PA Online Casinos Boost Overall Gaming Revenue with Record $60 Million October

PA gaming revenue jumped nearly 13% year over year, thanks in large part to a record $59.8 million October for online casinos and poker combined.

In Pennsylvania, online casinos continued a rocketing revenue run with a record in October of nearly $59.8 million.

That’s a healthy increase from the former record of $57 million set just a month before, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) figures.

Total gaming — retail casino slots and table games, online casinos, retail and online sportsbooks, poker, VGTs and fantasy contests — generated combined revenue of more than $320.2 million. That’s up 12.87% compared to revenue generated in October 2019.

The total tax revenue generated through all forms of gaming was more than $130.1 million during October 2020. Of that, $24.9 million came from iGaming.

Online table game revenue really jumps

In October, interactive slots took in nearly $40.4 million, online table games nearly $17 million and poker more than $2.4 million.

In September, online slots had accounted for more than $39.9 million in revenue, with an additional $14.7 million from online table games.

Also in October, total wagers on table games topped $1 billion — a first.

Online poker steady, VGT revenue up

With just one operator, PokerStars PA via Mount Airy Resort, online poker generated more than $2.4 million in October. That continues a trend down from $2.7 million in revenue in August.

Truck stop video gaming terminals generated nearly as much revenue as online poker — more than $2.4 million. There are now four operators with machines in 37 locations; each location has five machines.

Sports wagering handle hits new highs

In October, sports betting was up significantly over the previous year, with a total handle of more than $525.8 million. That’s more than double the handle a year ago, when it was nearly $241.2 million.

Additionally, the taxable sports wagering revenue figure of $36.8 million for October 2020 set a record, eclipsing the previous monthly revenue high of more than $22.8 million in January of this year.

Nov. 17 marks two years since the very first legal sportsbook opened in Pennsylvania.

Casino-based games down

Casino-based slots and table games, with COVID-19 capacity restrictions, were down 17.22% and 13.43%, respectively, but online gaming channels have made up the difference and then some.

A year ago, there were 23,786 slots on the casino floors, but there were just 16,611 in operation this October.

October online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of October revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$16.6 million$14.1 million$2.5 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$11.0 million$5.1 million$6.0 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$10.0 million$5.0 million$5.0 million
Parx Casino$5.9 million$5.1 million$793,000
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$4.5 million$2.9 million$1.6 million
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.5 million$4.2 million$269,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.6 million$2.1 million$492,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$774,000$628,000$146,000
Wind Creek Casino$596,000$534,000$62,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$485,000$375,000$110,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia $278,000$248,000$30,000
Totals:$57.3 million$40.3 million$17.0 million

Casino operators by the numbers

Five operators had total online casino revenue above $5 million.

  • Rivers Philly, which combines SugarHouse and BetRivers, topped $16.6 million, with more than $14 million in revenue from slots.
  • Penn National/DraftKings topped $11 million in online revenue, with more than half from table games.
  • Valley Forge/FanDuel hit more than $10 million in online revenue, with table games accounting for more than half.
  • Mount Airy, which includes PokerStars and Fox Bet, brought in more than $9.4 million when online table games, online slots and online poker are combined.
  • And Parx had nearly $6 million in iGaming revenue.

Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is still new, trailed everyone with just $278,463 in total online revenue in its third full month in operation.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

Team of Former Rivals Join Forces at Live! Casino Pittsburgh, Soft Opening Nov. 17

Former Western PA gaming execs from Rivers Casino and the Meadows join forces to help run Live! Pittsburgh, which opens to the public later this month.

When Live! Casino Pittsburgh formally opens the 100,000-square-foot facility later this month, a team of former rivals will be at the helm.

Craig Clark was most recently president of Hard Rock Ottawa, which is owned jointly by the Seminole Tribe and the Rideau Carleton Raceway. Before that, he was the general manager of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. Clark is a certified public accountant, coming to Live!’s new $150 million facility as the director of finance.

Clark joins General Manager Sean Sullivan, who previously served as the GM of the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, a Penn National Gaming facility in Western PA.

Plenty of Western PA Experience at Live!

Clark served seven years at Rivers Pittsburgh, ending in 2018, and this move returns him to Western PA after just two years in Ottawa. At Live! Pittsburgh, Clark is responsible for the finance department, which includes accounting, analytics, finance, scheduling, income and revenue audit, purchasing, warehousing, count rooms and the casino cage.

