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Volume 26 No. 92
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Pennsylvania Gambling Revenue Sees $60M Sports Betting Boost

Pennsylvania reported a 1.8% "annual increase in gambling revenue" for FY '18, "boosted by last year's launch of sports betting and fantasy sports contests," according to Andrew Maykuth of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Gaming operators took in a record $3.3B last year, up about $60M from the previous year. Sports betting in Pennsylvania launched in November and accounted for $21.7M in revenue last year. Though sports betting is "not expected to challenge traditional casino games for generating revenue, public officials and industry experts say the new offerings are a growth opportunity because they attract a new audience to casinos." The May launch of online sports betting, as well as the "inauguration of internet casino betting," is "expected to boost revenue in the coming year" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/19). In Pittsburgh, Gary Rotstein noted annual revenue figures are "expected to increase in ensuing years from a variety of expansion -- notably, a full year of casino sports betting while more venues adopt it," and "online sports betting and casino games that have both only recently started" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/19).

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: In Las Vegas, Bailey Schulz noted New Jersey gamblers "put down more than" $3B in sports betting since books first opened in June '18. However, experts said that it will "take more than that for the state to overtake Nevada as the biggest sports betting destination in the country." By comparison, Nevada sportsbooks brought in $5.2B in wagers between June '18 and May '19. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Managing Dir Chris Grove said, "We project that [New Jersey] will eventually generate some half a billion dollars annually from legal sports betting." New Jersey "edged ahead of Nevada for the first time 11 months" after the June opening, bringing in $318.9M in sports bets in May, compared to $317.4M in Nevada. Grove said that he anticipates New Jersey will "ultimately generate more revenue from sports betting than Nevada," but added that this does not mean that the state will "steal away the title as the nation's leader in the industry" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/15).

LESS THAN LUCRATIVE: In Boston, Dan McGowan noted Rhode Island is "pulling in far less money than originally projected in its first year of legalized sports betting" -- and industry data shows that Rhode Island gamblers have "won bets at a higher rate than in many other states." Rhode Island was the "only state that allows sports wagering to post a revenue-losing month within the last year," after paying out $21.6M on $20.7M in wagers during the month of February. The Patriots winning Super Bowl LIII was "one of several factors that contributed to Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino combining" to book just $4.7M in profit from sports betting between November '18 and May '19. However, industry analysts said that Rhode Island is "well-positioned to bounce back" in FY '19-20. Twin River and Tiverton did not "begin taking bets until after Thanksgiving, which cut into the NFL and college football seasons -- prime gambling months." The state originally projected it would generate $23.5M in sports gambling in FY '18-19, but the "late start forced officials to reduce" those expectations to $11.5M (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/19).

STARTING THEIR ENGINES? In Detroit, John Niyo wrote Michigan state Rep. Brandt Iden is a "betting man," and he believes that he can still "hammer out a deal with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office" and make sports betting legal in Michigan before Super Bowl LIV. Iden said, "That, to me, is still this season. And that, to me, would still be [a] success" (DETROIT NEWS, 7/19).