What we see in these numbers is the unbelievable potential of the PA betting market. With a population roughly 40% greater than its neighbor and two major sports cities with fanbases largely contained in the state, Pennsylvania has an opportunity to be a juggernaut in sports betting.
And on a local level, Philadelphia is essentially the epicenter of the legal sports betting market, fully flanked by retail and online betting on both sides of the river.
The total online betting handle – sum total of bets placed – across the three PA sportsbooks which are currently live was $19.3 million. This led to $1.4 million in revenue for sportsbooks (this doesn’t include the potential payouts on futures bets made in June but not yet settled). When you consider the $1 million in promotional credits, this led to $369k in taxable revenue, earning the state $125k.
“To put the online betting number in perspective at PA sportsbooks, consider that the best available comp would be New Jersey’s August 2018 online betting handle, which was $21.8 million— this also included some college football,” said Jason Ziernicki, founder of PASportsbooks.com and BetNewJersey.com. “While not a perfect comparison, that was effectively the first full month of online sports betting in New Jersey, as DraftKings Sportsbook launched on August 6, followed by SugarHouse Sportsbook and playMGM later in the month.”
SugarHouse Sportsbook led the way in PA by a wide margin in June. They saw their total sports betting handle – retail and online – increase from $7.9 million to $23 million on the strength of $18.1 million from online.
This was the first full month of online betting in PA after SugarHouse was live for only a handful of days at the end of May, mostly in a soft-launch testing phase, in which they took in a rather staggering $573k in bets.
All of this has been without iOS, Apple’s popular mobile operating system which makes up roughly half the mobile market.
A recent App Store policy update from Apple has delayed the launch of iOS betting. But yesterday, on June 17, SugarHouse once again was first, this time releasing a workaround that allows customers with iPhones and iPads to bet through the mobile web by downloading a third-party geolocation app.
“When you consider that Pennsylvania’s online betting handle in June nearly matched that of New Jersey (August 2018) – a bellwether state for legal sports betting with significant fanfare – in what was essentially its first online month, without any betting on iOS mobile devices, or football events, you see the staggering potential of the market,” said Ziernicki.
The addition of iOS betting is significant. We’ve seen consumer interest spike across our web and social media properties in just the 24 hours since SugarHouse unveiled its iOS workaround.
Bet Rivers Sportbook and Parx Sportsbook – which officially launched on the same day – rounded out the market, adding $848k and $307k, respectively, in online betting handle. Rivers is owned by the parent of SugarHouse, Rush Street, which plans to bring all of its properties under the Rivers brand later this year.
FanDuel Sportsbook is expected to be next to enter the market in PA, thanks to their partnership with Valley Forge Casino Resort. A source tells us FanDuel will have its iOS app ready at or near launch.
“With the pending launch of FanDuel and FOX Bet, the looming DraftKings Sportsbook entrance into PA, and iOS availability, the end of 2019 will see Pennsylvania rapidly close the gap with New Jersey on sports betting handle and potentially revenue,” said Ziernicki.