Clark understands the Western Pennsylvania market well and has more than 26 years of diversified experience in the casino industry. In addition to Rivers and Hard Rock, he’s been an executive at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, and Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York.

Along the way, he’s developed local partnerships with a community college to train casino dealers.

He has previously said his philosophy is to design programs around initiatives, provide opportunities and outlets for employees, and enhance the customer experience.

He and Sullivan have a combined 20 years of experience in the Western PA region. Sullivan was named the general manager for Live! Casino back in February.

Live! Pittsburgh opening details

The forthcoming property is in a rehabbed mall space in Westmoreland County and is technically a satellite mini-casino. The property is a project of the Cordish Companies, which is also developing a full-size Live! casino in South Philadelphia, adjacent to the city’s sports stadiums. Joe Billhimer oversees both properties as the Cordish Gaming Group‘s executive vice president.

Live! Casino Pittsburgh is scheduled to open on Nov. 24. There is a media preview on Nov. 12 without the public present. A ribbon-cutting follows Nov. 17, with test-run charity nights for invited guests. The formal opening for the public at large is at 6 p.m. on the 24th.

The location is approximately 30 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, directly off Route 30. Live! features 750 slots and approximately 30 live-action table games, plus a FanDuel Sportsbook. Live! has already launched an online casino, PlayLive! but an online sportsbook is still to come. Live! Philadelphia should open in early 2021.

Live! plans restaurant and bar experience

Live! plans nationally recognized restaurants and live entertainment venues, including Sports & Social Steel City, a sports restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge.

Guy Fieri, an Emmy-award winning chef, restaurateur, New York Times best-selling author and television personality, will open the American Kitchen + Bar in the facility.

Live! Casino is owned and managed by Stadium Casino Westmoreland RE LLC, an affiliate of the Cordish Companies of Baltimore.

Country-themed PBR bar coming next year

Next year, the facility will add the Professional Bull Rider Country BarPBR Pittsburgh‘s newest location — during the second phase of openings.

PBR will be located on the second floor of the facility and feature the area’s only professionally endorsed mechanical riding bull, private VIP booths and the best in country music.

“We want people to have fun at Live! Casino, and PBR Pittsburgh is going to make sure they do,” said Sullivan. “It’s going to be a remarkable venue. Keeping the safety of our guests top of mind, we can’t wait to welcome everyone to PBR for a first-class entertainment experience when it opens next year.”

Live! Casino is now hiring for positions at PBR Pittsburgh. For complete information and job listings, visit www.workatlive.com.

Lead image via Live! Pittsburgh.

The Wait Is Over: Where to Play Live Dealer Tables Games Online in Pennsylvania

The long wait for live dealer games at PA online casinos is over. Find out what took so long, what games you will find and where you can play them.

And just like that, after months of waiting, Evolution Gaming began its test run this week of the first live dealer options in Pennsylvania.

The company, which also operates in New Jersey, where it has at least seven affiliations, has had a conditional PA license since this past January. And it began the process more than a year ago.

The two-day test period for Evolution’s live dealer games ended at 9 p.m. Oct. 22. Following the soft launch, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved it for full-time operation.

Where to play Evolution live dealer games in PA

In PA, Evolution has partnership deals with several online casino operators. The first four casinos to launch came from Rush Street Interactive and Penn National.

Caesars and Parx are also expected to offer live dealer options soon.

Live dealer games on offer at PA online casinos

Evolution launched live dealer variations of blackjack and roulette, with more games to come. As of now, you can find:

  • Roulette Live
  • Blackjack Live
  • Infinite Blackjack Live
  • First Person Blackjack
  • First Person Roulette and Lightning Roulette

Also on the way to PA are:

  • Baccarat Live
  • Three Card Poker Live
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em Live

Live dealer games follow approved rules, side wagers and payout tables, such as those found in a land-based casino.

Appeal of live dealer games

The live games’ appeal is the chance for social interaction, from the comfort of home and with social distancing.

Dealers are playing with real cards from a studio in Philly, while players make decisions from home. So in essence, the live dealer takes the convenience of gaming from home and adds the ability to play table games dealt by real-life dealers.

