Pennsylvania Hits Record Handle in August, Operators Fight for the Market

October 9, 2020

The August handle numbers from states keep on coming in, and Pennsylvania joins the pack of late-summer record-breakers with a $365 million handle.

The 5th most populous state in the country has one of the most active sports betting markets, and operators are working hard to capture their slice of the pie. In the latest developments in the state, Barstool Sports launched their anticipated sports betting app in PA, while FOX Bet struck a partnership agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The ScoreMetrics Lab is here with the details.

Pennsylvania’s record-breaking August

The Keystone State reported their August sports betting numbers a little later than many other states, but the growth in PA was similarly impressive. The monthly sports betting handle in Pennsylvania hit $365 million in August – a new all-time record in the state (previously $348.4 million in January 2020).

That was a 121.5% increase compared to July. A full month’s worth of MLB, NBA and NHL action truly woke the market up, as was the case in other states as well.

We are likely to see another record-breaking month in September due to the increased betting action that the start of the football season brings.

Mobile betting accounted for almost 90% of the total handle. Operators in Pennsylvania reported a revenue or hold of $27.6 million.

FanDuel had by far the biggest market share in the state in August, with 40.9% of the handle flowing to the biggest player in US sports betting. DraftKings came in second with a 24.2% market share, followed by Rush Street (the company operates the BetRivers and SugarHouse brands) with a 15.7% share.

Barstool Sports enters the PA market

With FanDuel, DraftKings and Rush Street controlling over 80% of the Pennsylvania market, newcomers will likely find it hard to carve out their space in the state. That did shy away Penn National, as their Barstool Sports branded sportsbook was officially launched in PA.

Penn National partnered up with Barstool Sports back in January to make Barstool their primary sports betting brand. Pennsylvania is the first state where the new sportsbook app launches and should serve as an indicator on how much potential there is for the venture in other states in 2021.

Barstool Sports has 66 million unique monthly users. Penn National is banking on capturing market share by tapping into this huge army of sports fans. We’ll see how that works out, but Penn National CEO Jay Snowden has indicated that the company is in it for the long run with Barstool and is looking to deliver a first-class user experience for customers.

The partnership has not been without its controversy, and Penn National’s silence over the various racist and misogynistic pieces of content that Barstool founder Dave Portnoy published during the summer made some headlines. Many were also left puzzled with Portnoy’s references to the “haters” and “critics” in Barstool’s introductory launch email in PA. Nevertheless, the company’s stock has been on a tear since investing $163 million in Barstool for a 36% stake.

FOX Bet strikes deal with Philadelphia Eagles

Another player trying to make it in the Pennsylvania sports betting market, FOX Bet saw their market share drop to 6.2% in August (from 7.3% in July). But the company is hoping to change that with a brand-new partnership deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Super Bowl LII champions are obviously a big draw in the state, and we can now add FOX Bet to the ever-growing list of sportsbooks that are trying to lure fans in by being involved in their gameday experience.

Besides getting ads all over the Eagles’ channels, the sportsbook will get to open a FOX Bet studio at Lincoln Financial Field. This will be a 4,000 square-feet space where fans can watch Eagles on-air personalities doing their work, players entering the stadium, finish the post-game show, and enjoy exclusive food and beverage deals.

FOX Bet already has a partnership agreement in place with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. The company is hoping that direct contact with the fans of the biggest teams in the state will start showing up in their numbers in the near future.

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