Pennsylvania: the Story of the Rising Star of the US Gambling Market
Pennsylvania officially legalized internet gambling in 2017, but the journey there was anything but straightforward. The Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee both swiftly passed HB 271 in May of 217 with sizable majorities. The bill established many of the policies that govern the industry to this day.
In July 2018, the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board started taking applications for internet gaming licenses. By the first deadline, nine casinos in the state submitted applications. And that’s how the currently bustling market started growing, but let’s talk about it in more detail and figure out what led to the legislation.
The First Steps of iGaming in Pennsylvania
Online gambling was the subject of the first legislative rumblings in 2013. In the years that followed, there were other occasions where lawmakers got agonizingly close to enacting a bill only for the process to fall apart at the last minute.
The last piece of iGaming legislation wouldn’t be passed until 2017, which was the third year in a row that supporters made a determined effort to legalize online gambling.
Official Launch of Online Gaming in Pennsylvania
The 30th of October 2017 saw an important win for proponents of online gambling. On that day, omnibus gaming expansion bill HB 271 was approved by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
With the signing, Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to allow online gambling, concluding a four-and-a-half-year period during which several states nearly legalized iGaming but finally decided against it.
The First Licensed Online Casinos of Pennsylvania
Online gaming testing started on July 15, 2019. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) gave Parx Online Casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National, and PlaySugarHouse at Rivers Casino Philadelphia full operating approval on July 17, July 18, and July 19, respectively. There weren’t many game alternatives.
Through the end of July, the two-week results weren’t that extensive but rather encouraging. The three online casinos generated $812,306 in revenue. More than $49.2 million was reportedly earned on interactive slots and table games, according to the PGCB. The three PA casinos’ combined online slot gross revenue for July was $517,712.
Pennsylvania’s iGaming Market Revenue from 2019 to 2021
The first annual results that we have is for the fiscal year of 2019. Sure, the industry didn’t have that much time to set records, but it did quite well for its first year on the market. Nearly $34 million in tax revenue was provided by legalized online gambling operators. Revenue for the first quarter of FY 2019–20 was $297 million. That amount increased to $1.07 billion the next year, an increase of more than 360%.
With a total gaming income of $117.04 million, online casinos and poker rooms broke the state record. Naturally, a subsequent 360% improvement would have been surprising. When revenue from online casinos reached $1.48 billion in 2021–2022, however, they demonstrated that the industry is still booming.
The growth of the industry brought a lot of new operators to the state. The best online PA casinos are covered by dedicated websites that cover the industry and bring regular news to their readers–iGaming PA reviews have been popular as of late, providing readers with valuable information about the industry, operators, and how to enjoy one’s time playing their games.
Current State of iGaming Market in Pennsylvania
In June of this year, Pennsylvania’s iGaming revenue came to $126 million, down by over 8% from May’s $136 million and trailing New Jersey’s $133 million. Of that $52 million in revenue, 41.3% came from Penn National’s brands Hollywood, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Barstool.
With $31.8 million (25.1%) in revenue, Rivers (BetRivers, SugarHouse, and Borgata) came in second, while Valley Forge (FanDuel and Stardust) came in third with $19.5 million (15.4%).
In terms of commercial casino income, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been neck-and-neck for second place with Nevada, according to data gathered by the American Gaming Association. According to the statistics provided by the group, Pennsylvania has the highest gaming tax income in the nation.