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PA gambling revenue halves in March amid Covid-19 shutdowns


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) saw gambling revenue in the state more than half in March due to the widespread shutdown of casinos and postponement of sports events as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Revenue for the month – comprising land-based table games and slots, online casino, sports betting, fantasy sports and video gaming terminals – amounted to $153.5m, down by 51.5% from $316.3m in March 2019. The monthly total was also 49.6% lower than the $304.3m recorded in February this year.

The PGCB noted declines across all verticals, with the exception of online casino, which has remained unaffected by the pandemic. Sports betting also saw growth, despite many sporting events having been postponed or cancelled, significantly limiting betting options for punters.

The biggest drop came in the land-based casino sector, after casinos were forced to close from March 17, to slow the spread of the virus.

Slots revenue amounted to $87.6m, down by 61.4% from March 2019 and 56.1% from $199.7m month-on-month. Table games revenue was also down 59.9% year-on-year to $33.1m, with this total 57.2% lower than $77.4m in February.

Another land-based form of gambling, video gaming terminals, saw revenue fall 30.0% year-on-year to $934,004, with the amount also 24.2% below the $1.3m posted in February of this year.

Looking at sports betting, revenue for March came in at $6.9m, up 46.8% from $4.7m in February, with online revenue amounting to $6.2m and retail revenue $657,566, as a result of a strong hold percentage.

However, handle was down 60.2% month-on-month to $131.3m, with players spending less on betting as the sporting calendar was significantly cut.

Valley Forge Casino and partner FanDuel reclaimed top spot in terms of sports betting revenue, posting $2.7m for the month. Meadows and DraftKings, which led the market in February, slipped to second with $1.5m in revenue.

No other operator was able to post sports betting revenue in excess of $1m for the month, though Parx Casino reported $786,249, Rivers Casino Philadelphia $748,265 and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh $666,130.

In terms of fantasy sports, revenue was down by 57.4% month-on-month to $723,942, with the lack of sports events harming operators.

Switching attention to online gaming, and this sector of the state’s market saw significant growth, with revenue amounting to $24.3m, up 24.5% from $19.5m in February.

Online slots were the main source of income, generating $12.4m in revenue, with table games revenue amounting to $8.8m and poker $3.1m.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia headed the Pennsylvania igaming market with $6.8m in revenue, ahead of the Mount Airy Casino Resort on $6.0m and the Valley Forge Casino Resort with $5.0m.

Other stand-out performers included Parx Casino with $2.7m in revenue and the Hollywood Casino at Penn National on $2.6m.