The burgeoning iGaming market in the US appears to be going from strength, particularly with more than 20 states having legalised sports betting since the controversial PAPSA legislation was struck down in May, 2018.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic also caused online casino and sportsbook activity to increase exponentially through 2020. No state reflected this better than New Jersey, which broke the national sports betting record for five consecutive months from August and generated a staggering $996.3 million in December alone.
The state of Pennsylvania recorded similar growth through 2020, while this trend has continued in the first half of this year too. The best PA online casino sites can be found here, while in this article, we’ll appraise the recent performance of Pennsylvania’s iGaming market and ask what the future is likely to hold.
The History of iGaming and Remote Betting in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has always adopted a progressive approach to gambling, with legislation seen as a tool to monetise the practice while creating more jobs, minimising the state deficit and reinvesting in the wider economy.
It has maintained this outlook throughout the digital age, with Pennsylvania becoming the fourth US state to legalise online gambling, following in the footsteps of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
This was confirmed when the Governor Tom Wolf signed an expansive Gambling Expansion bill into law on October 26th, 2017, with this legislation allowing casino gameplay at truck stops and airsports in addition to websites.
As a result of the legislation, PA is currently the only state to offer both gaming and lottery tickets online, while it was also one of the first jurisdictions to legalise sports betting in the wake of the decision to nullify the PAPSA legislation.
In fact, The Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course took the first legal sports bets in the state in mid-November 2018, with DraftKings and similar platforms also allowing punters to wager both online and through mobile devices in PA.
How the Market Hit Record Heights in May
Thanks to the state’s progressive regulatory outlook, Pennsylvania is now second only to Nevada in total commercial casino revenues, despite the fact that offline casino gambling has only been fully legal there for a decade.
Of course, the market for online casinos and poker rooms will only turn two years old in July, but this continues to enjoy exponential and impressive growth.
This came to a head in May, when total taxable iGaming revenues for PA broke into nine figures for the first ever time, peaking at $101,251,772 in the process. Make no mistake; Pennsylvania is only the second US state to achieve this impressive feat, following in the footsteps of New Jersey in January.
May also saw the total gross gaming revenue for PA (including retail casinos, daily fantasy sports, DFS and iGaming) increase by $352 million year-on-year, from $61 million in 2020 to $413 million this year.
This represents a huge increase, and one that also saw iGaming operators alone pay a total of $41.5 billion in state and local taxes through May.
Overall, the state’s year-on-year growth rate for online gambling was 81% in May, highlighting the soaring demand for casino verticals and the huge impact of legalised sports betting in the state.
In truth, this continued a trend that first began last summer, when the state’s online casinos and poker rooms peaked at $54.4 million in July. This increased to $55.9 million in August, with approximately $24 million being paid out in state, county and local taxes.
Interestingly, the year ending August 2020 saw PA complete its first full year of iGaming operation, and during this time the total online GGY multiplied by a factor of 16%. It’s more than doubled again in the subsequent 10 months too, thanks to a combination of new operators and original outlets including Parx, Rivers and Penn National.
What About the Future for iGaming in PA?
There’s no doubt that online gambling is becoming increasingly lucrative in PA, with even the sports betting niche now dominated by virtual wagers.
More specifically, it was reported that the total sports wagering handle for Pennsylvania was approximately $447.5 million in May, of which $407.4 million was due to online bets.
We should expect this trend to continue in the future, as online casino gameplay and remote betting continue to account for an incrementally larger market share in PA. This is also borne out by the number of operators accepting bets in Pennsylvania, with DraftKings and FanDuel joined by Unibet and Betway (amongst others).