New Shooter! DraftKings Announces DK Craps With Plans To Stake Claim As First Operator With Game In PA

Pennsylvania online craps appears to be close to arrival with the announcement of DK Craps and its expansion plans into PA.

The wait for craps in Pennsylvania online casino apps appears it is about to “seven out” soon. On Monday, DraftKings announced it debuted a new spin on craps in its app in New Jersey, with plans to do the same with the casino favorite in Pennsylvania in the future.

There’s no timeline for the game’s launch in PA right now. However, DraftKings Casino PA believes its online craps game will provide an extremely realistic experience for players in PA when it debuts. Currently, none of Pennsylvania’s 14 online casinos offer craps.

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First online craps game coming soon to PA

The DraftKings-built and exclusive craps title is now live on its NJ app. According to the press release, DraftKings craps would arrive in PA “pending regulatory approval.”

It could come quickly. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board director of communications Doug Harbach said last July that craps is permitted for PA iGaming licensees. Harbach stated that it appears to be a decision by the licensees as to why they weren’t offering it already.

Online casinos arrived in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2019 with a roster of online slots and table games like blackjack and roulette. Live dealer launched in Oct. 2020 after months of anticipation. So, why was craps, one of the most popular games at brick-and-mortar casinos, not available?

It’s likely due to the difficulty in creating an online experience that is similar to playing craps at a physical table with other people. However, DraftKings thinks it met the challenge.

DraftKings online craps touts authentic features

DraftKings believes that when it goes live in PA, craps veterans who regularly hit the tables at Pennsylvania casinos will find its version familiar.

“As the most realistic craps game on the market, we are excited to offer a premier online experience within our top-rated casino product,” said Jason March, DraftKings’ Vice President of iGaming. “Craps was a challenging game to develop given the seemingly endless paths players can take. So, I could not be prouder of our internal teams taking on this game development to deliver an authentic experience.”

Among the elements that DraftKings tailored are:

  • Ability to place multiple bets with a single tap
  • Multi-directional rolling/swiping of the die
  • Option to leave bets on the table after each win

The game also features dedicated help functions including a tutorial. With those additions, the odds of each potential outcome and answers to questions on how to play the game in any situation are always a tap away.

While it may be difficult to replicate the social element of playing craps in an app, DraftKings thinks it has everything else covered. If it can get the product live in PA quickly, it could have an advantage in the market.

DraftKings part of Penn National Gaming PA online dominance

One of the innovations of this game is that it’s available on the DraftKings Casino app. Most online craps games remain relegated to desktop iGaming platforms.

For a period of time, DraftKings could be the only PA online casino app offering craps. That should help DraftKings in the mix for the market leader in PA online casino revenue.

In PA, Penn National Gaming has three online “skins” – DraftKings Casino, BetMGM Casino, and Hollywood Casino. The trio combined to bring in nearly $36 million in revenue in April. The table games segment of revenue for that licensee for that month dominated, nearly equalling the next two competitors’ figures combined. If successful, this game could augment that success.

Regardless, DK Craps seems on a path into PA at some point. That will mean the end to prospective players’ patient pining for such a play.

Lead image courtesy of DraftKings. 

PA iGaming Sites Soar Toward Record $100 Million Revenue In March

A huge spike in slots and table games, led by Penn National and Rivers iGaming brands, spurred a new record for PA online casinos in March.

PA iGaming reached new record highs in March 2021, flirting with $100 million in monthly revenue for the first time ever, according to numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Thursday.

Altogether, PA online casinos (online slots and table games) and online poker brought in $97.7 million, besting last month’s revenue of $77.8 million by a whopping 25.6%.

Last month, newly-launched Michigan got the nod for second in online casino revenue, behind New Jersey, but MI and PA were neck and neck.

While it’s not likely that Pennsylvania will surpass NJ in online casino revenue just yet, these numbers may help the Keystone State regain its second-place spot...at least for this month.

Breaking down PA online casino revenue in March 2021

After a strong and steady Dec.-Feb., the only months with revenue above $70 million, March brought all-time highs for slots and table games at Pennsylvania’s now 13 online casinos.

Online slots in March:

  • Total wagers: $1.8 billion
  • Revenue: $66.4 million
  • State tax: $22.6 million
  • County/local tax: $13.3 million

Online table games in March:

  • Total wagers: $1.5 billion
  • Revenue: $28.9 million
  • State tax: $4.0 million
  • County/local tax: $577K

Slot revenue saw a massive 31.3% revenue jump over the previous month, while online tables had a healthy 16.9% increase.

