Analysts: Pa. Sportsbook Solid in April as Online Sports Betting Looms

Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks posted a solid April, but it is what lies ahead that is most important for the state’s fledgling sports betting industry, according to PlayPennsylvania.com analysts.

“The launch of online sports betting will give the first real window into the overall strength of the industry,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Online sports betting will ultimately transform the market and put it more in line with Nevada and New Jersey, the country’s two largest sports betting markets.”

In what should be the final month before online sports betting launches, Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks attracted $36.8 million in April bets. That is down 17% from the record $44.5 million in March, according to official reporting released on Thursday. The vast majority of action came from baseball’s first full month, the Final Four, and the beginning of the NBA and NHL playoffs. In legal jurisdictions such as Nevada, April is typically a slower sports betting month than March.

April bets generated $4.2 million in revenue, down from $5.5 million in March and $1.9 million in February, and injected $1.5 million into state government coffers, down from $1.99 million in March.

The launch of the first Pennsylvania online sports betting app is expected within days or weeks, and more online sportsbooks will soon follow suit. Online betting has proven to be critically important in New Jersey, where more than 80 percent of sports bets are made.

Assuming Pennsylvania bettors show a similar fervor for online betting as their neighbors in New Jersey, the impact will be a game-changer.

“There is no reason to believe that Pennsylvania bettors will behave significantly different than New Jersey in their preference for online sports betting products,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “The convenience and ease of use of sports betting apps make them appealing to most bettors. And having established operators will help get the online market off on the right foot.”

Rivers Casino, the only sportsbook in the Pittsburgh market, remained the market leader by attracting $8.2 million in April bets, down from $11.9 million in March, and $871,753 million in revenue, down from $1.3 million. Rivers was followed by:

· SugarHouse Casino ($7.9 million handle, down from $9.2 million in March; $871,753 revenue, down from $1.2 million)
· Parx Casino ($6.9 million handle, down from $7.96 million; $907,298 revenue, down from $984,339)
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course ($3.9 million handle, down from $5.3 million; $361,249 revenue, down from $521,864)
· FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino Resort ($3.1 million handle, up from $2 million handle; $379,731 revenue, down from $449,597)
· Harrah’s Philadelphia ($2.7 million handle, down from $3.8 million; $282,740 revenue, down from $326,752)
· South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook ($2.6 million handle, down from $3.6 million; $441,692 revenue, down from $534,253)
· Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook ($1.5 million handle, up from $706,089; $195,856 revenue, up from $120,836)

“We expect Rivers Casino to remain strong in the retail market, but online betting will change the market’s dynamics,” Welman said. “The May report will be interesting to see.”

PlayPennsylvania.com
Authored by: Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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