Pennsylvania's sportsbooks celebrated the industry's first birthday in November by setting a new handle record and surpassing $1 billion in lifetime wagers. The industry is gaining steam as its online product matures, boosted by the recent online launch of DraftKings and Unibet, according to PlayPennsylvania.com analysts.

"Pennsylvania has come a long way in a year," said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. "Plagued with relatively high gaming taxes and early hurdles to its online launch, Pennsylvania's future as a legal sports betting jurisdiction was murky at the beginning. But despite the issues in its infancy, the state has proven to be attractive for operators and the market is truly beginning to flourish."

Pennsylvania's sportsbooks accepted $316.5 million in wagers in November, up 31.2 percent from October's $241.2 million, according to official data. Those bets generated $20.6 million in revenue — up from October's $19.1 million win — and yielded $3.9 million in state taxes.

The industry launched in November 2018 with one sportsbook generating $1.4 million in bets and $508,997 in gross revenue.

The roster of online brands has grown to seven following the November launches of DraftKings, under The Meadows license, and Unibet, under the Mohegan Sun Pocono umbrella. Those seven online sportsbooks generated 84.3% of the state's November handle — a total of $266.7 million, up from $198.7 million in October.

"Online sports betting has unquestionably been the key driver of the state's growth," Gouker said. "Not only has online betting grown to account for an overwhelming majority of the state's handle, but it has also helped spur growth among retail sportsbooks. That is a pattern that we saw in New Jersey, too."

FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino remains dominant in the online market, despite fresh competition. FanDuel accepted $149.7 million in November bets, up from $113.9 million in October, yielding $9.2 million in revenue, up from $8.1 million.

"With the addition of DraftKings, Pennsylvania now has the two largest sports betting brands in the country," Gouker said. "The question is whether DraftKings can make a dent in FanDuel's market dominance, or has FanDuel's early launch baked in its market advantages for the foreseeable future."

Rivers-Pittsburgh's $8.9 million handle, up from $7.7 million in October, narrowly led the retail market. That yielded $486,449 in revenue, down from $699,611.

Online casinos

The launch of poker and two new online casinos in November helped boost Pennsylvania's gross revenue to a new record. Five online casinos generated $9.7 million in November gross revenue, up 98% from $4.9 million in October.

The November launches of Mount Airy/PokerStars Casino Mohegan Sun Pocono/Unibet, combined with the addition of poker, spurred wagers to $316.8 million, up 58% from $200.2 million in October. Poker accounted for $2 million in bets. In all, online casinos generated $2.4 million in state taxes in November.

Rivers-Philadelphia held on to the market lead with $3.2 million in revenue on $148.7 million in bets. That was up from $2.5 million in October revenue on $85.6 million in wagers.

"The online casino industry is finally gaining momentum, but Pennsylvania's tax structure has definitely slowed its development," Gouker said. "Still, with poker showing promise, especially compared to New Jersey, and new operators coming online, Pennsylvania's market should really begin to take off."

For more, www.playpennsylvania.com/news.