In the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, where the history of industry and the thrill of gaming intertwine, a twist in the tale of fortune has emerged. The once burgeoning river of gaming revenue that flowed through the state has experienced a rill of decline, as revealed in the latest reports from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. As autumn leaves fell in November, so too did the gaming revenue, dipping to $444.4 million—a subtle yet noticeable descent of nearly 2% from the year prior.
The cadence of this financial heartbeat centers on the realm of sports betting, where the Keystone State’s bettors wagered with unbridled enthusiasm, surpassing all previous single-month records. They placed more than $900 million in bets, culminating in a staggering $934.1 million wagered, a triumph in volume, yet a shortfall in victory for the oddsmakers. The sportsbooks, caught in an unfavorable wind, retained a mere $12.8 million, starkly down by 76% compared to the $52.8 million from the previous November.
This curious turn of events found bettors grinning as they favored the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who soared undefeated through their November games. Likewise, the Pittsburgh Steelers carved out a successful 3-1 record for the month, adding to the sportsbooks’ woes.
Yet, not all streams run dry in Pennsylvania’s gaming landscape. The sturdy foundations of the state’s 17 brick-and-mortar casinos offered some resilience against the sportsbook shortfall. Retail slots churned out winnings of about $189.7 million, marking a slight increase over the previous year, while table games held close to their past performance, albeit with a modest 1.7% depletion. The fortress of in-person gaming stood its ground with a combined gross gaming revenue of approximately $267.6 million, charting a small but significant rise from the year before.
When cast alongside its continental compatriots, Pennsylvania’s November bounty ranked third in the nation’s gaming wins, sitting comfortably behind New Jersey yet awaiting the report of Nevada—a titan whose numbers traditionally crest above $1.3 billion.
Amidst the ebb of some, the surge of iGaming remains undeterred. The cyber realms of interactive slots and online table games surged by 26% and 18%, respectively, with online poker contributing its steady share. This digital domain amassed a collective victory, spiking 23% from the previous November and marking an upward trend in both enthusiasm and revenue.
At the vanguard of this online conquest is Penn Entertainment, whose digital banners, including Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course among others, lead the way with over $61.1 million in internet-based wins. Not far behind in this virtual tourney, Boyd Gaming and its alliance with FanDuel through Valley Forge Casino Resort commanded a commendable $41.1 million, dominating the sports betting realm.
The story of gaming in Pennsylvania is not without its darker shades. The niche of truck stop slots witnessed a slight retreat, as did the coffers of fantasy sports, although the latter managed a slender gain. Moreover, the breathless pursuit between Parx Casino and Wind Creek persists, with the former’s smoke-free environment continuing to appeal, yet the latter drawing ever closer in the battle for gaming supremacy.
As the wheel of fortune spins in Pennsylvania, its tale of chance, challenge, and change continues to unfold, inviting onlookers, gamers, and seekers of fortune to behold and partake in its next act.