Pennsylvania’s Online Casinos, Sports Betting Mitigate Losses in 2020

Sports wagering and iGaming helped the gambling industry to offset the impact of retail closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In total, 2020 posted a 22.24% drop in gaming revenues, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

December’s iGaming Revenue Skyrockets

Pennsylvania is the third largest gambling market in terms of revenue in the United States, only behind Nevada and New Jersey. Despite the complex pandemic situation and the forced shutdown of the state’s 13 brick-and-mortar casinos at various points in 2020, the gambling industry was not completely paralyzed with iGaming and online sports wagering reporting a striking increase.

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released full-year gaming revenue figures, which show that the state’s licensed internet casinos helped mitigate the damage of Covid-19.

Internet casino-type gaming (iGaming) gross revenue reached $71.6 million in December 2020, up 35.4% from the previous monthly record of $59.7 million set in October. In annual terms, December’s igaming revenue surged by 574% from the $10.6 million posted a year earlier.

The iGaming revenue in December was distributed between iGaming slots with $46.2 million (up 730.2% year-on-year), iGaming tables – $22.6 million (up 776.9%) and iGaming poker – $2.7 million (10.38%).

According to the PGCB press release, casinos in the state lost a combined 1473 days due to the virus in 2020, or about one third of the number of days the venues would have been operating in a normal year. VGT establishments were closed for a similar percentage of days due to Covid-19 restrictions.

December Sports Wagering Handle Sets an All-Time Record

The total sports wagering handle for December 2020 amounted to $548.6 million or 11.52% above the November 2020 total of $491.9 million. Additionally, December figures were the highest to date surpassing the amount of $525 million wagered in October 2020.

Total sports betting revenue in December reached $34.1 million, an increase of 199.4% from the $11.4 million reported in December 2019.

All forms of gaming along with fantasy contests reported total revenue of $168.8 million in December 2020, which represents a decrease of 42.19% compared to the same month in 2019. Closures of retail gambling venues due to the Covid-19 safety measures dragged down the total gaming revenue by 22.24% in 2020, the PGCB said.

In December, Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville was the biggest source of igaming revenue in the state with $23.5 million or nearly 1,300% increase from the prior year.

Sports betting started in Pennsylvania in November 2018, while online betting apps followed in late May 2019 with PlaySugarHouse being the first one. In 2020, there were four new additions – Caesars Sportsbook (Harrah’s Casino), Barstool Sportsbook (Hollywood Casino Grantville), BetMGM Sportsbook (Hollywood Casino Morgantown) and Betfred Sportsbook (Wind Creek Bethlehem).

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