Pennsylvania Sports-Betting Handle Falls Again in May, But Revenue Ticks Up

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported on Thursday that the total sports-wagering handle for Pennsylvania in May was approximately $447.5 million, down from April.

Posted: Jun 18, 2021 12:00 PM ET Updated: Jun 18, 2021 12:00 PM ET Est Time: 3 min
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It was a mixed bag for Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks in May, as the betting handle fell again over the previous month but revenue picked up. 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported on Thursday that the total sports-wagering handle for the state in May was approximately $447.5 million, of which $407.4 million was due to online bets.

Pennsylvania’s May handle was down from that of April, when $479.4 million in sports bets were taken in the state, which was itself a drop from the $560.3 million in wagers placed in March. 

However, after paying out winners, the total revenue for the state's sportsbooks last month was $37.4 million, making their May hold about 8.4 percent. In April, Pennsylvania's books reported only $36 million in revenue — and a hold of 7.5 percent.

Promotional credits provided by the books stayed relatively flat last month compared to April, at about $9.7 million. 

Still much improved over 2020

Furthermore, May’s numbers were much improved over the pandemic-struck May 2020, when gambling facilities were shuttered and revenue dried up. 

“In releasing and historically comparing the May figures, the Board again noted that due to COVID-19 restrictions, all casinos were closed during the entirety of May 2020, so no revenue was generated by slot machines, table games or retail sportsbooks,” the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said in a press release.

The regulator also noted that “sports wagering numbers were greatly affected in May 2020 due to the shutdown of major North American sports leagues.”

Both online and in-person betting is allowed in Pennsylvania, which was one of the first to legalize such wagering after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, paving the way for wider-spread sports gambling. 

The top sportsbook in Pennsylvania last month in terms of handle was again the Valley Forge Casino Resort, which is partnered with FanDuel, and which racked up about $163.5 million in bets.  

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