PokerStars PA, still the only online poker operator in the state, took a slight dip from February’s $2.5 million to $2.4 million in March revenue.

PA online casino leaders in March 2021

With relatively recent additions of BetMGM Casino and Borgata Online Casino, the PA iGaming market is zooming toward maturity. In PA, each land-based iGaming license holder can partner with up to three “skins” or online casino brands. As a result, it’s no surprise that Penn National remains a leader in online casino revenue. Penn now has Hollywood Casino, DraftKings Casino, and BetMGM Casino contributing to its online revenue. Those three sites combined for $33.6 million in revenue in March, a 20% increase over Feb.

Rivers Philadelphia is not far behind with its sister brands, BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse. Those two sites brought in $27.1 million in March revenue, representing a huge 50% increase over the previous month. Most of that growth came from slots, which brought in $22.6 million ($15.1 million in February).

The third place operator is Valley Forge Casino. With just one online gaming brand, FanDuel, VF took in $16.4 million in revenue. There is a large drop-off between FanDuel and the next highest revenue earner, Parx.

PA iGaming operator revenue in March 2021

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Penn National (DraftKings, Hollywood, BetMGM)$33.6 million$22.2 million$11.4 million
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$27.1 million$22.6 million$4.4 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$16.4 million$7.1 million$9.3 million
Parx Casino$6.1 million$5.3 million$801,000
Mount Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$4.8 million$2.9 million$1.9 million
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$3.4 million$2.9 million$489,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$1.6 million$1.3 million$298,000
Wind Creek Casino$1.4 million$1.4 million-$2,000
Presque Isle Downs (TwinSpires)$499,000$168,000$330,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia (PlayLive!)$426,000$396,000$30,000
Totals:$95.3 million$66.4 million$28.9 million

Lead image via Dreamstime.

Spanish 21 Blackjack Coming To Pennsylvania As Part Of DraftKings Casino Expansion

DraftKings Casino has expanded its menu with a new Spanish 21 Blackjack variant and the title will be available in Pennsylvania soon.

For PA online casino players who enjoy variants on traditional games, waiting for DraftKings Casino to bring its new Spanish 21 Blackjack game to the Keystone State might feel like sitting across from a dealer who is on 16. The game is currently available only in New Jersey.

DraftKings is clear that it plans to make that and other new titles in its menu available in other markets soon. It precedes a collaboration with a new game provider that ensures DraftKings’ portfolio is competitive.

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What is Spanish 21 Blackjack?

The table game variant resembles standard Blackjack in most ways. For instance, the dealer in the game has to hit on 16 and stand on 17. The object of the game is still to get closer to 21 than the house without going over.

The variances can not only prolong the game but also give gamblers an edge. For any player who hits a natural 21 on the first two cards, it’s an automatic win, even if the dealer does the same. Additionally, there’s the option to double down on any number of cards.

Should players desire, they can surrender on the original wagers after doubling down or splitting aces. In this way, it’s theoretically possible to draw unlimited subsequent cards. Of course, doing so could cost you a lot if you lose.

This game will add to the contingent of exclusive titles only available on DraftKings’ casino platform in PA when it goes live. To date, there’s no official timeline. DraftKings is adamant that the game will eventually be available to players in Michigan, PA, and West Virginia, though.

When that happens, it will also supplement the variety of Blackjack titles on the app. DraftKings currently offers options like single-hand and standard games with a number of themes. Basketball Blackjack, anyone?

If variety is the spice of life, then it’s imperative for online casino apps in PA to be well-seasoned. DraftKings recently made another move to deliver players extra spice.

DraftKings adds game provider with interesting implications

The connections in the online gambling industry can be intriguing at times. For example, BetAmerica Sportsbook ran on SBTech’s platform until the middle of last year. DraftKings owns SBTech. Thus, you could say DraftKings had a vested interest in the success of a competitor.

The same thing goes for a new addition to DraftKings’ roster of game providers. That now includes DGC, which is a joint venture between Entain and MGM. MGM’s own online gambling product, BetMGM, competes with DraftKings and was the first to offer DGC games.

Slot titles in that portfolio include:

  • 9 Masks of Fire
  • Assassin Moon
  • Diamond Inferno

Again, players in NJ have access to those games now. DraftKings plans to take them live in PA at some point.

A win-win

B2B (business to business) products like these are wins for everyone involved, regardless of the fact that DraftKings and MGM compete in some ways. DraftKings keeps its casino offerings competitive while through DGC, MGM gets another viable revenue source.

Think of this as a farmer’s market where multiple individuals bring their goods for sale to a central location. By cooperating in a way that makes all the products accessible at one location, everyone enhances their chances of making sales.

