Pennsylvania bettors wagered a record $109 million on sports in August, up 84% from July, according to data released Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The monthly data covered the first weeks of the college and exhibition pro football seasons.
Online wagering accounted for $83.2 million, or more than three-quarters of all sports bets in August. FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino, in its first full month of operations, already accounts for more than a third of the state’s sports bets, mostly online.
Sportsbook operators raked in $9.9 million in revenue from sports betting, up from $5.1 million in July. State and local governments cleared $2.1 million in tax revenue from sports betting.
The sports-betting revenue was a small part of the $293.4 million in revenue that Pennsylvania casinos, fantasy sports operators, and video game terminals reported in August, up 6.3% from the previous year.
But the new world of online wagering is growing fast. Online casino games, launched in Pennsylvania in July, and interactive betting on slot machines, blackjack, and other table games nearly tripled in August to $62 million. Casinos retained $2.5 million in gross revenue, of which state and local governments captured nearly $1.4 million in tax revenue.
The rising dominance of online sports betting over brick-and-mortar retail sportsbooks is not surprising. Online betting, which can be conducted anywhere in the state where it is licensed, accounts for about 85% of all sports betting in neighboring New Jersey, the first state to launch sportsbooks last year following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized bookmaking. New Jersey reported $293.6 million in sports bets in August, or 269% of Pennsylvania’s total handle.
FanDuel and rival DraftKings, the oligopoly of the daily fantasy sports business, leveraged their experience and extensive customer databases to become the two biggest operators in New Jersey’s sports-betting business. It took FanDuel less than two months to establish dominance in Pennsylvania, where DraftKings does not operate because it is unaffiliated with any of the seven casinos that currently operate retail sportsbooks.
FanDuel on Monday called itself the “clear market leader” for online sports betting in Pennsylvania, having handled 42% of the online sports bets and capturing 46% of the online sports-betting revenue. “Having expanded our leadership position across New Jersey and now Pennsylvania, we will continue to bring our top mobile betting platform to the expanding U.S. market,” the company said in a statement.
Competition for market supremacy should remain fierce in the next few months as sports betting is expected to grow dramatically, said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “To take over the market lead so quickly shows the strength of the FanDuel brand," he said.
FanDuel overtook SugarHouse Casino in August as the market leader. SugarHouse generated $25 million in online bets in August, ahead of the third-place sportsbook, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. SugarHouse and Rivers are both owned by Rush Street Gaming, and jointly the two casinos accounted for $41.9 million in sports bets, about 19% more than FanDuel’s $35.3 million in online handle.
In the brick-and-mortar retail market for sports bettors, SugarHouse’s Fishtown casino took in $5.4 million in bets, followed by Parx Casino in Bensalem, which reported accepting $5 million in wagers. Parx’s off-track betting locations in South Philadelphia and Oaks took in an additional $2.9 million in sports bets.