Monthly Pennsylvania sports betting volume was able to exceed $800 million for the first time in October, undoubtedly fueled by the busy football schedule that included popular and contending teams in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and State College.
The $829 million in combined handle with 12 mobile sportsbooks and 18 retail sites was 4% higher than the prior record of $797.1 million in October 2022, according to the monthly data released Friday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It was also 14.1% above what sportsbooks attracted in September betting.
Sportsbook revenue of $73.6 million gross winnings and $48.2 million after promotional credit deductions was not an all-time high, however. The books’ hold rate of 8.9% — the percentage they retained from wagers — was well below that of the record $84.9 million/$63.7 million revenue month of November 2021.
While last month’s $25.5 million in promotional credits from the operators to entice bettors was substantial and helped drive the record volume, it was still less than the record $29.5 million given away this September to start the new football season.
At the 36% tax rate that is higher in Pennsylvania than in most states, sports betting brought state and local governments $17.3 million in tax revenue in October.
As is the case across much of the country where betting is legal, FanDuel and DraftKings are in tight competition for supremacy in Pennsylvania. While FanDuel as is customary took the most online bets last month, DraftKings was able to edge ahead in net revenue, which has been a rarity in the state.
FanDuel had online handle of $325 million with gross revenue of $29.1 million gross and $18.1 million taxable after adjustments for promotional credits.
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DraftKings reported handle of $255.5 million and revenue of $27.9 million gross/$18.7 million adjusted. The difference for DraftKings is it had a hold percentage of 10.9%, well above the statewide average, while FanDuel was around the norm at 9%.
BetMGM remained solidly in third place both with its handle of $51.6 million and revenue of $4 million/$2 million.
October was the last full month of PENN Entertainment’s operations of Barstool Sportsbook, which it replaced this week with the launch of the ESPN BET brand. The joint PENN/ESPN venture is aiming to substantially increase betting activity from what Barstool attracted, which was $30.6 million in October handle, with $1.4 million in both gross and adjusted revenue due to minimal promotions as it wound down.
October was a mixed bag for Caesars Sportsbook. A 17.7% increase in handle from September was among the best in the state and brought its volume to $36.6 million. Bettors did well against the book, however, as it reported a $162,851 loss after promotional deductions.
BetRivers, meanwhile, had one of its stronger months with $28.4 million in bets and $2.7 million/$1.7 million in revenue.
In addition to Caesars, the site now known as PointsBet a Fanatics Experience took a net loss, falling $49,565 in the red on $11.2 million in bets. The Wind Creek/Betfred operation was also beaten by bettors, though it operates with much lower volume and was just $5,582 in the red.
Retail bets neared $56 million
Retail betting at casinos and off-track betting parlors continues to represent just 3% of the legal wagering done in Pennsylvania, which amounted to $55.8 million in October, or $2.4 million more than the month before.
The operators’ revenue from in-person betting amounted to $5.1 million.
The retail sportsbooks at the large casinos in the state’s biggest cities draw plenty of crowds to watch Eagles and Steelers games and other sporting events and thus lead in betting handle, with Rivers Philadelphia at $8.9 million, Live! Philadelphia at $8.7 million, Parx at $8.1 million, and Rivers Pittsburgh at $5.1 million.
As with online sportsbooks, a couple of casino books were beaten by the public, as Harrah’s Philadelphia lost $173,990 to bettors and Hollywood Casino Morgantown’s operation was taken for $69,583.
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