The long delay since licensing for Evolution

While the game is the same, the remote studio’s approval process was time-consuming, explaining the long lag time.

And while the company was established in New Jersey, it needed a PA studio and a secure server in the Keystone State.

As PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbach told our sister publication, PlayPennsylvania:

“Testing and regulating live dealer studio games is similar to other online casino games from a technology standpoint and is actually similar in many aspects to table games in land-based casinos, except there is no cash or gaming chips and, of course, players are not physically present.

“Since there is a human element in this online gaming, the PGCB must license studio staff who operate the games as we would dealers in a land-based casino. Also, similar to table games setups at land-based casinos, we have to ensure adequate security and surveillance in the studio that allows us to monitor the live dealer and helps us ensure the operator conducts table game operations in accordance with PGCB regulations.”

Evolution Gaming expansion to PA

Evolution Gaming already had eight studios globally and more than 8,000 employees. The company trades on the Stockholm NASDAQ.

As a recruiting incentive, the company tells potential roulette employees they can earn tokens from an unlimited number of gamblers.

In NJ, Evolution offers slingshot roulette, baccarat, three card poker and ultimate Texas hold ’em poker. And it has the potential to offer even more games, according to its website.

James Stern, Evolution’s chief business development officer, said last year of the company’s expansion to PA:

“Demand for our Live Casino services in the US has been phenomenal. We are delighted to be further expanding our US operations by opening a stand-alone studio in Pennsylvania to serve both online operators and land-based casinos in the state.

“We continue to stay at the forefront, maximizing the opportunities in this exciting new market and growing together with our licensees.”

Gearing Up, Live! Casino Philadelphia Begins Rolling in Slots and Table Games

The grand opening is months away, but Live! Casino Philadelphia is readying the gaming floor, installing state-of-the-art slot machines and table games.

While Live! Casino Philadelphia doesn’t have a firm opening date yet in 2021, the Stadium District facility is already installing slots and electronic table games.

Deliveries and installations began this week. Eventually, there will be more than 2,200 state-of-the-art slot machines and electronic table games at the South Philadelphia location at 900 Packer Avenue.

The machines will blend modern titles with slot classics like Lightening Links, Wheel of Fortune, Hot Shots and a full line of Quick Hits and progressives.

Installation hailed as a Live! Casino Philadelphia milestone

Joe Billhimer, executive vice president of Cordish Gaming Group, and Mario Maesano, the senior vice president of marketing for Live!, hailed the slot delivery as a milestone toward the opening.

Live! already has an online casino

And the company debuted its PlayLive! online casino in August, joining PA’s healthy online casino market.

At the other end of PA, the company has announced the opening of Live! Casino Pittsburgh for Nov. 24. The mini-casino is in a rehabbed vacant mall space.

Live! in the eastern part of PA adjoins the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which drew 8.5 million visitors a year pre-COVID-19. The casino is located directly off I-76 and I-95.

Philly Live! details

The Cordish project will also include:

  • More than 1.5 million square feet of gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment space
  • More than 150 live-action table games, including poker
  • A FanDuel sportsbook
  • An upscale 12-story hotel with more than 200 rooms
  • A parking garage

Live! partners with local food vendors

The project is playing up local connections with food purveyors:

  • Lorenzo and Sons Pizza, a South Philadelphia staple since 1970 and one of the 101 best pizzas in America as rated by The Daily Meal.
  • Sang Kee Noodle Bar & Kitchen, a collaboration between the landmark Chinatown restaurant owners Sang Kee Peking Duck House and Strother Enterprises.
  • Termini Brothers, a beloved South Philadelphia bakery with a 99-year history, that will serve cannolis, cookies and cakes.

Cordish already in Philly

While Cordish is new to gaming in PA, the company has a track record elsewhere.

And Cordish also has an established presence in Philly: It is a part of Xfinity Live! near the stadiums.

Live! is expected to provide more than 2,000 permanent jobs, as well as about 3,000 indirect jobs.

Photos via Cordish/Live! Philadelphia.

PA Online Casinos Flex Again with Record $57 Million Revenue in September, Boosted by DraftKings

Chase Claypool isn’t the only one setting records in PA. Online casinos once again outdid themselves, with $57 million in revenue in September 2020.

PA online casino games generated gross revenue of more than  $57 million during September, the highest in a single month so far for Pennsylvania.

