Modest April Follows A Smashing March For Pennsylvania Gaming

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Pennsylvania’s gaming industry in April produced a more modest — but likely more sustainable — month than was seen with the record pace that was posted in March.

Revenue data released Wednesday morning by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board showed that revenue from all types of commercial gaming in person and online added up to $476.6 million last month.

It was a 7.5% decline from the all-time high of $515.3 million the month before, although 3.3% higher than in April 2022.

Revenue was down in all three of the key sectors from March. Land-based casino slots and table games revenue of $297.4 million was off 4.5%, iCasino revenue of $137.2 million was 7.4% less than March’s record high, and taxable sports betting revenue of $37 million was 26.7% less than in the key month marked by March Madness.

Still, total state and local government tax revenue of $195.7 million kept 2023 on a record pace. Pennsylvania taxes different forms of gambling at different rates, adding up to a blended rate of about 41% that provides the state with the highest amount of gaming tax revenue overall in the U.S.

Pennsylvanians show a betting plateau

Due to the nature of the sports calendar, it was a given that the statewide sports betting handle would be less than in March. The $572.2 million wagered represented a 20.9% drop in monthly volume. It also suggested a plateau in Pennsylvanians’ betting interest, in that April 2022 provided a similar betting handle of $572.8 million.

Last month’s betting provided the operators with gross revenue of $51.8 million, a 9% hold rate. The state allowed for $14.8 million in promotional credits by the 13 online operators, creating the taxable, adjusted revenue total of $37 million.

As in many past months, online titan FanDuel claimed more than half of both gross and adjusted revenue in the state. It reported $27.9 million in gross revenue and $21.2 million in taxable revenue from its $223.5 million in handle, which was 41.7% of the online betting volume statewide.

DraftKings took $156.2 million in bets for a 29.1% market share, with $11.1 million in gross revenue, of which $8.9 million was taxable after credits.

BetMGM continued its third-place role in Pennsylvania, showing $43 million in handle and $3.9 million/$1 million in gross/adjusted revenue.

For the second month in a row, Caesars was ahead of Barstool Sportsbook in handle but lower in revenue. Caesars took $27.8 million in bets, with $1.1 million/$428,803 in revenue, compared to Barstool’s handle of $25.1 million and revenue of $1.5 million/$930,364.

Two online sportsbooks reported net losses on the month, Wind Creek/Betfred (-$58,155) and Betway (-$10,400), as did, uncharacteristically, two retail sportsbooks: Rivers Philadelphia (-$139,125) and Mohegan Pennsylvania (-$6,894).

As it prepares to wind down Pennsylvania operations, PointsBet took $8 million in wagers (1.5% of the online total) with gross revenue of $637,562 and adjusted revenue of just $22,091 after promotions. The Australian-based sportsbook is in the process of being acquired by Fanatics, which is expected to take over the site and license with its own branding later in 2023.

In-person casino visits slump more than online

The state’s iCasino operators have set many revenue records over the past year, but April’s results were not among them. The $137.2 million was still a quite healthy number, however, with $95.6 million generated by online slots, $38.9 million by table games, and $2.7 million from iPoker. The total was comfortably higher than the $113.1 million in April 2022.

The gaming board does not break down individual operators’ revenue from online casino play the way it does for sportsbooks, as multiple iCasinos fall under each license. The group under PENN Entertainment’s Hollywood Casino license led in April with $58.5 million in combined revenue, compared to $31.2 million for Valley Forge Casino Resort and its partners and $26.1 million for Rivers Philadelphia.

For the 17 brick-and-mortar casinos, the $297.4 million they took in April gaming revenue may be disappointing, considering the statewide total was $309.4 million a year earlier, when there was also one fewer casino prior to Parx Shippensburg’s opening.

The combined slots play that generated $213 million last month was 2.2% less than in April 2022, and table games revenue of $84.4 million was 7.8% less.

Photo: Getty Images

Author: Ryan Gonzales