Sometimes convenience beats user experience.

Pennsylvania’s first sports betting app, PlaySugarHouse.com, was not available to iPhone customers and had limited deposit options. It didn’t seem to bother customers who are accustomed to summoning meals and rides from the palm of their hand. Sugarhouse’s online sportsbook  generated $573,163 in bets in just four days after launching in late May.

“Though a small sample size, it shows that online sports betting should not only draw significant action over digital channels, it could also help grow the state’s retail sportsbooks,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com.

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Numbers snakebitten by Apple

PlaySugarHouse app is still not available in the Apple Store. Developers are working to meet Apple’s new policy change that requires the apps to be written in code native to the iOS system.

Android users can access the app and Mac users are able to use the desktop version of the SugarHouse sportsbook.

“The Apple policy change has not only limited access to SugarHouse Casino’s online product, it has also significantly slowed the launch of other online sports betting products in the state,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania. “The problem appears to be a bigger hurdle for online casinos than online sportsbooks, but no doubt this will slow the progress of both.”

A summer of sportsbook launches? 

PlaySugarHouse.com is currently Pennsylvania’s first and only online sportsbook.  Expect more to follow this summer. In-progress online betting apps include:

  • Parx Casino Sportsbook
  • BetRivers
  • FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National’s William Hill app
  • Presque Isle Downs’ BetAmerica

No official dates have been announced for official launches. But it’s a safe bet there will be four or five up and running by football season.

Right now, convenience beats user experience. But when there are multiple players in the online game, consumers who get frustrated with a wonky app will have other options.

Limited release, big numbers

One of the golden rules of marketing is to make yourself known. PlaySugarHouse.com did little marketing to promote the launch. They still took in $573,163 in bets across four days. If they kept the same level of action across a month, it would have reaped over $4.4 million in online bets.

May sports betting revenue comes in at $36M

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released May’s sports betting revenue numbers this week. Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks generated $35.9 million in bets and $2.8 million in revenue in May. Compared to April, Pennsylvania’s May handle dipped 2.3% from $36.8 million. Revenue was down 32.2% from $4.2 million.

May’s overall handle for Pennsylvania sports wagering was $35,934,215.  March 2019 marked the highest handle with $44.5 million. It came as a result of the openings of FanDual at Valley Forge and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook along with March Madness betting.

In May, SugarHouse topped all state’s sportsbooks with $711,845 in revenue followed by  Rivers Casino $641,029, and  Parx $639,922. 

Here is the full list of revenue results:

PropertyHandleGross RevenueTax
Rivers Sportsbook$7,924,510$641,029$230,771
SugarHouse Sportsbook$7,934,839$711,846$256,264
Parx Sportsbook$6,809,662$639,922$230,371
Hollywood Sportsbook$3,816,054$210,637$75,830
FanDuel at Valley Forge$2,739,475$240,766$86,675
Harrah's Philadelphia$2,589,147$138,094$49,714
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook$2,745,803$168,815$60,773
The Oaks Race and Sportsbook$1,385,725$110,744$39,868
Total$35,934,215$2,861,853$1,030,267