Of the September total, online slots accounted for more than $39.9 million in revenue, with an additional $14.7 million from online table games.

In August, online slot games accounted for $39.6 million and online table games just under $13.6 million.

Total online slot wagers held steady at $1.06 billion for September, while table games saw a month-over-month increase from $812.5 million to $926.8 million wagered.

New iGaming record despite poker’s continued slide

Online poker, with just one operator, PokerStars via Mount Airy Resort, generated September revenue of nearly $2.4 million.

Poker continues to slide, down from $2.7 million in revenue in August.

With poker rolled into the other online revenues, the September figure came in at just over $57 million, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) figures.

In September a year ago, when the iGaming industry in PA was just getting off the ground, revenue was just $4.1 million. That revenue has increased nearly 12.8x in September 2020.

Total September revenue up, retail down more than 16%

In September, total gaming and fantasy revenue was more than $284.2 million. That’s an increase of 1% compared to September 2019, when casinos were open at full capacity.

By comparison, slot and table revenue in brick-and-mortar casinos were down 16% in September compared to a year ago.

With sharply fewer machines in play due to virus restrictions, slot revenue last month was more than $157.4 million, and table games revenue was over $59.1 million. Thankfully for the PA gaming market (and tax revenue), online gaming channels have made up the difference.

PA sportsbooks eclipse $400 million in handle

PA sports betting has bounced back in a big way, with September offering a packed-full menu of sports. The total sports handle reached a new record of nearly $462.8 million, more than double September 2019, when the handle was just $194.5 million.

However, the taxable sports revenue figure for September 2020 was just below $6.3 million, which was 58% lower than a year ago, when it was nearly $14.9 million.

September’s handle was a whopping 26.8% increase over the previous record of $365 million set in August.

September online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of September revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$16.1 million$14.4 million$1.7 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$10.2 million$4.6 million$5.6 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$9.1 million$5.1 million$4.0 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$6.6 million$2.7 million$1.5 million
Parx Casino$6.2 million$5.2 million$1.0 million
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.6 million$4.2 million$334,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.4 million$2.0 million$406,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$784,000$748,000$37,000
Wind Creek Casino$562,000$475,000$88,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$406,000$333,000$73,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia $104,000$89,000$15,000
Totals:$54.7 million$39.9 million$14.7 million

Casino operators by the numbers

Five operators had total online casino revenue above $5 million.

Rivers Philly, which combines SugarHouse and BetRivers, topped $16 million, with $14.4 million revenue from slots.

Penn National/DraftKings topped $10 million in online revenue, with the twist that $5.6 million — or more than half — came from table games, which is not the norm. It was the first month since launch in early May that DraftKings Casino surpassed online casino FanDuel for revenue.

Valley Forge/FanDuel hit $9.1 million in online revenue.

Mount Airy, which includes PokerStars and Fox Bet, hit $6.6 million.

And Parx had $6.2 million in revenue.

Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is new, having opened online before having a casino built, trailed everyone else with just $104,000 in total revenue in its first full month in operation.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Know When to Hit Pause: PlayPause Strengthens Responsible Gambling in PA & Beyond

The new PlayPause tool from GeoComply enables tracking of self-exclusion across state lines, boosting responsible gambling measures in PA and beyond.

GeoComply is teaming up to make it easier to manage self-exclusion in the iGaming and online sports betting industries across jurisdictions.

The initiative, PlayPause, comes as part of Responsible Gaming Education Week.

The PlayPause tech is available free

The program is available free of charge to operators via a newly established nonprofit organization, Conscious Gaming.

Conscious Gaming is a philanthropic organization committed to utilizing advanced technology to propel social responsibility initiatives.

State self-exclusions lists can have unintended blowback.

Praise for the PlayPause option

Senior Director of Strategic Communications and Responsibility Cait DeBaun of the American Gaming Association commented:

“Responsible Gaming Education Week spotlights the best of the gaming industry. GeoComply’s PlayPause is an important addition to the responsible gaming continuum. This innovative solution solves for an important need while advancing consumer protections, empowering operators and supporting regulatory bodies.”

