With state-wide mobile sports betting yet to launch, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Thursday released its April sports betting numbers, and it’s no surprise that they are down to compared to March. In April, the state’s eight open sportsbooks took in $36.77 mm in handle, which resulted in $1.44 mm in state tax revenue and $84,430 in local tax revenue.
Pennsylvania imposes a 34 percent state tax and 2 percent local tax on sports betting gross revenue.
Those numbers are down about $8 million as compared to March, when the NCAA basketball tournament gave sportsbooks around the country a bump. In March, handle was $44.53 mm and the state took in $1.88 mm in tax revenue. Since Pennsylvania launched sports betting November, the state has taken in $5.72 mm in tax revenue on $162.4 mm in handle.
Who, when for mobile launch still unclear
Susan Hensel, Director of Licensing for Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday told a panel at the ICE conference in Boston that mobile sports betting in the state is “imminent” and “coming very soon.” It seems likely that either the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh or Sugarhouse in Philadelphia will be the first to launch mobile. Both Rivers and Sugarhouse have partnered with Kambi to run their mobile platforms. Parx Casino seemed a good bet to be the first to launch mobile, but according to the Associated Press, it told the PGCB that it expects to be ready to launch mobile in June. Parx has a deal with GAN to run its mobile platform.
The PGCB hasn’t released which casino will be the first to launch mobile and the casinos themselves are also staying mum.
According to PGCB spokesman Doug Harbach, the January DOJ interpretation on the Wire Act has slowed the mobile launch. Hollywood Casino was the first physical sportsbook to open in the state when it did so last November.
Mobile sports betting is "imminent," and "coming very soon" to Pennsylvania, Susan Hensel, Director of Licensing for PA Gaming Control Board, tells a #ICENorthAmerica audience today. online poker by July 15 (we knew this) pic.twitter.com/ppgaWfcHcp
— John Brennan (@BergenBrennan) May 14, 2019
With regard to revenue at the state’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, most saw a decrease in handle as compared to March, though both the Valley Forge Casino and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook had increases. The Valley Forge Casino, which launched March 13, had an increase in handle from $2.05 mm in March to $3.05 mm in April, while the Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook, which opened on March 14, took in $1.54 mm in April as compared to $706,089 in March.
The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh took the biggest hit after March Madness, as handle fell from $11.9 mm in March to $8.16 mm in April.
The PGCB report does not break down revenue by sport, only by venue.
PGCB approves Mohegan Sun sports betting certificate
Pennsylvania also added another venue to its growing list of sports betting sites when the PGCB approved the Mohegan Sun Casino’s application for a sports betting certificate earlier this week.
SPORTS BETTING APPROVED: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved Mohegan Sun Pocono’s petition to offer sports betting, according to a spokesperson at the casino. https://t.co/gv2YL8mmor
— WNEP (@WNEP) May 15, 2019
According to the Times-Leader, the casino’s 1,130 square foot sportsbook will include an 8-feet long by 15-feet high video wall as well as additional screens. There will be seven betting kiosks and three teller windows.
Mohegan Sun has partnered with the Kindred Group for sportsbook operations.
Pennsylvania has 13 sports betting certificates available — one each for every existing casino and one for a planned casino in Philadelphia’s sports zone. So far, Penn National (Hollywood Casino), Parx Casino (Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club), Harrah’s, SugarHouse, Rivers Casino, Valley Forge Casino, and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook are open. Presque Isle Downs is planning to open some time in the second quarter, and Mount Airy Casino has also applied for a license and is awaiting approval.