March Gladness For PA Sports Betting As Revenue Climbs, But Lack Of Mobile Still Hurting

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PA sports betting

PA sports betting performed well last month as March Madness betting buoyed bookmakers throughout the nation.

Keystone State bettors put up more than $44.5 million in March and PA sportsbooks held better than $5.5 million. That hold of nearly 12.5 percent triples the $1.9 million in revenue that Pennsylvania operators made in February.

Cutting into that robust hold is the heavy tax rate on PA sports betting. With an effective 36 percent tax on legal sports betting revenue, the state collected nearly $2 million from PA operators. That’s in addition to the initial $10 million license fee.

PA sports betting by the numbers

Overall handle and revenue in PA sports betting benefitted from two new books opening in March: Valley Forge Casino and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook. Those Philadelphia-area shops combined for about $2.7 million in handle and $570,000 in revenue.

Here’s the overall breakdown of PA sports betting revenue for March 2019:

CasinoMarch HandleMarch RevenueFebruary Revenue
Rivers Casino$11,901,967$1,344,398$627,521
SugarHouse Casino$9,223,827$1,237,301$522,308
Parx Casino$7,965,932$984,339$369,996
Hollywood Casino$5,337,483$521,864$13,914
South Philly Race and Sportsbook$3,550,264$534,253$137,201
Valley Forge Casino (opened March 13)$2,047,998$449,597N/A
Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook (opened March 14)$706,089$120,836N/A

All’s well down by the Rivers

Having the western PA sports betting market all to itself looks pretty sweet for Rivers Casino right now.

Rivers led the pack in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive month with more than $11.9 million in handle and $1.3 million in revenue. The only Pittsburgh sportsbook outdistanced second-place SugarHouse Casino by more than $2.7 million.

SugarHouse continues to set the pace for the expanding Philadelphia sports betting market with $9.2 million in wagers and $1.2 million in hold.

Strong competition within its own market could keep SugarHouse behind Rivers moving forward though. Five Philadelphia-area casinos operate sportsbooks and Mt. Airy will capture traffic from north of Philly when it opens as well.

PA sports betting market grows overall

Possibly the most encouraging development in the PA sports betting revenue report is across-the-board growth for operators.

Every operator in the state posted gains in March revenue. While the Super Bowl did not take the toll on Pennsylvania operators that it did on those in New Jersey, March Madness betting certainly appears to have boosted both states. NJ sports betting handle stopped just short of $400 million in February.

When comparing population, though, Pennsylvania’s absence of mobile sports betting glares.

The Keystone State is larger in population but posted just more than 10 percent of the Garden State‘s handle in March. Not coincidentally, more than 80 percent of NJ sports bets were placed via a mobile device in each of the past three months.

Pennsylvania legislators approved mobile PA sports betting two years ago, but launch continues to prove elusive. State regulators say they are in the process of testing apps from operators, though the new Wire Act opinion appears to have sown caution throughout Pennsylvania as well.

The latest projection from regulators for the launch of PA mobile wagering is mid-2019.