According to GeoComply, PlayPause will:

  • Empower operators to strengthen responsible gaming programs — and make more data-driven decisions.
  • Expand the protective self-exclusion bubble as players move from state to state, allowing protection to move with them.
  • Streamline the administrative burden by eliminating silos associated with numerous separate state-operated self-exclusion lists.

As Anna Sainsbury, GeoComply chairman and co-founder, explained:

“At GeoComply, we’re always looking for ways to leverage technology in a meaningful and responsible way. PlayPause is not only an important compliance tool, but a way we can unite the industry and regulators to deepen their shared commitment to responsible gaming and consumer protection.”

PlayPause coming to PA

The tool is rolling out in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania is pleased to be at the forefront of a new responsible gaming tool, designed to strengthen consumer protection and take self-exclusion programs in a new direction,” said Elizabeth Lanza, director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The PlayPause tool is a welcome addition everywhere, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling:

“The NCPG applauds the creation of PlayPause — this is a prime example of how technology and innovation can be leveraged to advance consumer protection and foster a more effective, responsible gaming framework across the gambling and sports betting industries.”

GeoComply said the new tool underscores its commitment to offering innovative solutions to streamline compliance with complex state regulatory requirements.

Tech comes at a time of explosive growth

The surging interest in sports betting underscores the interest in assuring responsible wagering.

PA sports betting handle reached nearly $365 million in August, setting a new all-time high. And online casinos had their best month ever, with $55.9 million in revenue.

FanDuel announced a marketing connection with Pat McAfee, a former NFL punter and now a sports talking head.

Then GVC and MGM added $250 million to Roar Digital, with much of that likely going toward marketing in the US sports betting sector.

And more is in the works.

Time to temper marketing?

In the face of all that, our sister publication LegalSportsReport recently pointed out that the US market could take some lessons from Europe, where marketing was too aggressive.

In that piece, David Briggs, the CEO of GeoComply, said marketing in the United Kingdom had gone overboard for a time with too much advertising.

He said the result was turning people off — or into opponents of sports betting.

AGA supports responsible gaming

The American Gaming Association highlighted several responsible gaming actions as the week came to an end.

  • NASCAR became the first professional league to partner with the AGA’s Have A Game Plan, Bet Responsibly campaign to educate fans about safe wagering practices.
  • The AGA activated the enforcement process for its sports betting marketing code, setting a high bar for responsible advertising by all operators and sportsbooks.
  • Congressional Gaming Caucus co-chairs Reps. Dina Titus of Nevada and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania penned an op-ed on responsible gaming in The Hill.
  • BetMGM reinforced its commitment to responsible gaming by hiring Richard Taylor as its new Responsible Gambling Program manager.

PA Online Casinos Reach Record-High $55.9 Million Revenue in August

August was another hot month for PA online casinos, just topping the May record with slots, table games and poker netting nearly $56 million in revenue.

Online casinos in Pennsylvania generated gross revenue of nearly $55.9 million during August, an increase of $1.5 million over July’s revenue of $54.4 million.

And they set a new monthly record. PA iGaming’s previous peak revenue of $55.8 million for online poker, slots and casino games came in May.

Last August, the gross revenue for online offerings was just about $3.7 million. There was no online poker then, and many fewer online gaming options

Poker added $2.7 million to online revenue in August.

Online slot games accounted for $39.6 million and online table games just under $13.6 million.

Total gambling revenue tops $310 million despite reduced capacity

Overall August revenue was more than $310 million, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) figures for total gaming and fantasy contests.

That’s despite continued reduced capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

During July, it was just under $283.1 million. That month was the first since virus restrictions began in mid-March in which all 12 casinos operated for most of the month.

The monthly figure is an increase of almost 6% over revenue generated in August 2019, when it was more than $293.4 million.

Sportsbooks roar back to life

PA sports betting handle reached nearly $365 million in August, setting a new all-time high and a 122% month-over-month increase in handle for the books. Taxable revenue was $18.4 million, up 126% over July’s $8.1 million.

Even with retail books reopened, 88% of wagers were placed online. FanDuel Sportsbook continues to dominate the space, taking in around 45% of all sports wagers placed online during the month. The operator also broke a single-month record for revenue with nearly $8.9 million via online alone.

DraftKings sportsbook was next best, accounting for 26% of all online bets, $86.8 million in handle and $1.1 million in revenue.

