Pennsylvania online casinos earned $67M from slots in May, plus $31M from table games, while poker contributed $2.6M

Pennsylvania’s Adjusted Online Gambling Revenue Exceeds $100 Million For The First Time In May

For the US gambling market as a whole, this seems to be a period of consolidation of gains. Casino closures last spring caused online casino and poker activity to skyrocket. With things now starting to get back to normal, it’s a positive for the industry simply not to lose those new customers. Pennsylvania is doing a little better than than, however.

Both New Jersey and Michigan saw monthly revenue held steady from April to May, Michgian’s remarkably so. However, since they needed only 30 days to achieve those numbers in April, the May figures represent a slight slowdown in daily average revenue.

Pennsylvania, on the other hand, enjoyed a large enough increase that it remains a significantly positive month even after accounting for the number of days. Taxable revenue even broke into the nine figures for the first time, with $101,251,772 in combined online casino and online poker revenue.

[ Editor’s note: Online Poker Report has been using adjusted gaming revenue as our metric for Pennsylvania from the start, as it’s what the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board uses. For consistency with other states and other sites in the network, we will be switching to use gross gaming revenue starting next month, but in this article “revenue” refers to AGR, not GGR. ]

It’s the second state to have done so, after New Jersey accomplished the same feat in January.

Figures in this article are taken from the latest revenue report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

PA online gambling revenue highlights – May 2021

Pennsylvania’s story for the first 18 months of its iGaming market was one of explosive growth. Just this year, it has started to show signs of maturity and stability, following the same trends as neighboring New Jersey.

It appears that it still has a bit of growing left to do, however. After a pretty flat month in April, revenue increased 9.3% in May. Accounting for days in the month makes for a smaller number, but even so, daily average revenue rose 5.7%. That’s slower than the rate at which the PA online gambling market grew in the early months of the year, but similar to its average pace through the latter half of 2020.

Here are some other top-level trends for PA online casinos at the moment:

  • Pennsylvania’s year-on-year growth rate for online gambling has been declining rapidly as the market matures and the pandemic abates. In May, it was 81%, down from 115% in April.
  • Total gross gaming revenue, including retail casinos, daily fantasy sports and DFS as well as iGaming, was up to $413 million from $61 million in May 2020, an increase of 577% thanks to the return of sports and resumed in-person gambling.
  • Online gambling operators paid a total of $41.5 million in state and local taxes in May.

Pennsylvania market analysis – by operator

In one sense, the gains were spread around between operators. Of the ten certificate holders, exactly half saw revenue increase in May, while the other half saw it decline.

However, most of those that experienced a large amount of growth were the smaller operations, like Wind Creek and Presque Isle (TwinSpires). These don’t really move the needle on the market as a whole. Instead, most of the increase has to be attributed to Penn National. It increased its daily average revenue 18.4%, for a total of $41.3 million on the month.

Penn National combines the Hollywood Online Casino, DraftKings Casino and BetMGM brands under a single roof. From the outside, it’s impossible to say exactly which was responsible for the increase. However, BetMGM is the most recent addition, having arrived only in December. It also launched BetMGM Poker in April, which may have had a knock-on effect on casino traffic.

BetMGM Casino is the overall US market leader. However, when it was added to the license in December, total daily revenue for Penn rose only 45%, meaning it was not immediately the largest of the three skins. As a powerful brand, but a latecomer to the market, it may have needed time to build up its customer base.

A few other facts stand out as well:

  • Penn National now accounts for nearly 41% of total market revenue. Rivers is second with 27%, followed by Valley Forge with 16%, then Mount Airy with 6%. The other six certificates put together only make up about 10%.
  • Some of the early entries to the market have suffered at the hands of the latecomers. Parx and Mount Airy in particular are down 43% and 42% year-on-year, respectively. Mohegan is also down, by 19%.

Pennsylvania market analysis – by vertical

By contrast, it doesn’t seem as if the market’s growth came from any particular vertical. Table games performed the best, up 9.8% as a daily average, while slots gained only 3.9%.

For much of 2020, tables were growing faster than slots. However, recent months have been alternating between slots and tables being the better vertical. It’s therefore hard to say whether May marks a return to 2020 trends, or simply more random variance.

PA online poker rooms performed somewhere between the two casino verticals, increasing their combined daily average revenue by 6.2%.

Unlike casino revenue, that can be attributed clearly and entirely to the addition of BetMGM Poker and its second skin, Borgata Poker, which operates on Rivers’ certificate. Both were present in April, but only for the tail end of the month. As a result, both increased their revenue about tenfold in May, while PokerStars (on the Mt. Airy certificate) lost 6.8% of its daily average revenue.

Now, with a full month of operation in the books, we have a better picture of where BetMGM stands in the PA poker market. Its own brand accounted for 10.7% of May poker revenue in the state, while Borgata contributed 2.6%. Treating them as a single entity, then, the market is split about 87/13 in favor of PokerStars.

Pennsylvania sports betting

PA sportsbooks had a more sedate month. Gross revenue before promotional deductions rose 3.8% on the month. Accounting for the length of the month, however, that equates to just a half-percent increase in daily average revenue.

Moreover, that increase was due to the operators winning more bets, rather than a rise in the volume of betting. Daily average handle was actually down about 10% in May, unlike in New Jersey where it increased due to interest in baseball.

Online sportsbooks accounted for 91% of handle and 86% of revenue. Hold was 7.9% for bets placed online, and a whopping 13.1% for those placed in person. Overall hold was 8.4%, which is the highest it’s been since November, and likely to come back down.

For more on PA sports betting, see the latest coverage at our sister site, Legal Sports Report.

Pennsylvania online gambling revenue breakdown

Here’s the full breakdown by operator and vertical for Pennsylvania in May. Note that monthly changes are given as a daily average, i.e. adjusted for the number of days in the current and previous month.

 May 21Apr 21Month Chg.May 20Year Chg.
Mt. Airy
Presque Isle
Valley Forge
Wind Creek
All Operators
- 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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