Analysis

Pennsylvania opens up to more licensees

Pennsylvania signals more openings for potential licensees as November sees a fall in handle.

The Pennsylvania regulator has indicated there may be room for more licensees after BetMGM finally received sign-off for its sports betting app.

The news comes in the same week that the latest data shows handle in November dipping by 6.4% on the record number in October. 

The belated launch of the BetMGM sports betting app in Pennsylvania two weeks after its online casino app comes courtesy of rival Penn National.

The BetMGM sports betting license arrives via a partnership with the mini-casino in Berks County which is run by Penn National.

The license cost $10m which goes directly to the state.

It means Pennsylvania now has 11 sports betting licensees and that could be extended further according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

The mini-casino run by Penn is one of five licensed within the state. 

Only the Berks County venue now has a skin, which leaves four other openings if new entrants were seeking an entry route.

Not unusual

The hitching of the MGM/Entain joint venture to the Penn National wagon in Pennsylvania may look like it is giving a leg-up to a rival.

Penn National, of course, only recently launched its own Barstool Sportsbook in Pennsylvania.

But such is the clamor for skins in regulated states that alliances between competitors are frequently a part of the landscape.

Next to launch will be Betfred USA Sports, which will be opening up in partnership with the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem. 

It won approval for a land-based operation in mid-November and said an online site would be launched soon.

Additional brands will add to Pennsylvania’s tally on the Wedge Index of gaming friendliness. 

The Keystone state is currently second on the list with 86 points. This will rise by at least four points as and when BetMGM launches as it is a top brand on the index.

More records

Despite the month-on-month decline in sports betting handle, November was still the second-ever highest month at $492m. 

It was also the best month on record for sports-betting revenue at $37.4m, 91% of all betting took place online.

In terms of the competitive landscape, FanDuel once again topped the charts with 37% of all wagers. This represented a drop from the 41% market share the previous month.

In revenue terms, though, FanDuel was up on the month to $18.8m from both online and retail.

Notably, FanDuel’s promotional credits total was also up significantly to $4.9m, a near 55% rise. At the same time, major rival DraftKings scaled back its promotional credits outlay to $1.7m from $2.3m. 

There has been much discussion about the level of bonusing evident in the Pennsylvania market.

DraftKings’ handle was also down 9% to $112.5m. Gross revenue rose from $6.8m to $7.1m.

Static gaming

Also suffering a reverse in handle was Barstool Sportsbook, which fell back to $57.8m and its market share dipped below 12%.

However, Barstool also saw a decline in revenue, down slightly to $4.9m from $5.2m in October.

Online gaming overall was stationary with revenues at $57.7m. 

Leading the way was the Rivers Casino with 28% market share, followed by DraftKings with 19% of the market and then FanDuel at 17%.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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