5Dimes Agrees to a $46.8M Settlement With Feds

Man Handing Out Money With a Sportsbook Background
Costa Rica-based sportsbook 5Dimes had reached a $46.8M settlement with the United States government after a money-laundering investigation.

According to sources who obtained a copy of the settlement agreement with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the East District of Pennsylvania, 5Dimes agrees to pay the U.S. government $15M in cash while also forfeiting more than $30M of assets.

The deal also absolves Laura Verola of any criminal conduct alleged against 5Dimes, stating that she did not have authority of the sportsbook’s operations. Verola is the widow of 5Dimes founder Sean Crighton. She assumed responsibility for 5Dimes’ assets after her husband was kidnapped in 2018. Crighton was later found dead one year later.

Said Maria M. Carillo, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:

“We achieved the objective, which is, she is compliant with U.S. federal law right now. What that means for her is she is not operating in violation of U.S. law, and she is not actively taking bets from U.S. bettors. Whether she’s positioned well for regulators, that’s up for the regulators to decide. 5Dimes certainly is no longer in violation of federal law.”

Pursuing A U.S. License

Likewise, 5Dimes also agreed stop accepting bets from customers in the United States while operating with a Costa Rican license. This part of the settlement explains why 5Dimes announced last month that they would stop taking wagers from U.S. customers starting October 1st.

The non-prosecution agreement also allows 5Dimes to expand to pursue a U.S. license and expand to the legal sportsbetting market in the United States. Per the settlement, Varela has made “significant changes” to 5Dimes’ operations that would make it qualified to participate in lawful gaming operations across the word.

Federal Investigation

West Virginia native Creighton founded 5Dimes sometime around the year 2000, when legal sportsbetting still did not exist in the United States. It grew to become one of the most popular US sportsbooks that took bets from American customers and eventually caught the attention of federal investigators.

5Dimes used third-party payment processors to accept illegal wagers from U.S. customers. The District Attorney’s Office said that third parties processed the sportsbook’s credit card transactions that concealed the nature of charges. The payment processors then transferred the credit card proceeds to bank accounts of shell companies operated by Creighton.

Verola’s Cooperation

In 2016, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Attorney’s Office in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security conducted an investigation on 5Dimes for money laundering. In the seizure warrant filed before the U.S. District Court, agents detailed how they believe 5Dimes instructed U.S. sports bettors to use gift cards as a way to place bets. Creighton was never formally charged but the investigation continued for years.

Verola’s attorney’s contacted the East District of Pennsylvania in 2019, and offered her cooperation to resolve the case. According to the settlement, she helped retrieve Creighton assets which were forfeited in favor of the Federal government. These include gold coins, cryptocurrency, funds from the sale of season tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and West Virginia college basketball and football, and a George Mikan rookie basketball card which he purchased for $400,000.

Barstool Sportsbook App Makes A Splash in Pennsylvania Launch

Icon Displaying Variety of Sports, Hand Holding Cash
Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook app shattered download marks by DraftKings and FanDuel over the weekend. The much-publicized sports betting app created by Penn National and Barstool Sports had a three-day soft launch in Pennsylvania last week before going live during the weekend. Preliminary data on Pennsylvania sports betting were very impressive.

Better Opening Numbers Than FanDuel and DraftKings

According to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the Barstool Sportsbook app was downloaded 63,000 times during the weekend or an average of 21,000 downloads per day. The numbers are significantly higher than the 4,000 downloads that DraftKings got during its first weekend in 2018 and its single-day high of 15,000 downloads during the opening of the NFL earlier this month.

Similarly, the Barstool Sportsbook app’s weekend numbers topped FanDuel’s inaugural weekend total of 9,000 downloads during the opening weekend of the 2018 NFL season. FanDuel established a single-day high of 19,000 downloads last September 13 as the NFL’s 2020 season opened but Barstool’s 21K downloads per day last weekend was still better.

Expanding The Industry

Per Morgan Stanley analyst Thomas Allen, the app’s downloads started out “extremely strong” yet the download numbers for its competitors didn’t seem to slow “meaningfully”. That bodes well for Pennsylvania sports betting as Allen notes that the Barstool Sportsbook app isn’t “cannibalizing” the industry but merely expanding it.

