Promising PA Sports Betting Report Still Not Quite On Par With Neighbor

Posted on July 16, 2020

PA sports betting handle grew for the second consecutive month despite the third straight full month without major sports,

Handle hit $89 million in June, up 14.8% from May and 93.4% from April. Revenue hit $8 million, good for an 8.9% hold, according to the state report.

June marked one year since the first full month of online sports betting in Pennsylvania. Mobile accounted for just 41.7% of the $46.3 million in total handle from last June. While operators clearly hoped for a higher mobile share a year later, no one could have predicted the 99.2% share last month as casinos started to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic.

And while any growth is good without major sports, Pennsylvania’s figures aren’t growing quite as strongly as one of its neighbors.

PA sports betting lags behind NJ

New Jersey sports betting has started to turn around much quicker than its western neighbor in Pennsylvania.

NJ handle hit $165 million in June, up 40% from May. And that $117.8 million handle in May is 32.4% more than PA sports betting recorded for June.

There’s likely one big reason why New Jersey is ramping back up quicker than Pennsylvania. And it’s not just the nearly year-long jump New Jersey had on mobile sports betting.

It’s likely the betting that comes from New York City. New Yorkers wagered an estimated $837 million at New Jersey’s sportsbooks in 2019, according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

Sports bettors refocusing on betting?

An interesting trend that came out of the coronavirus pandemic was a bump in all iGaming, but especially online poker. Sports bettors tend to gravitate toward table games over slots with favorites including poker and blackjack.

Online poker revenue started to grow in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey in March. But that revenue declined month-over-month for both states in June along with total iGaming revenue for both states.

Total bets for online banked table games, like blackjack and roulette, also took a big hit in Pennsylvania last month. May’s drop hit an all-time high of $778.5 million only to fall 18.3% to $635.7 million in June.

While this likely reflects the reopening of casinos and many other activities, part of those declines can likely be attributed to sports bettors getting back to what they know best.

That trend will be better tracked over the next few months as major sports like the MLB, NBA, NHL, and eventually the NFL in September return.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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