Pennsylvania’s October Sports Betting Smashes Record Handle

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Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks took in $829 million in wagers in October, setting a new state record. That’s according to the latest figures from the state regulator, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

However, that record handle for Pennsylvania sports betting did not translate into all-time high revenues. In October 2023, operators held onto of $73.6 million gross winnings, well short of the $84.9 million collected in November 2021.

Overall, the $829 million handle eclipsed the previous record of $797.1 million wagered in October 2022.

This new record handle was fueled by a busy football betting season, featuring top teams from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the NFL, as well as excitement ahead of the end of the regular college football season.

The top online betting operator for the month was market leading FanDuel. The most popular of Pennsylvania retail sportsbooks for the month was Rivers Philadelphia with a $8.939 million in handle, closely followed by Live! Casino Philadelphia at $8.665 million.

FanDuel Leads Competitive Landscape

As is reflected nationally, online sports betting led the way in Pennsylvania by a long distance. October’s total online handle was $773 million, compared to $55 million for retail operations. That’s about 3% of the market for retail ‘books, which is actually better than many states.

As usual, FanDuel and DraftKings were the top operators for the month. FanDuel, maintaining its trend, took the most online bets, whereas DraftKings led in net revenue, a rare occurrence in the state.

FanDuel reported a handle of $325 million and DraftKings $255.5 million, with their revenues closely matched after adjustments for promotional credits.

BetMGM took a distant but solid third place in terms of handle at $51 million.

Locally based Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook took $30.6 million for the month, as it wound down its operations in preparation for last week’s transition and launch of ESPN Bet.

British operator Betfred, partnered with Wind Creek, came in as the least-popular Pennsylvania sportsbook for the month. Its $793,000 online handle was actually surpassed by its retail betting handle of $1.6 million.

Fanatics Sportsbook, operating as PointsBet: A Fanatics Experience, also took a net loss for October in Pennsylvania. It ended up $49,000 in the red off the back of an $11 million handle.

Caesars had the wildest ride of any Pennsylvania sportsbook in October. Its monthly handle was up 17% on September’s numbers, but it lost out badly to bettors and ended up with a $162,000 loss for the month.

Retail Betting Shines in Cities, Still Some Losses

Major Pennsylvania casinos in the state’s largest cities attracted significant crowds to their retail sportsbooks, especially during Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers games.

That was reflected in Rivers Philadelphia and Live! Philadelphia’s dominance over the retail sector.

Retail betting, though a smaller portion of the market, saw $55.8 million in wagers in October overall. That’s up $2.4 million on September’s numbers, or around 4.3%. It translated into revenues of $5.1 million for operators, with some operators losing out significantly.

Hollywood Morgantown’s former Barstool Sportsbook, awaiting its transition to ESPN Bet, lost out to bettors to the tune of $69,583.

Caesars’ retail sportsbook at Harrah’s Philadelphia also posted a similar level of loss to its online operation at minus $173,000 for the month.

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