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Pennsylvania sportsbooks have record handle in August

16 Sep 2020

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Pennsylvania sportsbooks enjoyed their best month since the state launched the legal sports industry in November 2018 as the return of major sports helped unleash a wave of pent-up demand. Pennsylvania’s record $365 million handle in August was so strong that it could surpass Nevada for the first time, which would make the Keystone State the second-largest legal sports betting market in the country, at least for one month, according to PlayPennsylvania.

“In what has been a difficult year, August’s packed schedule of major sports helped Pennsylvania sportsbooks make up some of what was lost from pandemic-related shutdowns,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for “It is remarkable to think that Pennsylvania could surpass Nevada, the nation’s most mature sports-betting market. The state’s online products have helped bridge a gap that at one point looked nearly insurmountable.”

Retail and online sportsbooks generated $364.99 million in wagers in August, up 121.5% from $164.8 million in July, according to official data released Wednesday. August’s handle represents year-over-year growth of 234.7% from August 2019, when Pennsylvania sportsbooks managed to attract $109 million in bets.

The growth in revenue was impressive, too. August’s handle produced $18.3 million in taxable revenue, up 124.3% from $8.1 million in July and up 198.8% from $6.1 million in August 2019. August’s revenue produced $6.2 million in state taxes and another $365,482 in local share assessments.

Pennsylvania had fallen just shy of Nevada’s $165.6 million handle in July, and its record-breaking August could top the Silver State — which will announce August data later this month. Pennsylvania — like New Jersey, which generated an all-jurisdiction record of $668 million in bets in August — has some advantages over Nevada, including a much larger local population, a market that is not as event-driven, and more robust online product offerings that have been increasingly popular during the pandemic.

“The continuing build-up of online and mobile sports betting, in addition to online casinos and poker rooms, is paying enormous dividends,” Gouker said. “Some gamblers appear to still be reluctant to visit casinos in person, and technology is bridging that gap."

Online wagering accounted for 88.1%, or $321.6 million, of all bets in August. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino was again the primary driver by accepting $144.6 million in online bets, a 110.3% gain from $68.8 million wagered in July. Those bets produced $8.9 million in taxable revenue, up 518.6% from $1.4 million in July. FanDuel was followed by:

- DraftKings at The Meadows ($86.9 million handle, up from $39.1 million; $1.2 million taxable revenue, down from $1.8 million)

- Parx Casino ($22.2 million handle, up from $9.1 million; $1.5 million revenue, up from $822,701)

- Fox Bet at Mount Airy Casino Resort ($22 million handle, up from $11.9 million; $1.2 million, up from $965,052)

- Rivers Casino Philadelphia ($20.3 million handle, up from $12.7 million; $1.2 million revenue, up from $896,195)

- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh ($19 million handle, up from $10.4 million; $1.3 million revenue, up from $711,445)

- Unibet at Mohegan Sun Pocono ($4.8 million handle, up from $2.6 million; $156,051 revenue, up from $152,716)

- Harrah's Philadelphia ($1.1 million handle, up from $249,584; $$55,060 revenue, up from $24,839)

- Presque Isle Downs & Casino ($606,139 handle, up from $422,638; $33,642 revenue, up from $31,917)

The retail sector picked up steam in August, too, taking in $43.4 million in in-person bets. That was up from $9.4 million in July. Retail sportsbooks won $2.8 million on those bets, up from $1.3 million in July. The race for the top retail spot was claimed by Rivers-Philadelphia, which took in $11.8 million in bets and topped gross revenue with $949,903. Parx Casino attracted $6.6 million in wagers to edge Rivers-Pittsburgh’s $6.4 million handle.

The online market could get another boost. Not only has the NFL and college football kicked off, but Penn National has launched its much-awaited Barstool Sportsbook App.

“Barstool is the most intriguing launch since FanDuel and DraftKings entered the market, and could really move the needle,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for “It’s difficult to capitalize on such a busy sports schedule if bettors are limited in their online choices. The state’s gaming industry still has significant challenges, but its ability to entice so many online competitors has made the Pennsylvania market far more resilient.”

Online casinos and poker set fresh record

Online casino games and poker reached another all-time high in August with $55.9 million in gross operator revenue, or $1.8 million for the 31 days of August. That is up from July when online gambling generated $54.4 million. Online table games and slots produced $1.9 billion in wagers, up from $1.8 billion in July. That resulted in $53.2 million in revenue. Mount Airy/PokerStars, the lone poker operator in the state, generated $2.7 million in revenue on poker, down from $3 million in July.

All of August’s operator revenue resulted in a $15.8 million injection into state coffers and another $6.3 million in local share assessments.

“The continued growth of online casino revenue, even with opened retail casinos, shows that the industry has set a new standard for online gambling,” Cross said. “The popularity of these games should remain, and likely expand, over the next few months even as casinos steady.”

Other highlights from July:
  • Rivers-Philadelphia led the online casino market with $17.1 million in revenue on $578.9 million in wagers, up from $15.4 million in revenue on $612.1 million in wagers in June.
  • DraftKings/Penn National generated $11.8 million in revenue on $446.1 million in wagers, up from $10.8 million in revenue and $339.9 million in wagers.
  • FanDuel/Valley Forge collected $8.7 million in online revenue on $327.2 million in wagers, up from $8.4 million in revenue on $346.4 million in bets.
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