In Pennsylvania, Penn National more than doubled its table games revenue as gamblers flock back to DraftKings

MI Online Casinos Crack $100 Million Mark As Revenues Surge In September

September online gambling revenue numbers are in and it was a great month, almost across the board.

Michigan in particular got a lot of attention when it released its figures late last week. That’s because its iGaming market hit a total of $102,380,221.90 in gross gaming revenue for the month. That’s an all-time state record, and the first time it has broken into the nine figures.

New Jersey also created a lot of fuss by hitting $1 billion in monthly sports betting handle. You can read more about that over at Legal Sports Report. Here at Online Poker Report, we don’t usually go into much detail about sports betting numbers. However, New Jersey hitting that milestone is significant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a number that’s impressive enough in its own right to warrant a mention. At the same time, cross-selling between verticals is becoming increasingly important in the US. This month’s growth in online casino and poker revenue is not unrelated to the beginning of the fall sports season, as you’ll see as you read on.

Pennsylvania didn’t quite set a monthly record, but it did if you calculate revenue as a daily average. Its high water mark is $113,770,086, set in May this year. September clocked in at $111,945,582, but with one fewer day in the month it beat May with a daily average of $3,731,519 compared to $3,670,003. It’s therefore quite likely that the state will get back to setting monthly records in October.

As for the smaller states, West Virginia likewise had a great month, while Delaware is the odd one out, having failed to hold on to the gains it saw in August.

DraftKings and FanDuel bounce back in Michigan

Last month’s featured trend was that FanDuel Casino and DraftKings Casino had been steadily losing market share over the summer. It was Online Poker Report’s assumption that this was a result of the companies’ sports focus and their target demographic.

Sportsbook revenue follows a predictable annual cycle based on which sports seasons are underway. For casinos whose primary customer acquisition channel is cross-selling from sports betting, it stands to reason that summer would be a slow time. OPR’s prediction last month was that we’d therefore see a rebound in these companies’ share in September, now that the NFL season is underway again.

As a big state with only one skin allowed per license, Michigan gives us a unique opportunity to investigate this. Sure enough, what we see is that the FanDuel and DraftKings – as well as Barstool, another sports-oriented brand – lead the state in month-on-month GGR increase for September. DraftKings in particular increased its daily average GGR by over $108,000. That’s over 39% of the total for the state.

Looking at things in proportional terms, Caesars Online Casino was the big winner, up 74%. Here too, there is a sports component to the gains. Caesars entered the state by way of its takeover and rebranding of William Hill, and its subsequent marketing has focused heavily on cross-selling. Barstool came second in this regard, increasing its daily average revenue by 60%.

Conversely, most of the more casino-oriented brands had a bad month, with Golden Nugget Online Casino doing the worst in terms of gross losses. There is one notable exception to the overall trend, however. PointsBet, another very sports-focused brand, had the worst month in proportional terms, down 40%.

Sports-first operators saw the best casino revenue gains as NFL season began

Data from the Michigan Gaming Control Board

New Jersey online gambling revenue – Sep. 2021

New Jersey online gambling had an excellent month as well. Online casino revenue exceeded $120 million for the first time in state history. Although not as impressive a milestone as the $1 billion in sports handle, it’s an 8.4% increase in the monthly total from August, and a 12% gain when calculated as a daily average. It’s also a nearly 40% increase year-over-year.

The biggest increase was for the Resorts license, which saw daily average casino revenue shoot up nearly 37%. It’s impossible to know the extent to which individual skins affected a given license-holder’s revenue, but Resorts is home to DraftKings Casino. Looking at how things went in Michigan, it’s pretty easy to infer that it was probably responsible for the bulk of those gains.

Caesars and Golden Nugget also had good months, up 8.5% and 7.8% respectively. Although the latter’s own online casino had a bad month in Michigan, as a New Jersey license holder it is home to FanDuel’s casino vertical, as well as the FanDuel-owned Stardust Casino. So, here too, we’re probably seeing the impact of the sports-first brands gearing up as the NFL season gets underway.

Only Hard Rock and Ocean Resort had negative growth on the month. Hard Rock’s decline was trivial, but Ocean lost 9.6% of its daily average revenue. Meanwhile, Bally’s debuted with its first full month of revenue. Unsurprisingly, it is currently at the bottom of the chart with just $336,979 on the month, but that is just for a single skin, PointsBet. Bally’s own online casino launch is yet to come, as is at least one other skin, theScore.

Pennsylvania online gambling revenue – Sep. 2021

At 8.4% on the month and 12% as a daily average, Pennsylvania’s aggregate gains were virtually identical to New Jersey’s. Digging into the numbers a little more, we see yet more evidence that the beginning of fall sports seasons played a big role.

Penn National is the top license-holder in the state and also saw the biggest increase in revenue for September, with its daily average shooting up 26.6%. Unsurprisingly, DraftKings is one of the casinos on that license. What’s truly astounding, though, is where those gains came from.

Unlike other state regulators, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board breaks casino revenue down into slots and table games, because it taxes them at different rates. Penn’s daily average slots revenue increased only 7.6%, and poker dropped 19.1%, but its table games more than doubled.

We’ve seen in the past that the share of Pennsylvania revenue coming from slots tends to peak in the summer, while table games fare better in the winter. Additionally, the licenses which are home to sports-focused operators like DraftKings and FanDuel tend to have proportionally more table games revenue than the more casino-oriented licenses. This has led us at Online Poker Report to speculate that sports bettors crossing over to the casino vertical are generally more interested in games like blackjack than they are in playing slots.

Statewide, the share of total GGR coming from slots dropped from 78.3% in August to 73.9% in September. The all-time low for this figure was 55.2% in February 2020, shortly after the FanDuel Casino launch. This year’s low was 67.8% in January, so we can probably expect table games to continue to outpace slots until the middle of the winter, a trend we’ll take a closer look at in coming months.

West Virginia online casino revenue – Sep. 2021

After a flat month in August, West Virginia’s online casino activity surged in September. Daily average wagers were up 30%, to just over $200 million.

Revenue also increased but to a lesser degree. The total was just under $5.2 million, or just 2.6% of wagers placed. That’s due primarily to the Greenbrier license, which includes both FanDuel and BetMGM. Wagering on that license increased almost 40%, yet revenue dropped 16%.

This growth should continue into October. Unlike other states, West Virginia reports its revenue weekly. The first full week of October was a state record for both wagers placed and revenue. West Virginians placed a total of $55,666,920.56 in bets at the state’s online casinos in that week alone, and the operators took in a combined $2,131,690.13 in revenue.

Delaware online gambling revenue – Sep. 2021

The story in Delaware was the opposite of that in West Virginia. For Delaware, August was the month of big gains. There was some hope that revenue would crack $1 million for the first time in state history if the August trend continued. Unfortunately, it seems that August was an anomaly, and September revenue has regressed almost back to July levels.

Gross revenue for September was $767,513.33 compared to $913.180.32 in August and $759,708.21 in July. Thus, the state finds itself almost back where it started. Since September is one day shorter than July, however, daily average revenue is still up a modest 4.4%, taking the past two months together.

It’s worth noting, in light of the larger trend of the month, that Delaware lacks online sports betting. It does have retail betting at its three racetracks, but the lack of an online option and therefore cross-selling potential may be why it hasn’t enjoyed the same boost as other states.

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