The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has reported an all-time high for gaming revenue in calendar year 2021. Strong upticks in almost every sector of legalized gaming regulated by the board led to 2021 becoming a record year for revenue.
For the period, the combined revenue of slot machines, table games, sports wagering, iGaming, video gaming terminals (VGTs) and fantasy contests totaled $4.7 billion, considerably up from $2.6 billion in 2020. This has also resulted in record tax revenue production from gaming of more than $1.9 billion.
Despite December posting a dip in revenue to $406.3 million, down from $432.5 million in November, the state still set monthly revenue records in six months of the past year. Sports wagering and iGaming both also set yearly revenue records, at $340.1 million and $1.1 billion respectively.
It was a big year in 2021 for gaming in the Commonwealth, regulated by the great personnel of this agency!… https://t.co/OowVwpFmUa
— PGCB (@PAGamingControl) January 21, 2022
The new gaming revenue record of $4.7 billion is, as expected, far above revenue figures posted in 2019, when revenue dipped to $2.65 billion amid pandemic-related restrictions and closing. But it’s also more than $1 billion up from the previous record of $2.4 billion, posted in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
Monthly figures for December position Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville in first place at $58.8 million in revenue, for the second consecutive month. Parx Casino in Philadelphia followed at $55.5 million in revenue, while Rivers Casino Philadelphia placed third, with $44.7 million.
Slot revenue was the segment that led December, with $195.5 million, almost four times the $42.3 million posted in December 2020. iGaming also saw a positive month at $101.1 million, up from $93.9 million the prior month.
Sports betting posted near all-time highs in December, with $750.4 million in wagers -up 36.8% from December 2020- and $18.8 million in revenue. Handle was slightly down from the one posted in November, a $761.6 million handle that resulted in $63.7 million in revenue. December’s betting volume was the third-most ever.
Bettors won at a far higher rate in December, leading to $38 million in gross revenue for sportsbooks, down 16.3% from December 2020 and also down from the $84.9 million posted in November. After $19.1 million in promotional spending, sportsbooks closed December with $18.8 million in taxable revenue.
Pennsylvania closed the year with more than $6.5 billion in sports wagers and $122.5 million in tax revenue from sports, while also posting nearly $1.3 billion in online casino revenue, according to figures from PlayPennsylvania, which describes 2021 as a “transformational year” for the state’s industry.
“With so many records set this fall, a modest pullback in December is not a particular surprise,” said Katie Kohler, an analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Importantly, though, sportsbooks remained near all-time highs for wagering, extending a four-month stretch in which wagering reached nearly $3 million. It’s been a fitting end to an impressive year.”
Wagering nearly doubled in 2021 and no other state wrung more tax revenue out of its sports betting industry than Pennsylvania, further says the source. “Pennsylvania’s relatively high tax rate does seem to contribute to slower growth overall, but that seems to be a worthwhile tradeoff that has been an overall benefit to the state,” said Dustin Gouker, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network.
Betting on NBA and college basketball saw a rise in December, as college football winded down during the month. Most of the handle -92.4%- corresponded to online sportsbooks, which took in $693.3 million in wagers. FanDuel topped the online segment with $246.8 million in bets.
But December proved particularly profitable for online casinos and poker rooms, which produced a record $127.6 million in gross gaming revenue during December, topping the previous all-time high of $117 million posted in October. Revenue was also up 17.6% from $108.5 million in December the prior year.
For the year, the state’s online casinos generated $1.3 million in gross revenue, up 91.1% from $680.2 million in 2020, delivering $466.4 million in state taxes.