Analysis

Pennsylvania handle hits record as Barstool enters fray

Pennsylvania’s sports-betting handle reached a new record in September at $462.8m as it joined other record-breaking states like New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana in benefiting from the return of major sporting leagues.

The value of states offering regulated online gaming and betting options was already shown during August. 

Pennsylvania’s September handle represented a monthly jump of 26.8% and was the first time its operators totalled more than $400m in turnover.

Pennsylvania is second in the Wedge Index of gaming-friendly states with 86 points compared to New Jersey’s 116 tally. 

Bookmakers generated $18.3m in revenue, which translates into 3.9% hold, a modest margin for states that are seeing record amounts being wagered by consumers.

Promotional credits

This is explained by the fact that many operators are in customer acquisition mode and not overly worrying about generating strong margins for the time being.

September’s tax revenue figures were also much lower, $2.1m compared with August’s $6.2m. This was due to operators using more promotional credits: $12m worth or 65.7% of total revenue in September to recruit customers at the start of the NFL season.

Penn National’s high-profile launch of Barstool Sportsbook contributed to the increase in volume in Pennsylvania. 

Its entry led to a handle of $32.3m although it lost $2.4m in revenue as it handed out $2.2m in promotions.

FanDuel’s sportsbook led the market with $171.2m, DraftKings was second with $118.8m and Rush Street Interactive was third with $64m.

Barstool will push Rush Street hard for that third spot and will likely continue to take losses as it follows its customer acquisition strategy.

Growing market vs. taking market share

Both FanDuel and Rush Street lost market share in September, from 40.9% in August to 37% in September for FanDuel, while Rush Street fell from 15.7% to 13.8%. Barstool took 7% market share after launching on 18 September.

Of Pennsylvania’s point stally, 43 points come from the combined sports-betting and online casino brand competitors.

Pennsylvania’s sportsbook standings will likely consolidate in the coming weeks as the NFL returns to regular weekly games until the Superbowl final at the end of January.

Online gaming handle, excluding poker, rose 14.1% to $926.8m compared during September, much of that total created by betting customers being cross-sold into online casino games, handle for online slots remained flat at $1.1bn. 

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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