Hopefully, the wait won’t be long for PA gamblers to enjoy DraftKings’ additions. Spanish 21 Blackjack and the DGC games should be worth the wait, though.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

February Revenue: Online Casinos Save The PA Gaming Bacon With Another $70M-Plus Month

Overall PA gaming revenue was steady year-over-year in February thanks to some huge gains in online casinos and sports betting.

According to state figures, the combined total revenue generated from all forms of gaming and fantasy contests during February was almost $302 million, a decline of less than 1% compared to a year ago.

January revenue, by contrast, was more than $311 million.

PA online casino revenue in February was above $70 million for the third month straight.

The release of the gaming revenue figures came exactly one year since the virus pandemic led to orders to shutter all Pennsylvania casinos for what was then an indefinite period, setting off a rippling shockwave that is still being felt.

The virus’s effects began several weeks before the ordered state shutdown and likely had some influence on last February revenue numbers.

Michigan sprints past PA in revenue

Despite a record for per-day revenue of $2.8 million for all online games in February, Pennsylvania is now just the third-largest online casino market in the U.S.

Newly launched Michigan is in second place, and New Jersey remains first.

Looking back a year, PA statewide revenue was down by just .78%, from $304.4 million in 2020 to nearly $302 million this February.

Total online gambling revenue in February was nearly $77.8 million.

Online slots accounted for nearly $50.9 million. Table games brought in nearly $24.7 million in revenue and poker revenue in February was just above $2.5 million.

Total tax revenue generated collectively through all forms of gaming, including video gaming terminals and fantasy contests, was nearly $122.9 million during February.

Revenue online rocketed, retail hung on

Over the past year, retail slots were down by nearly 27% to $145.8 million, and retail table games revenue fell off by nearly 25.9%.

But PA online casino games saved the gaming revenue bacon.

Online slot revenue jumped more than 425% in 12 months. And online table games climbed 207.5%.

While down from record revenues, online poker was still up YoY in February by almost 37.7%, with more than $2.5 million in revenue.

Sports betting revenue from all sources was up more than 246.9% over last year, with combined revenue of more than $16.4 million. Total handle was $509.5 million, PA’s fourth best month.

An uneven experience year-over-year

The bounce-back from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears extremely uneven at the casino properties.

Double-digit decreases in revenue percentages during this February versus a year ago were the norm for most casinos, but several properties defied the trend.

Two – Hollywood and Valley Forge – posted amazing numbers.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National was up just over an astounding 82% at almost $41.9 million, largely due to online. Online accounted for nearly $28 million at Hollywood. The online slot revenue was nearly $17.7 million. Online table games were more than $10.3 million.

The other gainers were:

  • Valley Forge Casino Resort up more than 66.4% with more than $31.5 million.
  • Mount Airy Casino up more than 3.9%,  up to nearly $19.5 million this February.

Revenue percentage losers outnumbered winners

The biggest loser year-over-year was Rivers Pittsburgh, down nearly 38%, with revenue of nearly $21.5 million, compared to $34.6 million a year ago.

The other percentage losers were:

  • Parx at 18.8% down.
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia at nearly 6% off.
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem off more than 29.3%.
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono down 25.6%.
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia off more than 32%.
  • The Meadows Casino down more than 26%.
  • Presque Isle Downs and Casino off more than 27.6%.

February PA online casino breakdown by operator

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

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Penn National (DraftKings, Hollywood, BetMGM)$28.0 million$17.6 million$10.3 million
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$18.0 million$15.1 million$2.8 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$15.5 million$6.7 million$8.9 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$4.7 million$3.3 million$1.4 million
Parx Casino$4.0 million$3.5 million$475,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.1 million$1.9 million$204,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$1.4 million$1.1 million$242,000
Wind Creek Casino$656,000$718,000($62,000)
Presque Isle Downs (Twinspires)$518,000$200,000$319,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia (PlayLive!)$397,000$370,000$27,000
Totals:$75.3 million$50.6 million$24.7 million

Casino operators by the numbers

The clear front-runners in PA’s online casino race are Penn National (which includes DraftKings, Hollywood, and BetMGM), Rivers Philadelphia (which includes SugarHouseBetRivers, and the brand new Borgata Casino), and Valley Forge, with FanDuel.

A look at top PA online casino operators in February:

  • Penn: Total revenue $28 million (slots: $17.6 million; table games: $10.3 million).
  • Rivers Philly: Total revenue $18 million (slots: $15.1 million; tables: $2.8 million).
  • Valley Forge: Total revenue $15.5 million (slots: $16.7 million; tables: $8.9 million).

