The first full year of online casino gambling in Connecticut hit a peak in popularity to cap 2022, with the state’s Department of Consumer Protection reporting the first $1 billion monthly handle in 15 months of wagering activity.
While the December figure was less than $3 million over the $1 billion benchmark, it was a surprising 11% improvement on November’s total of $903.7 million wagered. The previous record was established in October at $975.8 million, with December’s total extending the run of $900 million-plus handle to four consecutive months. Total online casino wagering exceeded $9.9 billion for the 2022 calendar year, with nearly $5.4 billion of that total coming in the last six months.
Operator revenue also reached a record high, with gross winnings totaling $28.4 million and adjusted revenue after promotional credits and deductions at $22.7 million. Both figures eclipsed records set in October that were nearly equaled in November. Gross revenue increased 5.5% from November and was also 39.7% better than the final month of 2021.
Sports wagering handle for the final month of the year was $160.3 million, the third consecutive month it ranged between $160 million and $165.1 million. Gross revenue was down 9.5% to $15.7 million as the win rate dipped back under 10% to a still healthy 9.8%.
The state received $4.1 million in taxes from iCasino, lifting the total for 2022 to $40.6 million. Sports wagering taxes totaled $1.7 million for the final month of the year, raising the amount for the calendar year in that discipline to $14.5 million.
Aggressive promotional spend pays off for DraftKings
When it comes to online casino promotional play in Connecticut, DraftKings has been more aggressive than FanDuel. That was especially the case in December when the Massachusetts-based company doled out $22 million in free play, accounting for 3.7% of its overall $592.7 million in wagers played.
It was the most offered by DraftKings since the nearly $30 million in May and the upshot was a record $16.7 million in gross revenue. That was an increase of 11.2% compared to November and helped absorb a slight dip in hold to 2.8%. DraftKings took the maximum 20% allotment permitted for promotional deductions, leaving the state eligible to levy taxes on $13.4 million in adjusted revenue.
FanDuel’s promotional outlay was far more modest, amounting to $2.5 million — 0.6% of the $408.4 million wagered through its online casino suite in December. It narrowly missed a record revenue amount, coming within $150,000 of the $11.8 million in gross revenue posted in November. FanDuel also took the maximum allotted 20% for promotional deductions, making $9.3 million eligible for state taxes.
DraftKings generated $167.6 million in gross revenue for the year, $55 million more than FanDuel, though FanDuel’s iCasino hold of nearly 3% was better. DraftKings finished with $128.9 million in adjusted revenue, while FanDuel claimed $96.1 million in that category.
While DraftKings generated almost $6.1 billion in handle for the calendar year, 3.4% of that total — $206 million — was promotional handle compared to the 0.4% for FanDuel. DraftKings’ promotional spend was over 12 times more than the $16.7 million outlay FanDuel had for 2022, as DraftKings reported eight figures of promotional revenue every month but January. By comparison, FanDuel’s $2.5 million spend for December was its highest of any month.
FanDuel keeps on rolling for sports wagering
While FanDuel may cede some ground in the online casino space, it continues to be without peer for sports wagering revenue in the Nutmeg State. Still the only operator to crest $8 million in monthly gross revenue, it did so for the third time in December with more than $8.3 million. That was actually a 10.2% decline from the record of $9.3 million in November, as the betting public knocked FanDuel’s hold down more than one full percentage point to 12.1%.
It was still FanDuel’s fifth consecutive month with a win rate of 12% or higher in Connecticut, finishing the year just shy of a 10% hold on $622 million handle. DraftKings actually finished 2022 with a higher sports wagering handle at $655.6 million, but its more pedestrian 7.9% hold resulted in gross revenue $10.3 million behind its rival. FanDuel rang up $62 million in gross revenue for the calendar year compared to $51.7 million for DraftKings.
The state’s other online sports betting operator, PlaySugarHouse, finished its strong close to 2022 with $1.1 million in gross revenue — the fourth straight month in seven figures. Its 8.3% hold was higher than November, but an 18.3% decline in handle to $13.3 million contributed to a 14.6% decline in revenue. PlaySugarHouse finished about $12,000 shy of $10 million in gross revenue for the year.
Retail sports wagering through the Connecticut Lottery totaled handle of $98.7 million for 2022, with December’s $10.5 million the third straight month handle reached eight figures. Revenue was $6,000 shy of $1 million to wrap up 2022, and the hold for the calendar year was a solid 9.6% that resulted in $9.5 million in operator winnings.