Poker continues slide from April peak

Online poker continued to slide despite the ongoing closure of in-person poker rooms, with August revenue at just above $2.7 million.

Online poker was at just under $3.0 million in July versus $3.2 million in June. In May, poker revenue was $4.6 million, slightly down from its peak of nearly $5.3 million in April.

PokerStars PA remains the only provider of online poker in the Keystone State.

August online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of August revenue, including slots and tables games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly* (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$17.1 million$15.2 million$1.9 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$8.7 million$4.4 million$4.3 million
Parx Casino$7.5 million$6.1 million$1.4 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$6.9 million$2.4 million$1.7 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$6.6 million$3.4 million$3.2 million
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$5.2 million$4.7 million$579,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$3.0 million$2.6 million$409,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$724,000$700,000$24,000
Wind Creek Casino$214,000$239,000($25,000)
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$33,000($50,000)$83,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia (launched Aug. 14)$25,000$24,000$600
Totals:$53.2 million$39.6 million$13.6 million

Rivers, Valley Forge and Parx tops in online revenue

Rivers Philadelphia, which is the combination of SugarHouse and BetRivers, topped the month of August with revenue of $17.1 million, with $15.2 million from online slots.

Valley Forge Casino and its operator FanDuel were second in overall online revenue with $8.7 million, split nearly evenly between slots and table games.

Parx Casino was third with $7.5 million, and it was second only to Rivers in slot revenue with $6.1 million.

Presque Isle Downs and its operator BetAmerica were next to last with just $33,000 in revenue after losing $50,000 on their slot play. They had online table revenue of $83,000 to offset the slot loss.

Live! Casino Philadelphia was the newby player, operating for just half the month of August. Unlike all the others, its physical casinos, in Philly and near Pittsburgh, are not yet even open. Live! had revenue of just $25,000, almost all of it in slots.

Penn Stock Spikes with Barstool Sportsbook Soft Launch in Pennsylvania

Penn National Gaming will be fully live with its prized Barstool Sportsbook app on Sept. 18 in Pennsylvania, pending regulatory approval from the PGCB.

The stock market loved Penn National GamingPENN — today as the company prepared to soft launch its online gambling app with Barstool Sports for three days of testing exclusively in Pennsylvania.

PENN hit $69.77, a 52-week high, around 11:30 a.m., dropping back to just under $68 toward the end of the trading day Tuesday.

The stock, which had hovered in the $25 to $26 range at the start of the year, hit $38.28 a share on Feb. 13, two weeks after the Barstool deal.

But then PENN stock bottomed out at $4.52 on March 18, buffeted by virus shutdowns.

Yahoo Finance reported this week that hedge funds have been taking positions in PENN stock.

If all goes well during testing and Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) regulators give the go-ahead, the first-ever Barstool Sportsbook app will be fully approved on Sept. 18.

Barstool makes 10 online sports betting sites

That would mean Pennsylvania online sports betting sites would number 10. The PA sports sites are in addition to 11 PA online casinos that are already live.

Penn has spent $10 million developing the Barstool app, which is integral to its plans for the future, it has made clear.

Penn owns 41 properties and has more than 20,000 employees.

Barstool Sportsbook rollout begins online in PA

The Barstool app launch in PA is just the beginning of Penn’s plans for the newly acquired brand.

Penn plans to roll out the app in other jurisdictions and rebrand all of the company’s existing retail sports betting venues to Barstool-themed spaces.

That work has not yet begun at its flagship Hollywood Casino in Grantsville.

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Barstool meant to draw younger customers

Penn National began as a family-run horse racing company and slowly grew into a major regional gambling company. Barstool brings a younger demographic to the company.

Penn bought a 36% stake of the oft-controversial Barstool — a Bro Culture sports and lifestyle media company created by Dave Portnoy — at the end of January.

Penn can up its stake to 50% within three years and take full ownership.

The company had hoped to launch by the end of August.

App will feature Barstool personalities

The Barstool app went live for testing in PA at 3 p.m. Tuesday to select pre-registered users. It will be available during specific periods in the three-day testing period before fully launching on Sept. 18, assuming approval by the PGCB.

Exclusive features of the Barstool app include:

  • Quick Pick 6 parlay builder: Get random pick 6 parlays and adjust from there
  • Barstool personality picks and parlays: Back or fade Barstool crew picks
  • Move the line: Give up or get extra points to tailor lines to your liking
  • Barstool daily odds boosts

Images via Penn National/Barstool Sportsbook app.

