The safest bet going today is that Pennsylvania sports betting is about explode in T-minus 17 days, which is the start of the 2019 NFL season.
The state is already seeing strong month-to-month increases in handle (total amount of money wagered) as it jumped from $46.3 million in June to $59.3 million in July. This is particularly impressive considering that July is traditionally the slowest month on the sports betting calendar.
Nearly two-thirds of the bets taken in Pennsylvania during the month of July were online bets.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out [when football season begins],” said Evan Davis, Vice President and General Counsel at SugarHouse, at the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Business of Sports Conference last month. “We’ve seen how New Jersey has done, and the nature of the bets you can make online adds to it as well. In-play betting, anything from who’s going to win the next point in a tennis match, to who is going to win the seventh inning of a baseball game … that’s a lot more conducive to betting online than it is to betting at a physical sportsbook.”
Based on New Jersey’s month-to-month increases from the summertime months to the start of pro and college football, we should see Pennsylvania’s handle hop to around $68 million in August and then soar to around $125 million in September.
In August of last year, New Jersey’s handle was $95.6 million and it nearly doubled in September to $183.9 million.
Here is the breakdown by sportsbook for the month of July (includes retail and online).
SugarHouse $26.5 million
Rivers Pittsburgh $14.3 million
Parx Casino $7.2 million
FanDuel at Valley Forge $5 million
South Philadelphia Turf Club $1.9 million
Penn National Race Course $1.8 million
Harrah’s Philadelphia $1.7 million
Oaks Race $789,502
Presque Isle Downs $162,781