Pennsylvania sports betting revenue declines in May

Business News

Hindered by a slow rollout of online sports betting, Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks generated $35.9 million in bets and $2.8 million in revenue in May.

But Sugarhouse Sportsbook’s online product managed to generate $573,163 in bets in just four days after launching in late May, showing that Pennsylvania’s fledgling sports betting industry should soon see a significant boost.

“SugarHouse’s online launch managed to draw in more than $140,000 a day in bets, even though the online product was testing for three of the four days that it operated in May and the product was unavailable to iPhone users,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for “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.”

Compared to April, Pennsylvania’s May handle was down 2.3% from $36.8 million and revenue was down 32.2% from $4.2 million, according to official data released on Tuesday. Despite the tepid showing, though, Pennsylvania sports betting still generated $973,030 in state tax and $84,430 in local share assessment for May.

“The NBA playoffs and baseball generated decent action across the state in May, but we will begin to see real growth in June,” Welman said. “The rollout has taken longer than initially expected for several reasons, but we are eager to see how online sports betting affects the state’s handle.”

Earlier this month, SugarHouse Sportsbook, which began beta testing its online sports betting product in late May, became the first online sportsbook to officially launch. But it has not been without hiccups. Most notably, the PlaySugarHouse app is still not available in the Apple Store as developers work to meet Apple’s new policy change that requires the apps to be written in code native to the iOS system.

Though the app is unavailable on iPhones, Mac users can still access 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 “The problem appears to be a bigger hurdle for online casinos than online sportsbooks, but no doubt this will slow the progress of both.”

Even with the hurdles, though, Parx Casino Sportsbook, BetRivers, FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Hollywood Casino at Penn National, and Presque Isle Downs are working to launch online sportsbooks this summer.

Whether all can launch on time is uncertain. But sports bettors in Pennsylvania should at least have several online products to choose from by the beginning of the football season.

In May, Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh’s lone sportsbook, edged SugarHouse Casino for the market lead with $7.925 million in May bets, down from $8.2 million in April, and generated $641,029 in revenue, down from $871,753. SugarHouse Casinotook in $7.924 million in bets, up from $7.9 million in April, yielding $711,845 in revenue, down from $871,753 million.