Pennsylvania benefited in a large way from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament aka “March Madness” last month.
The PA Gaming Control Board reported a handle of $44.5 million and revenue of $5.5 million in the month of March, which set a monthly record for the state for both categories. The numbers are the third-largest in the country behind Nevada and New Jersey.
This signals that Pennsylvania is moving up in the legal sports gambling market and can be seen as the third-largest one behind Nevada and New Jersey in order, per Play Pennsylvania sports betting analyst Jessica Welman.
"The legal sports betting market in Pennsylvania has seemingly limitless potential, and March was a significant step forward. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino, and the new sportsbook at the Valley Forge Turf Club, were welcome additions to the market. And those openings show operators are bullish on Pennsylvania."
Taking a glance at the hold numbers from March and the sportsbooks held just north of $5.5 million according to the Gaming Control Board’s report. Most impressively, the hold numbers triples up on the $1.9 million revenue that the state brought in two months ago.
Pennsylvania brought in almost $2 million in tax revenue from operators on the hefty 36 percent tax on the legal sports gambling revenue in place.
Two sportsbooks launched last month, the Valley Forge Casino Resort (March 13) and the Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook (March 14). The pair took in just over $2.7 million in handle money and a touch over $570,000 in total revenue.
Rivers Casino ($11.9 million handle; $1.34 million revenue), SugarHouse Casino ($9.22 million handle; $1.24 million revenue) and Parx Casino ($7.9 million handle; $984,339 revenue) were the three biggest winners from the bump last in March.
Quite a leap was taken from the Hollywood Casino which saw a $5.3 million handle and $521,864 in revenue. The February revenue for the casino was just $13,914, the lowest of the six that were already in place.
The hope is that March wasn’t a fluke for the sportsbooks in the state. Nevada will always be the powerhouse because of its size and landscape while New Jersey continues to emerge with so many states surrounding them and the small distance between them.
However, Pennsylvania has placed themselves into the conversation at the very least. New Jersey sportsbooks reported a handle of $372 million during the month of March. Yes, Pennsylvania is a distant third right now, but that isn’t a bad thing for the state since they’re keeping steady.
The state saw a handle of $31.5 million in February and $32 million in January.
Some more money could be had through the mobile and online sports betting realm. That would be something that could by summer’s end and would most certainly boost the Pennsylvania area
"The growth of Pennsylvania's market is stunted without online sports betting," Play Pennsylvania analyst Dustin Gouker said. "Online bets account for about 80 percent of New Jersey's handle. When the time comes that online bets are legalized and regulated in Pennsylvania, then the industry will be poised to challenge larger markets for supremacy."
All in all, Pennsylvania is doing a quietly good job in the legal sports gambling market and the numbers look good so far. Will they ever be as big as the larger markets? That remains to be seen.
But with an online gambling expansion due and more heavy betting months like March, it could help them continue to stay in the conversation and bring in more revenue.