Legal and regulated sports betting in Pennsylvania went live a little over two weeks ago. This is probably too short a time to effectively analyze the future of the industry in the state but, nonetheless, the revenue statistics are quite interesting. On Tuesday, December 18, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported that sports bettors wagered $1.4 million at the state’s first-ever legal sports-betting operation during the first two weeks of the launch of the industry. This generated an adjusted gross revenue after payouts of $508,999.60 for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Hershey. Apparently, the biggest winner in this scenario is the Pennsylvania treasury which took in $183,239 in taxes from sports betting during the initial two-week run.
With only two weeks of data and considering the fact that only one sports betting license was in effect; the revenue can seem to be just a trickle. However, with Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse getting to keep 64 percent of all the profits, it will take between 15 to 16 months before the casino is able to earn back the $10 million it spent on getting a sports betting license from the state gaming control board – that is, if the rate holds steady. The casino can then begin to make profits after that 15 to 16-month period. Fortunately, this timeframe for all this is definitely not cast in stone since it can be accelerated by such high-profile events as the Super Bowl and college basketball’s March Madness.
Compared to New Jersey, where sports betting has recorded $928 million in revenue since the activity was legalized in June, the revenue recorded by Pennsylvania are just a small sample. The numbers for the month of December 2018 are bound to shoot up once Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia both of which were to begin in sports betting on December 12 are included in the PGCB’s gaming revenue report.
As it stands, the gaming control board’s numbers are limited utility to bettors and industry analysts. This is because the board does not break down sports betting data beyond the aggregated revenue figures for any individual sports wagering facility. As such, it is pretty difficult to tell which sports are attracting the most bets and what kinds of bets are generating the greatest wins for casinos.
What Does the Future Hold for Pa. Sports Betting?
Pennsylvania has been a sports-obsessed state, with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia each having hosted a National Hockey League, a Major League Baseball and a National Football League team. Philadelphia is also home to the National Basketball Association’s 76ers and the Villanova, the defending national champion of men’s basketball.