The state of Pennsylvania has achieved remarkable success in its gambling industry, consistently breaking revenue records over the past few years. The Pennsylvania Act 42 of 2017 which expanded the introduction of online gambling within the state as a legal and accessible form of entertainment, has proven to be a pivotal turning point.
The annual assessment study conducted by Two Spots Ltd. to understand the impact of this expansion has revealed impressive figures, showcasing the tremendous growth of the industry.
During the fiscal period of 2021/2022, the state witnessed an extraordinary surge in gambling revenue. The 19 iGaming operators and 14 online sports betting locations collectively amassed over $1.2 billion in revenue from iGaming, which encompasses slots, table games, and poker.
However the most popular online gambling format was online sports betting, capturing 54% of online gamblers’ participation and contributing over $267 million in revenue, while fantasy sports accounted for over $27 million with the top online sports betting operators being: BetMGM Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, Unibet Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook (Source: Cision News – Pennsylvania Sports Betting Sites)
Notably, over half of online gamblers reported engaging in multiple formats, driven by factors such as enjoyment, convenience, and availability.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
As a part of this transformation, the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline was established to support individuals who might be facing challenges related to gambling. The data indicated a notable increase in calls to the hotline that mentioned online gambling as the primary problematic gambling format.
This trend peaked at 20% of total calls between the covid months of July 2020 and June 2021, and this percentage remained consistent between July 2021 and June 2022. Furthermore, self-exclusions specific to iGaming saw a staggering 120% increase during the 2021/2022 fiscal year, highlighting the recognition of potential risks associated with online gambling.
The findings from the assessment revealed that 11.0% of Pennsylvania adults engaged in online gambling in 2022. The majority of these online gamblers were men (66.1%), employed (62.6%), and had at least a bachelor’s degree (46.7%).
Source: DDAP – Pennsylvania
The report also underlined the importance of addressing potential problem gambling behaviors associated with online gambling. Over one-third (36.7%) of online gamblers reported at least one gambling problem, and engagement in multiple online gambling formats correlated with a higher likelihood of experiencing gambling problems. Additionally, nearly 1.7% of Pennsylvanian adults sought assistance from resources like 1-800-GAMBLER for gambling-related issues.
The comprehensive study acknowledged that the prevalence rate of online gambling remained steady between 2021 and 2022. From the 19 iGaming licensed online casino operators BetMGM Casino, BetRivers Casino, FanDuel Casino, Borgata Casino, Unibet Casino are the most popular (Source: 10News.com – Pennsylvania Online Casinos).
Pennsylvania’s gambling industry continues to thrive, with slot machines leading the revenue generation, followed by table games and sports betting. While most categories showed growth, fantasy games experienced a decline of 23.9% in revenue, possibly due to the increased interest in sports betting.
With a commitment to responsible gambling, Pennsylvania aims to harness the positive momentum of its gambling sector, ensuring that entertainment is accompanied by safeguards and support for individuals facing challenges. The success story of Pennsylvania’s gambling industry marks a promising future, backed by data-driven insights and a dedication to responsible expansion.