Lead image via Dreamstime.

PA Online Casino Revenue Surges Past $70 Million in December 2020 with Big Push from Penn

PA online casinos set new record highs in December 2020, helped along by retail casino closures and new additions like BetMGM.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced a new monthly record for revenue generated by iGaming. December sports wagering handle was also the highest ever for PA.

Casino games online generated more than $71.6 million in gross revenue during December 2020 compared to just above $10.6 million a year earlier.

December easily eclipsed the previous revenue high for online casino gaming, set in October 2020 at more than $59.7 million.

Online casino and online table games together had revenue of nearly $68.9 million in December. By contrast, retail revenue collectively tallied just more than $59.2 million.

Tax revenue generated from internet gaming play during December 2020 was more than $29 million.

Closures much of month for retail hurt revenue

The record results for iGaming came during a month in which retail operations at casinos and video gaming terminals (VGT) went dark.

Operations ceased on December 12th and remained closed through the end of the month due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions.

Even before that, the number of retail slot machines in operation on Dec. 11, 2020 – the day before a forced closure – was only 16,957 compared to 24,116 at the casinos on Dec. 30, 2019, according to the PGCB.

Some key figures from the December 2020 revenue report:

  • Online casino revenue was up a staggering 730.2% year over year.
  • Land-based casino slots were down 77.5% YoY.
  • Internet table games revenue was up 776.9% YoY.
  • Retail table games were down 78.2% YoY (from $78.1 million in Dec. 2019 down to $17.1 million last month).

With the closures, the combined total revenue in December from all forms of gaming and fantasy contests was more than $168.7 million, representing a decrease of 42.2% compared to revenue generated in December 2019.

Online wagering boomed, set new records

Recent growth in online gaming streams helped offset what would have been a much larger drop in YoY revenue.

Combined revenue for online casinos, poker, and online sports betting was $104.5 million, or 61.9% of the total PA gaming revenue for December.

Online poker was up slightly at $2.7 million, compared to $2.4 million in November. There is still just one operator, PokerStars PA, via Mount Airy Resort.

VGTs hurt by forced closures

Truckstop VGT terminals were down 8.67% to $802,918. Like casinos, they were ordered closed much of December.

A year ago, in December 2019, VGTs brought in $879,153.

Sports wagering boomed with the highest monthly handle

PA sportsbooks had their best month ever in December. The month’s total sports wagering handle was nearly $548.6 million or 11.5% above the November total of $491.9 million.

December was the highest monthly handle ever, eclipsing the previous record $525.8 million wagered in October.

The taxable revenue figure for December 2020 was just above $34 million, or 8.8% below the November taxable revenue of more than $37.3 million, which remains the highest for any month to date.

With two years of operating history for sports betting in PA, the Keystone State is the No. 3 jurisdiction for sports handle behind Nevada and New Jersey.

Daily fantasy contests were off 12.34%, with revenue of just more than $3 million.

December PA online casino breakdown by operator

A complete breakdown of December 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)$19.3 million$15.9 million$3.4 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$13.7 million$6.0 million$7.7 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$11.2 million$5.1 million$6.1 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$7.0 million$2.8 million$1.4 million
Penn National (BetMGM)$5.7 million$3.9 million$1.8 million
Parx Casino$5.0 million$4.6 million$418,000
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.0 million$3.9 million$128,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$3.1 million$2.1 million$963,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$1.3 million$978,000$351,000
Wind Creek Casino$591,000$441,000$150,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia (PlayLive!)$400,000$327,000$73,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$164,000$151,000$13,000
Totals:$68.9 million$46.2 million$22.6 million

Casino operators by the numbers

The clear front-runners in the online casino race in PA remain Penn National, Rivers Philadelphia, and Valley Forge.

The top five PA online casinos for December revenue include:

  • BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse (Rivers Philly): $19.3 million
  • DraftKings Casino (Penn National): $13.7 million
  • FanDuel Casino (Valley Forge): $11.2 million
  • PokerStars/Fox Bet (Mount Airy): $7.0 million
  • BetMGM (Penn National): $5.7 million

New additions, Penn on the rise

Penn National has made a large leap when it comes to online casino market share in PA. With the addition of BetMGM Casino on Dec. 4 (through its Hollywood Casino Morgantown license), Penn now boasts three iGaming options in PA: Hollywood online casino, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

BetMGM got off to a strong start, posting the fifth-highest iGaming revenue out of the gate.

Other recent additions – Wind Creek casino and Live! Casino Philadelphia’s PlayLive! – were near the bottom at $591K and $400K in revenue, respectively.

