Rivers, which was among the first to offer these new games. On the other hand, Caesars and Valley Forge/FanDuel also saw a large increase and didn’t add Evolution’s products to their platform until early November, so there may be other factors at play.

The new studio opened only in the second half of October, so November will be the first full month of live dealer gaming. Between that and new additional operators adopting the games, we should see betting on table games rise even more this month and possibly even surpass slots.

Detailed numbers by operator/product

LicenseeSlotsTablesPokerTotalChange (Mo./Yr.)
Rivers Philadelphia$14,084,924$2,519,377$-$16,604,301+3% / +424%
Penn National$9,319,666$9,319,666$-$15,540,834+5% / +689%
Valley Forge$4,988,472$5,038,299$-$10,026,771+10% / -
Mount Airy$2,931,274$1,575,514$2,422,505$6,929,292+5% / -
Parx$5,136,336$793,457$-$5,929,793-5% / +297%
Mohegan Sun$2,103,522$492,340$-$2,595,861+9% / -
Caesars$628,072$146,158$-$774,230-1% / -
Wind Creek$534,171$61,763$-$595,934+6% / -
Presque Isle Downs$374,878$110,074$-$484,952+19% / -
Live! Philadelphia$248,235$30,228$-$278,463+167% / -
Totals$40,349,548$16,988,378$2,422,505$59,760,431+5% / +1111%

PA online sports betting revenue

  • Total PA sports betting: $47.8 million
  • Online sports betting: $41.5 million
  • Retail sports betting: $6.3 million

Pennsylvania sports betting revenue exploded in October, from a mere $13.2 million in September to $47.8 million.

Although sports betting has been rising sharply everywhere, including Pennsylvania, the size of the jump is something of an illusion. September revenue was unnaturally low because the books had a particularly unlucky month. They wound up paying out 96.8 cents per dollar wagered in September, for a 3.2% hold. That’s well below the average and wasn’t expected to last.

Indeed, the books experienced the other side of variance in October. Hold surged to a whopping 9.1%, and that increase is largely responsible for the multiplicative increase in revenue.

As far as actual betting activity went, October’s handle was merely 13.6% above September’s, or 10.0% after accounting for the number of days in the month. That’s still an impressive gain, but not nearly as staggering as the impression given by the revenue figures. Moreover, because a 9.1% hold is higher than normal, things are likely to correct again in November, and revenue may flatline even if handle continues to increase, assuming the books have a more typical month.

See more of October’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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