Twice as many sportsbooks spelled twice as much handle in Pennsylvania last month, the first month that three sportsbooks were open for the entire month. Three others opened between Jan. 10-24. Pennsylvania sportsbooks combined for $32 million in betting handle, $2.6 million in revenue, worth $938,597 in tax revenue for the state, according to the January Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board report.
The numbers should be considered fairly strong for the state’s young brick-and-mortar business, though Pennsylvania will benefit substantially more when it launches mobile. Mobile sports betting has been legal in Pennsylvania since the state legalized sports betting in 2017, but the PGCB opted to prioritize brick-and-mortar books launches ahead of mobile sportsbooks.
At this point it appears the goal in Pennsylvania is to have sportsbooks that are ready, launch their sportsbooks online in time for the next major U.S. sporting event, NCAA college basketball March Madness. Selection Sunday will take place on March 17.
SugarHouse had highest handle, followed by Rivers
Pennsylvania sportsbooks had $32 million handle in January.
Revenue $2.6M, roughly 8 percent hold.
Roughly $886K for the Keystone state with that 34% tax.
Remember this is retail only, not yet mobile. Breakdown: pic.twitter.com/cmBkCdME6V
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) February 15, 2019
Of the three sportsbooks that were open for all of January, the SugarHouse Casino had the biggest handle, as $10.8 million was wagered. However, SugarHouse generated just $103,523 revenue, or .001 percent, which is a combination of surprising of scary.
Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh handled $9.5 million (9 percent hold), followed the Hollywood Casino with $4.8 million (6 percent). The Parx Casino’s main location, which opened on Jan. 10, had a handle of $5.4 million (21 percent).
Both the South Philadelphia Turf Club, the Parx Casino’s satellite location, and Harrah’s, which opened Jan. 17 and 24, respectively, handled less than $1 million. On balance, state sportsbooks had an average hold of just over 8 percent. That compared to a hold of 12.5 percent on handle of $16 million in December.
The report does not break down bets by sport. Pennsylvania has one of the highest sports betting tax rates in the nation – it levies a 34 percent state tax and a 2 percent local tax.
Besides the six sites that have launched sports betting in Pennsylvania, Presque Isle Downs in Erie and the Valley Forge Casino near Philadelphia have been approved for a sports betting certificates, though launch dates have not been released for either.
NJ proof positive that mobile a key component
Of the three states that have mobile sports betting – Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia – two border Pennsylvania, and it’s a good bet that avid eastern Pennsylvania sports bettors are driving over the border to New Jersey to place bets. New Jersey’s mobile sports betting has been exploding since it launched in August, two months after the bricks-and-mortar launch.
New Jersey’s numbers are a clear indicator that every state should include a state-wide mobile component. In January, mobile accounted for nearly 80 percent of all bets placed in the Garden State. While that is the highest percentage since mobile launched, it’s consistently accounted for least two-thirds of the state’s handle.