Did Pennsylvania Sports Betting Promo Spending Really Drop In October?

Posted on November 17, 2020

Pennsylvania became the third US jurisdiction to eclipse the half-billion dollar sports betting handle mark in a single month.

Handle hit $525.8 million in October, setting a new PA sports betting record. That’s up 13.6% from the previous record of $462.8 million set in September.

Only New Jersey and Nevada have broken the $500 million mark previously.

Sports betting revenue also hit a record $47.8 million, according to the state report, with $13.2 million in tax revenue. Even when stripping out the $11.1 million in promo credits granted in October, the taxable revenue is still higher than the previous revenue record of $31.6 million from January 2020.

Mobile handle share ticked up slightly to 89.8% from 89.5% in September.

Promo credits still flowing in PA

When looking promo credits as a percentage of revenue, it seems like Pennsylvania’s sportsbook operators slowed down significantly month-over-month.

That’s not quite true, though. The $11.1 million in promo credits is 26.6% of total online revenue this month, down from 91.3% in September.

But promo spend didn’t drop significantly – revenue jumped. Operators spent $12 million on promo credits in September. Keep in mind that PA operators can deduct promo spending from gaming revenue when calculating what they will pay to the state under its 36% effective tax rate.

Sportsbooks are spending for two reasons: picking up customers during the popular NFL betting season and keeping customers from jumping ship to new competition, like Barstool Sportsbook.

Five sportsbooks gave more than $1 million in promos during October:

  • FanDuel Sportsbook, $3.1 million
  • DraftKings Sportsbook, $2.3 million
  • Barstool Sportsbook, $1.8 million
  • Unibet, $1.8 million
  • BetRivers, $1 million combined

Top Pennsylvania sports betting operators hold steady

Barstool Sportsbook will have to stay off the medal stand for at least another month.

The state’s newest online sportsbook took $63.8 million in bets during its first full month of operations in October. That ranks it as the fourth-best operator, just as it was after launching halfway through September.

FanDuel Sportsbook maintained its significant lead in the state with $184.9 million in handle, $181 million of which came online. DraftKings Sportsbook was second with $123.4 million, including $121 million from online.

BetRivers‘ two licenses with Rivers Philadelphia and Rivers Pittsburgh combined for $68.6 million.

Parx Sportsbook ($29.9 million) and Fox Bet ($29 million) were far behind the leaders in fifth and sixth place.

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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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