PlayLive! Now Live: Make It 11 Online Casino Operators in Pennsylvania

Live! online casino is now available in PA with a large selection of games, launching ahead of the forthcoming brick-and-mortar Live! Casino properties.

Priming the pump, the Cordish Gaming Group opened its PlayLive! Casino app earlier this month, making a bit of history.

It launched its Live! app well ahead of grand opening plans for brick-and-mortar casinos on both sides of Pennsylvania. That’s a first for PA online casino sites.

Online before Live! properties in Western and Eastern PA

PlayLive! is the first branded online gambling site that has launched a mobile site before the opening of its related physical casinos.

And it is Cordish’s first online venture.

A new Live! mini-casino near Pittsburgh is set for opening this fall. A full-sized casino in the stadium district of Philadelphia is expected for early next year.

And the company is making a bid to buy another available mini license on Sept. 2. That will take place during the upcoming Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting.

Qualify for Live! Rewards online

The online casino site is linked to the Live! Rewards customer loyalty program already in play at Cordish’s established casino properties. It allows Live! to begin to connect with PA guests before they can physically visit a Live! property in PA.

The program is free. Members qualify for benefits and perks on both PlayLive! and at all Live! Casino & Hotel properties.

Well-stocked site

The lively GAN-powered Live! site offers about 100 slot titles, plus table games and video poker.

And there are lots of incentives to start:

  • Up to $750 in deposit bonuses, plus 100 free spins. There is a 20x-playthrough requirement, and the offer ends on Oct. 4.
  • Bet $30 on the popular progressive slot Divine Fortune and get 30 free spins.
  • A leaderboard that offers 200 free spins.

Rob Norton, president of Cordish Gaming Group, explained in a statement:

“This site certainly illustrates our ability to enhance the traditional launch timeline of our new casino projects. PlayLive! will provide a sneak peek of our brand to the future guests of Live! Casino Pittsburgh and Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia.

“PlayLive! will enable us to connect with guests virtually until we can greet them physically. The site will definitely build buzz and excitement for what’s to come in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia soon.”

To that end, games are configured as they would be at Live! Casino properties, providing similar gaming experiences online to what customers will find in the live casinos.

The PlayLive! online lineup

Slots include the classics:

  • Wheel of Fortune: Triple Extreme Spin
  • Wheel of Fortune: Hawaiian Getaway
  • Jumanji
  • Cleopatra
  • 100,000 Pyramid
  • Da Vinci Diamonds
  • Triple Red Hot 777 Free Games

Table games at PlayLive!:

  • Blackjack
  • Four types of roulette
  • Baccarat

Video poker at PlayLive!:

  • Game King
  • Deuces Wild
  • Jacks Are Better

The site is now accessible on desktop, mobile and Android.

An iOS app is expected “in the coming weeks,” according to a customer rep.

The presence of Live! in PA follows the launch of Wind Creek’s online casino.

Online launch dates

  • Hollywood Casino: July 2019
  • Parx Casino: July 2019
  • SugarHouse (now Rivers Casino Philadelphia): July 2019
  • PokerStars (Mount Airy): November 2019
  • Unibet (Mohegan Sun): November 2019
  • FanDuel (Valley Forge Casino): January 2020
  • Bet Rivers (Rivers Casino Pittsburgh): January 2020
  • Bet America (Presque Isle): January 2020
  • Caesars: April 2020
  • Wind Creek Casino: July 2020
  • PlayLive!: August 2020

There’s no word yet on the launch for a sportsbook for Live! but a representative for Cordish confirmed that FanDuel is its sports betting partner. A launch by end of the year is quite possible, as a Live! executive previously predicted an online sportsbook by the end of August.

Online casinos remain hot in PA

Online casinos have been on a roll, generating gross revenue of $54.4 million during July. That’s 8.6% higher than in June.

Revenue then was $50.1 million. June and July were both down just slightly from PA iGaming’s peak revenue of $55.8 million in May.

Two brick-and-mortar facilities catering to gamblers recently reopened

Across the street from the Philly Live! Casino site, the South Philadelphia Turf Club has reopened since shutting down in mid-March due to the virus pandemic.

