Pennsylvania online and retail sportsbooks posted a record handle of more than $342.6 million in December to cap a year that generated $1.5 billion in wagers, including $1.1 billion in online bets. And with a full year of online sports betting ahead and an increasingly robust offering of operators, Pennsylvania should more than double that handle in 2020, according to analysts from PlayPennsylvania.

"That last two months of 2019 began to show us the real potential of the Pennsylvania market," said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. "The launch of DraftKings in November, adding one of the best-known brands to Pennsylvania, helped push online betting forward. And now that the online market is maturing, it is entirely possible that 2020 could bring in $4 billion or more in online and retail bets."

In December, Pennsylvania's sportsbooks accepted $342.6 million in wagers, up 8.2 percent from $316.5 million, according to official data. Online sportsbooks produced $297.5 million, 86.8 percent of the handle. December's bets produced $17.5 million in revenue — down from November's $20.6 million win — injecting $3.9 million into state coffers.

In 2019, the Pennsylvania generated:

  • $1.49 billion in bets, including $1.1 billion in online bets.
  • Taxable revenue of $84.1 million, including $43 million online.
  • $28.6 million in state taxes

"Pennsylvania is beginning to succeed where it wanted to most: making sports betting a significant revenue driver for the state," Gouker said. "Its tax rate is significantly higher than every other state, which has slowed the industry's growth. But Pennsylvania is the most populous state to fully legalize sports betting, and that has proven to be too enticing for operators to ignore."

FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino remained the state's online leader, accepting $154.5 million in December bets, up from $149.7 million in November. That yielded $7 million in taxable revenue.

Rivers Philadelphia's $7.7 million handle, down from $8.9 million in November, overtook the retail market. That yielded $590,177 in revenue.

"The Rivers Casino books in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have capitalized on their markets to set themselves apart," Gouker said. "But the proliferation of online betting has muted the growth of retail sportsbooks. The convenience of online betting, coupled with a robust in-game experience, is tough for retail sportsbooks to match."

ONLINE CASINOS AND POKER

Online poker drew significant interest as the popularity of online casinos continued to grow. Online casino games and poker produced a record $10.6 million in December gross revenue, up 22 percent from $8.7 million in November. That yielded $2.3 million in state taxes.

Poker generated $2.5 million in December — all at Mount Airy/PokerStars.

"The interest in poker so far in Pennsylvania is dramatic compared with neighboring New Jersey, where about 3% of online casino and poker revenue comes from poker," Gouker said. "New Jersey got off to a hot start, too. So the question now is can the Pennsylvania sustain the initial enthusiasm."

Mount Airy/PokerStars led the online casino and poker market with $3.5 million in revenue on $73.6 million in bets.