Ring Out The Bells, Pennsylvania Is Back

Thanks to a massive surge in online action, the financial value of sports betting in the keystone state of Pennsylvania has returned to pre-coronavirus  pandemic levels.

Ringing-in the bells of revival, revenue was up 22 per cent over June and was undoubtedly boosted by the return to action of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), which both resumed playing in late July.

Online betting accounted for an astonishing 94.3 per cent of July’s handle and, it’s been calculated, that around 84 per cent of all sports betting revenue was generated online.

Online gaming brought in over US$61m (£46m) in July, nearly 22 per cent of all casino gaming revenue.

And, most significantly, Pennsylvania’s uptick augurs well for the other US states where virtual gaming and online sports betting is legal.

The state’s casinos reported that revenue returned to pre-pandemic levels in July, and sportsbooks capitalized on the return of major sports to nearly double the handle from June to July.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported a total gaming revenue of US$283m (£214m) in July, compared to US$281.5m (£213m) a year ago.

The increase, while slight, is immensely significant given that most of the state’s 12 land-based casinos were shuttered for four months, from March 16, due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to official date, retail and online sportsbooks generated US$164.8m (£124.7m) in wagers in July, up 85.1 per cent from US$89m (£67.33m) in June and up nearly 180 per cent, from US$59.3m (£44.86m), compared to the same month last year, 2019.

Online betting represented 94.3 per cent, some US$155.4m (£117.57m), of July’s handle and about 84 per cent of sports betting revenue was generated online.

Only a year ago online gaming in Pennsylvania delivered a relatively paltry US$4m (£3.02m).

The Rivers Casino, formerly called the SugarHouse Casino, was the first casino in Pennsylvania to launch iGaming.

The boom in online gambling has undoubtedly helped offset the impact of the pandemic, as many punters remained at home even after most casinos had reopened.

Retail slots revenue, for example, which traditionally accounts for more revenue than all other types of games combined, was down 17 per cent, some US$35m (£26.48m), over the 12-month July-to-July period; while revenue from casino-based gaming tables was also down, by around 32 per cent over the year.

But the betting bells, thanks to online, are back ringing in Pennsylvania.


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