The Keystone State’s sports betting industry has been on the spotlight for quite a while primarily because it slated to be one of the biggest in the United States. In fact, it is perhaps the only sector of the state’s gambling expansion plans that have progressed significantly since the laws were passed in October 2017. However, the nascent industry reported both handle and revenue declines in February, a situation that is quite odd especially considering the fact that the number of sportsbooks in the state has gone up since late last year.
According to revenue figures released by the state’s gaming control board last Monday, all of the state’s licensed casinos (a total of 6 as of this writing) handled sports bets worth $31.5 million last month with revenue from the wagers coming in at $1.95 million. These figures are way below the $32 million handle and the $2.6 million revenue that the state reported in January despite the fact that only three sports books were open at the time.
To make it even worse than it already seems, the decline in betting handles and revenue was recorded despite the inclusion of the 2019 Super Bowl, which was expected to take the revenue to a whole new level. This is quite worrying since the neighboring state of New Jersey reported a handle of a whopping $35 million. However, this might be explained by the way the sportsbooks generally came of the games a loser – perhaps that declines in handle and revenue recorded last month were just because the sportsbooks were out of luck.
Winners and Losers
The state’s sports betting crown went to Rivers Casino which recorded a handle of $8.1 million and revenue or $627,521. The biggest loser was the Penn National Gaming-owned Hollywood Casino at which reported revenue of just $13,914 and handled of 3.74 million – this was a significant drop from January when it reported $285k in revenue and handled about $1 million more in sports bets.
Now, there is a lot at stake in the Commonwealth’s online gaming scene at the moment. While the sports betting industry was expected to take off in major ways, the decline or stagnation might be a result of the delay in the digitization of gaming. It is expected that gaming that online and mobile betting will finally be launched in the course of the year but this has since jeopardized by the recent reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act. Hopefully, all this will be cleared and online gambling will finally be legalized – it could be the ultimate game changer for both casino gaming and sports betting.