LAS VEGAS, Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 could make it the No. 2 legal sports betting market in the country, 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 PlayPennsylvania.com. "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 and up 234.7% from $109 million in August 2019, according to official data released Wednesday.
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.
Pennsylvania fell shy of Nevada's$165.6 million handle in July, but its record-breaking August could top the Silver State — which will announce August data later this month.
"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.
The retail sector picked up steam in August with $43.4 million in bets, up from $9.4 million in July, to produce $2.8 million in revenue. Rivers-Philadelphia led retail books with $11.8 million in bets and $949,903 in gross revenue.
The online market could get another boost, too, with the kickoff of football and the launch of the 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 PlayPennsylvania.com. "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 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. 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."