The pending launch of online sports betting and online casino games is generating attention in Pennsylvania. The exact date falls under the “coming soon to a casino near you” category.
The upfront licensing fees associated with Pennsylvania gambling expansion have injected more than $385 million into Pennsylvania coffers so far. The law went into effect in November of last year.
That figure exceeded state budget estimates, according to a press release from PlayPennsylvania.com. The figure is a combination of:
- Upfront licensing fees for online casinos, sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar casinos
- Mini-casino auction profits
- Tax revenue from lottery expansion and daily fantasy sports
Breaking down the combined numbers, Pennsylvania has netted more than $1 million a day since late 2017, according to analysis provided by PlayPennsylvania.com.
“The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue from gamblers,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Clearly, there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate fees.”
The equation does not include revenue from online sports betting, slots and table games, which are expected to start launching during the first quarter of 2019.
Breaking down the gambling numbers
The revenue estimates tabulated by PlayPennsylvania.com consists of a combination of official statistics and estimates based on iLottery, Keno and virtual sports sales numbers.
Using return-to-player rates of the lottery games, PlayPennsylvania estimates that through October, the state has generated more than $23 million in revenue and includes:
- Online lotto games:, $19.6 million
- Keno: $3.6 million
- Virtual sports: $87,000
Here is a breakdown of other sources of revenue:
- Mini-casino auction profits:, $128 million
- Interactive gaming petitions:, $94 million
- Casino licensing:, $78 million
- Sports betting petitions:, $60 million
- Fantasy sports tax revenue: $1.4 million
For comparison purposes, Pennsylvania collected $799.8 million in statewide slot revenues during the fiscal year 2017-18. Pennsylvania estimated in February that it will generate more than $34 billion in general fund revenues for its 2018-19 fiscal year.
Online sports betting factor
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has approved sports betting licenses for:
All of the properties plan on offering online and retail sports betting. With the opening of Rivers and SugarHouse on Thursday, there are now three retail sportsbooks in the state. Revenue from November and Hollywood Casino should come out in the next few days.
“The addition of sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”