BetRivers/PSH had the largest slot revenue at $15.9 million. DraftKings won the online table category at $7.7 million, with FanDuel just behind at $6.1 million.

What Are Live Dealer Games, and When Are They Coming to PA Online Casinos?

Live dealer games bring social interaction elements of the live casino to online gaming, but when will players in PA have the option?

Online casinos have been live in Pennsylvania for a little over a year. The safe, legal arrival of iGaming in the commonwealth pleased players and added much-needed tax revenue during coronavirus-caused shutdowns.

Slot libraries continue to grow, and currently there are 11 online casinos in PA.

However, there is something that is missing and it’s at the top of nearly every player’s wish list — live dealer games.

What is live dealer?

Live dealer games give you the chance to play casino table games, like blackjack, at home in real time with a live dealer.

Golden Nugget was the first to roll out live dealer in New Jersey in 2017. Since then, many more casinos have begun streaming live dealer. The most common games are blackjack, roulette and  baccarat.

What’s the difference?

If you play blackjack now at any one of PA’s online casinos, the cards are electronically dealt by a built-in random number generator (RNG).

Live dealer games are transmitted from a remote studio and livestreamed to computers and mobile devices. A dealer, just like if you were at a casino, deals the cards.

Some reasons players prefer live dealer:

  • Social interaction
  • Slower pace
  • More entertaining than playing against RNG
  • Trust playing a live dealer more than an RNG

Live dealer tutorial via PlayUSA

When is live dealer coming to PA?

There is no firm date when live dealer will arrive in Pennsylvania, but a number of operators have teased its launch.

Here is the “coming soon” timeline of live dealer in Pennsylvania.

January 2020:

Evolution Gaming signs agreement with Parx to power live dealer casinos in PA and NJ.

Parx players will be able to choose from a range of live dealer table games streamed from Evolution’s existing New Jersey studio and its planned PA studio.

Matt Cullen, senior vice president, interactive gaming and sports at Parx Casino, commented:

“Parx was the first Pennsylvania casino to offer RNG blackjack games online, so extending our online offering to include world-leading Live Casino from Evolution is a natural next step. Our online blackjack player base in particular will love Evolution’s Live blackjack offering, which includes Infinite Blackjack, with no limit on the number of seats available at the table, as well as several other blackjack variants. Overall, we are very confident that all the players types will be very excited by the rollout of Parx Live Casino in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”

May 2020:

DraftKings launches its online casino.

According to a representative from DraftKings Casino, the PA platform will ultimately have 280 games. The rest of the library will roll out in stages and include live dealer games. The rep said:

“While we do not have an exact time frame, all 280 options will follow quickly after launch, including those that feature a live dealer and those that are DraftKings branded.”

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August 2020:

Evolution signs deal with PointsBet and says live dealer is coming to PA.

Evolution announced a deal with PointsBet, an Australian bookmaker. While unclear whether PointsBet plans to enter the PA online casino market, what was made clear is that an Evolution live dealer studio is coming to PA by the end of 2020. Currently, Evolution has studios in New Jersey, but it confirmed plans for new studios in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

August 28, 2020:

A press release on Aug. 28, 2020, confirmed a partnership between Evolution Gaming and BetMGM, which plans to debut online betting products in Pennsylvania before the end of the year. The arrangement will see BetMGM become one of the first in PA (and Michigan) to offer Evolution’s suite of live dealer games. BetMGM vice president of gaming Matthew Sunderland said:

“Evolution offers everything we need to enable our brands to roll out an extremely rich, world-class online live gaming experience across the US and their new state launches road map is very much in accord with our own alongside building on our current leadership position in gaming in New Jersey.”

Evolution Gaming Malta CEO Johan Nordstrom said of the partnership:

“We are honored to have been chosen by BetMGM to be partners in the fast-developing US live gaming market … This is a natural extension of our existing relationship with GVC Holdings’ brands.”

Live dealer games subject to lower tax rates

Players are clamoring for live dealer in PA. Obviously, providers and operators want to give them what they want. In addition, live dealer is a table game, so it’s taxed at a lower rate.

Pennsylvania online gambling tax rates:

  • Online slots: 54%
  • Sports betting: 36%
  • Online table games: 16%

Sebastian Johannisson, chief commercial officer at Evolution, commented:

“With table games subject to lower tax, our Live Casino is a very attractive proposition for operators too, as well as its wide appeal to players — both familiar with online and those having played in the bricks and mortar casino — offering a very important and significant contribution to operator revenues.”

Article updated on Aug. 28.