Pennsylvania Records 75% Boost in Wagers During Super Bowl LV

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, residents wagered heavily on Super Bowl LV as the state finally regulated online gambling. Preliminary figures suggest $53.6 million was wagered across the state’s sportsbooks on Sunday as the underdogs Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.

Ironically, this year’s handle was 75% more than pre-COVD times as Pennsylvanian casinos accepted $30.6 million during 2019. The increase comes as a major shock as initial projections suggested people would wager cautiously due to the coronavirus and its impact on the economy. But clearly, that wasn’t the case.

A Steady Boost Spells Recovery

The American Gaming Association released a report prior to the game, which suggested 23.2 million Americans would wager $4.3 billion during Super Bowl LV. The projected figures were down from 26 million punters that had wagered around $6.8 billion at the Super Bowl in 2020. Around 7.6 million bets were expected to be placed online, a 63% YoY increase. Pennsylvanians seemed to make the most of the iGaming opportunities presented by the state authorities this year.

Around $47.4 million was wagered online this year compared to $24 million last year. According to initial data, in-person wagers declined by $591,000 in Pennsylvania. The punters also wagered $6.1 million at physical sportsbooks compared to $6.7 million last year.

According to GeoComply, a specialist in geolocation and compliance technology, around 320,000 unique users from Pennsylvania logged into online sportsbooks during this year’s Super Bowl compared to 200,000 unique users last year. A breakdown of the figures from individual casinos wasn’t available at the time of publication.

Much Needed Respite

Pennsylvanian casinos recorded a stark decline in revenue in 2020 as the COVID-19 restrictions forced physical establishments to remain shut for the majority of the year. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, $2.65 billion was generated from video slots, table games, gaming terminals, sports wagers, and online casinos last year. The corresponding figure in 2019 was $3.4 billion.

“it goes without saying that we had a tough time in 2020. It’s hardly surprising that the numbers fell consistently since 2019”, said Casey Clark, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communication at the American Gaming Association. Brick-and-mortar casinos remained shut in Pennsylvania during the spring and in December following Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation orders.

The lockdown took a major toll on Pennsylvania’s gambling industry as the revenue from video slot machines and table games fell by 43% and 44% respectively. Slot machine revenue dropped from $2.3 billion to $1.3 billion in 2020 while revenue from table games dropped from $903.5 million to $504.3 million during the same period.

Despite the losses, casino revenue was bolstered to a certain extent by iGaming, fantasy contests, and gaming terminals. Online sports betting continues to flourish in Pennsylvania, and the figures are projected to go up over the next few months.

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