It could have reopened weeks ago, but the Parx Casino satellite facility chose to stay shut.

Also reopened to customers for the first time since the pandemic is the outdoor section of Xfinity Live! It’s a sports bar near Live! Casino and the stadiums, but without a retail gambling option.

PA Online Casinos Top $50 Million in Revenue For Third Month Straight in July

It’s been a red-hot summer for PA online casinos, which posted their second-highest-ever revenue of $54.4 million in July, with the market still growing.

Online casinos in Pennsylvania generated gross revenue of $54.4 million during July.

That’s 8.6% higher than in June. Revenue then was $50.1 million. June and July were both down slightly from PA iGaming’s peak revenue of $55.8 million in May.

Offering a longer perspective on the astounding online growth, a year ago, when there were only three online wagering options available in PA, the monthly revenue was just $812,000. And the highest revenue pre-pandemic closures came in at $19.5 million (in February).

Total gambling revenue $283 million despite ongoing virus recovery

In the larger context, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board  (PGCB) figures show that total gaming and fantasy contests revenue generated during July was just under $283.1 million.

That’s a 0.6% increase over revenue generated a year ago, when it was $281.5 million.

July was the first time since state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in mid-March that all 12 casinos operated for most of the month.

VGTs are back in the black, online poker continues a slide

With truck stop VGTs back in action in July and additional locations operating, those machines generated nearly $2.1 million in revenue.

The one down number was online poker at just under $3.0 million this July versus $3.2 million in June. In May, poker revenue was $4.6 million, down slightly from its peak of nearly $5.3 million in April. The sole site in the state remains PokerStars PA, with others expected to join soon.

Wind Creek, Live! new online players, with more to come

Wind Creek Bethlehem went live with an online casino on July 24 and generated just over $34,000 in revenue from online slots and table games for the month. Wind Creek’s Betfred-branded online sportsbook is expected to follow soon, possibly before the start of NFL. It’s also building a retail Betfred sportsbook.

A Live! online casino (PlayLive!) launched on Aug. 14 and will appear on next month’s revenue report. Sports betting should follow soon. And there are still more online betting sites on the way to PA.

Penn National, under the Barstool Sports brand, plans to launch retail and online sports betting in Q3.

Additionally, BetMGM/ROAR Digital is in the process of getting approval to launch an online casino, online sportsbook and online poker via partypoker, all expected before the end of 2020.

And finally, the  WSOP.com online poker site is also heading to PA, though the exact timeline is unclear. That would leave just Golden Nugget to launch online slots and table games, but that could happen sooner than expected as well.

July online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of July revenue, including slots and tables games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly* (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$15,459,938$13,923,955$1,535,983
Penn National* (Hollywood & DraftKings)$10,752,504$8,321,3482,431,156
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$8,405,186$4,402,474$4,002,712
Parx Casino$7,428,752$6,303,743$1,125,009
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$5,269,087$3,175,326$2,093,762
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2,856,028$2,165,866$690,163
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$831,865$805,815$26,050
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$327,875$321,815$6,061
Wind Creek Bethlehem
(launched July 24)
$34,414$25,409$9,005
Totals:$54.4 million$39.4 million$11.9 million

Top iGaming sites in PA

Rivers Philly, which runs sister sites SugarHouse and BetRivers, had the top online revenue in July with $15.5 million. The majority came from slots.

Penn National, with Hollywood and DraftKings casinos, posted revenue of $10.8 million.

And Valley Forge‘s FanDuel accounted for $8.4 million.

Sports betting revenue

The statewide sports wagering revenue was over $8.1 million, with nearly $6.9 million from online sports betting and nearly $1.3 million from the still-recovering retail sportsbooks. That was up 22% over June revenue, with total sports handle up a whopping 85% month over month. In July, total handle was $164.8 million, compared to June’s $89.0 million.

The top two PA sports betting operators remain FanDuel (Valley Forge) and DraftKings (The Meadows). FanDuel took $69.7 million in bets in July, compared to DraftKings’ $39.6 million.

However, DraftKings was tops in total revenue at $1.9 million, with $1.8 million coming from online. FanDuel came in second with total revenue of nearly $1.4 million. It lost nearly $56,000 settling retails accounts, but made up for it with more than $1.4 million in online revenue.