On the debut of Pennsylvania Sports Betting

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Pennsylvania Notices $17.5 Million in Sports Betting Handle in First Two Months of Access.
Legalized Sports Gambling Generates More than $855,000 in Tax Revenue.

Despite having legalized gambling for only two months, Pennsylvania received a nice boost in tax revenue thanks to Keystone State bettors. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported that $17.5 was wagered since Governor Tom Wolf signed the sports betting bill into law. At a 34% tax rate on gross revenue, Pennsylvania raked in $855,284.  

Alex Donohue of US-Bookies.com, noting trends in other states with legalized sports wagering, expects these per-month figures to rise in 2019. “Pennsylvania casinos and the state government benefited from legalized sports betting in a very short time. There was a significant rise from November to December, due in part to two more betting outlets opening their doors. We expect this to continue as more sportsbooks open, as it aligns to what we noticed in New Jersey. As Pennsylvania residents have greater access to more betting outlets and resources such as www.Bet-PA.com, 2019 figures will certainly notice drastic increases.”

Figure 1 shows the spike in betting handle during the second month of legalized sports gambling in Pennsylvania. Along with showing that sportsbooks were immediately popular to Keystone State residents and visitors, data indicates that more outlets will yield greater amounts being wagered, resulting in increased state revenue.

Figure 1

Trend Aligns with NJ

The Pennsylvania Gaming Board did not finalize the rules for sportsbooks until August of 2018, and actual betting was not made available until November, when Penn National Gaming’s sportsbook went live. Even with only one available outlet, Pennsylvania residents and visitors wagered $1.4 million on sports. When Rivers Casino and Sugarhouse Casino launched their sportsbooks, this handle spiked to $16.1 million. With at least four more on the horizon – plus online sports betting – 2019 will enjoy drastically more money wagered and revenue generated.

This trend is indicative of betting data in neighboring New Jersey, when early numbers were relatively low due to limited access to legalized betting. The combined $47 million betting handle from June and July shot to $95 million in August when more sportsbooks opened and mobile betting followed. The subsequent months noticed larger increases in total handle, resulting in more money earned for the state.

“New Jersey had online and mobile betting ready by Thanksgiving, leading to $330 million being wagered in November. Because Pennsylvania legalized gambling months later, it a much smaller betting handle during a historically heavy wagering period,” said Donahue. “One lesson New Jersey’s trends have taught us is that convenience is a key factor in people placing bets. So, we should see considerably larger monthly numbers once online sports gambling is live in Pennsylvania.”

Helping the Keystone State

Generating tax revenue is a major benefit for legalized sports gambling. Pennsylvania’s 35% tax rate on the revenue sportsbooks and casinos gain from bets is a much higher than New Jersey, which taxes 8.5% on bets placed in-person and 13% for online and mobile wagers. Combining these taxes with fees paid by casinos for the proper sports betting licenses creates millions in direct financial gain for the state. In fact, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that seven casinos have paid the $10 million fee for sports betting. Prior, eager bettors took their money offshore or to nearby states, such as New Jersey.  

Pennsylvania is the fifth most populous state, according to World Population Review. As the demand for sports betting grows, casinos and sports books will need to hire more staff to provide access to the growing base of would-be gamblers, further boosting the state economy.

Enter US-Bookies

To meet the demand of the Pennsylvania sports bettor, Better Collective has built Bet-PA as part of its network of state-specific betting websites through its US-Bookies hub. Following the model of Bet-NJ, Bet-PA connects those who wish to wager with state-approved sportsbooks. Strategic partnerships with the best casinos allow the US-Bookies network to provide gamblers with exclusive benefits when using the sportsbooks.

Websites in the US-Bookies network aggregate sports betting, horse racing, politics, gambling legislation and online betting data related to each state. Users can access step-by-step guides for placing bets and wagering responsibly, creating a more favorable gambling experience. Bet-PA is joined by Bet-NJ, Bet-WV, and Bet-NY in the network, and more sites are slated to follow as more states begin the process to legalize sports gambling.