Any questions about the US legal sports betting industry‘s ability to bounce back after a devastating COVID-19 period have been answered with the rash of immensely positive numbers coming out of participating states. The latest is Pennsylvania that posted a record handle for August despite the lack of any NFL action.
The combination of pent-up demand and a full sports betting menu has definitely served the industry well. While most expected a bounce in the monthly handles for states with legal sports betting platforms, the sheer scope of the bounce backs has caught some off guard and left many to wonder about the ceiling of the industry going forward.
“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 of Play Pennsylvania.
Checking Out the Figures
Prior to August, 2020 Pennsylvania’s record monthly sports betting came in January when it brought in $348.4 million in bets. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), August eclipsed that number by 4.8% with an impressive $365 million haul – a 121.5% increase over July and a whopping 234.7% year-over-year increase from August, 2019.
Revenues for sports betting in Pennsylvania for August came in at $27.6 million – another record for the state. Revenues for sports betting in July were $13.7 million.
To nobody’s surprise, mobile betting led the way in Pennsylvania. Mobile apps were responsible for 88% of the overall sports betting handle in the Keystone State, or $321.6 million of the $365 million overall handle. Revenues from mobile betting were $24.8 million in August.
iGaming revenue continued to provide a nice bump in the overall sports betting handle for Pennsylvania as well. iGaming was responsible for $55.9 million of the record haul which is slightly above the $55.8 million the platform raised in May.
The result of the massive sports betting handle in Pennsylvania was an impressive $128.8 million in tax revenue for state and local coffers. This money is especially noteworthy considering the state of the state following COVID shutdowns that decimated its economy this past spring and summer.
The Barstool Factor
Pennsylvania launched the much-anticipated Barstool Sportsbook in September, just in time for the NFL season. It has a chance to be a gamechanger in the world of sports betting going forward with its whopping 66 million dedicated viewers. While it didn’t make a difference in August, all eyes will be on the Keystone State’s September and how Barstool affects its bottom line.
Pennsylvania as Barstool’s jumping-off point is expected to make an immediate impact as the new app tries to make a statement that they are ready to be a big player in the sports betting space. At least that what Penn National hopes.
Other Factors That Could See Another Record in September
Pennsylvania has traditionally been a football state. With the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers seasons up-and-running and with the announcement Wednesday the College Ball will be returning in earnest, optimism reigns supreme that September could easily eclipse the numbers Pennsylvania saw in August.
Fox Bet this week signed a partnership deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. It is expected to lead to a flood of gambling-related content consuming airwaves in the state. Fox Bet is just the fifth mobile site to launch in Pennsylvania and promises to bring some extra exposure and client-acquisition focus into the Pennsylvania scene.
The fact that all four major North American sports will be running simultaneously throughout September should also provide a major boost to Pennsylvania’s overall bottom line.
The immediate future for Pennsylvania is bright, to say the least. Barstool Sports and Fox Bet are just two of the big names lining up to get a piece of the Pennsylvania pie. A strong pro sports environment, a top-notch mobile platform, an unprecedented betting menu, and an overall confidence in the legal sports betting platform in the state has the arrow pointing way up in Pennsylvania.
August was impressive indeed – September figures should be even more so.