PA Sports Betting Market Continues Upward Trend In December

Posted on January 19, 2021

The PA sports betting market decided to break one more record before putting a bow on a trying 2020.

Pennsylvania sportsbooks took $548.6 million in bets for December, setting a new state record. The previous record was $525.8 million from October.

Sports betting revenue was $45.3 million, though that drops to $34.1 million in taxable revenue once the $11.3 million in promo credits are deducted. That resulted in $12.3 million in tax revenue for the Keystone State, according to the state report.

Nearly all of that handle came from online with $535.2 million wagered, good for 97.6% share of the market. Mobile handle for Pennsylvania sports betting typically hovers above the 90% mark but December’s share was likely helped by casino closures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Online sports betting revenue hit new heights, both before and after promos. Total revenue was $44.2 million with taxable revenue of $32.9 million.

Pennsylvania online sports betting share drops for some

The top two sportsbooks in the state, FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook, both saw online market share decline in December.

FanDuel’s online market share slipped to 38.8% from 39.5% in November. DraftKings’ decline was smaller as it fell 0.1 percentage points to 24.5% in December.

Fourth-place BetRivers also saw market share for its two online sportsbooks fall to 9.1% last month from 10.6% in November.

Barstool, BetMGM picking up scraps

Those fluctuations might not seem like a big deal for bigger, established operators. That share has to go somewhere, though, and recent market entrants were happy to add to their coffers.

Barstool Sportsbook remained third in the state with 13.4% of online handle, up 1 percentage point from November. The brand and its Penn National employees will get its first real test beyond its first market this week as Barstool launches online in Michigan, its second online state.

BetMGM, meanwhile, came out of the gates with $12.1 million in handle, or 2.3% of the PA online market. That was only for about two weeks’ worth of events as well since the brand launched Dec. 17 for testing.

PA sports betting third in handle for now

Pennsylvania closed 2020 as the third-biggest US sports betting market in terms of handle. Its $3.6 billion will fall short of New Jersey‘s $6 billion and Nevada‘s more than $4 billion.

This could be the last time the state is so high on the list.

Recently-launched states like Colorado and Illinois are ramping up fast and could overtake Pennsylvania soon enough. New markets about to open like Michigan and Virginia could also catch PA down the line.

Sky-high tax rate still delivers

It’ll be hard for a state to top Pennsylvania in terms of tax revenue, though. PA sports betting by far brought in the most for its state last year at $66.1 million thanks to its industry-high 36% effective tax.

For comparison, New Jersey sportsbooks contributed $50.9 million in tax revenue. That’s $15.2 million less than Pennsylvania even though NJ sportsbooks generated $128.6 million more operator revenue than PA books last year.

New Jersey taxes retail betting revenue at 8.5% and online betting at 13%.

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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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