Allen downgraded Penn National and DraftKings last month from overweight to “equal-weight”. The Morgan Stanley analyst cited valuation as the reason for the downgrade with both stocks going sky-high this year. DaftKings went public last April and as of Monday’s closing, the stock had risen 194% since then. Meanwhile, Penn Gaming had a gain of 416% during the same period.

Too Early To Tell

Obviously, it’s too early too tell whether Penn Gaming’s new app will become a national force. Sure, Pennsylvania sports betting is a major wagering market but it is only one state. Penn Gaming plans to launch in several states in the first quarter of 2021. DraftKings and FanDuel are etched in the other states as well with other major competitors like BetMGM, William Hill, FoxBet, and PointsBet contending for market shares as well.

Barstool’s launch was well-timed and it debuted in a mature betting market. On the other hand, DraftKings and FanDuel launched without the same fanfare and before the U.S. Supreme Court thrashed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Despite these apples to oranges comparison, there is no question that the Barstool Sportsbook app made a splash during its opening weekend.

Philadelphia Eagles Announce Sponsorship Deal With FOX Bet

Tuesday saw another professional sports team in the U.S. sign a deal with a gambling company as the Philadelphia Eagles signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with FOX Bet. The deal was announced on Tuesday via the Eagles website.

Said Fox Bet CMO Andrew Schneider:

“FOX Bet enhances the fan experience in a big way, and this is a fanbase that knows and appreciates big things. They’re passionate, tough and willing to do whatever it takes to win. To connect our offering to this one-of-a-kind fanbase is a game-changer. Eagles fans are going to love this, and we’re honored to have this association with a team that is primed for a successful 2020 season.”

Sponsorship Agreement

The sponsorship agreement involves broadcast, digital, and social media advertising on all team channels, custom promotions, and a strong branding presence during Eagles’ games. The deal also includes messaging on the stadium’s LED and end zone boards. FOX Bet signages will also be placed on the concourse levels

FOX Bet will also serve as the presenting sponsor of Eagles Edge, which is a new program that airs on the team’s digital channels after each of their games. Filmed on game days when the Eagles are playing at Lincoln Financial Field, this series will be broadcast via the Eagles Official YouTube Channel, Eagles Official Mobile App, PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Eagles social media channels, and the team’s other digital channels.

Premium Lounge and Interactive Studio

The Eagles also revealed that it includes the construction of a FOX Bet-branded premium lounge and interactive studio at Lincoln Financial Field. The lounge will feature exclusive content across all platforms and will be presented by Eagles on-air personalities, Eagles Legends, and FOX Bet contributors.

Once fans will be be allowed to watch the games, the lounge will be open to ticketed guests on game day. The 4,000 square-foot studio can accommodate up to 380 persons. Guests will enjoy all-inclusive food and beverage options. They will also be entitled to behind-the-scenes premium access, prime locations to watch player arrivals, and live post-game press conference. Fans can access the studio two and a half hours before kickoff and one hour after post-game.

Betting-related deals in the NFL

The Eagles are the second professional sports team to sign a sponsorship deal with FOX Bet. Last year, the Philadelphia 76ers also entered into a multi-year sponsorship contract with FOX Bet.FOX Bet is a mobile casino that was formed from the partnership between The Stars Group and Fox Sports.

Since the NFL cleared its clubs to sign betting-related deals last spring, some NFL teams have been busy making deals. The Denver Broncos have signed pacts with BetMGM, Betfred, and FanDuel. The Detroit Lions also have a deal with BetMGM. Likewise, the NFL has inked betting partnership contracts with BetCris, 888Holdings, and SkyBet.

We May See a New Casino Near Penn State Open Next Year

Pennsylvania lawmakers are currently working to significantly expand the state’s casino industry. Part of that plan is to open “mini-casinos” in different cities. According to new reports, we may see a new casino near Penn State open its doors next year.Pennsylvania Highlighted on Map

It’s interesting news to hear. There are clearly many companies still interested in opening casinos here. Today, we’re going to talk about the details of this proposed mini-casino.

Let’s get into it!

Pennsylvania’s Casino Industry is Slowly Coming Back to Life

Pennsylvania’s leaders ordered all of the state’s casinos to shut down back in March. It was a complete turn from where the state was heading. Prior to the shutdowns, Pennsylvania had been working hard to expand its gambling industry.

Revenue from this industry plummeted for months. According to a new report from The Allegheny Institute, casinos in the state lost out on an incredible $968.8 million. That is the biggest revenue drop since the state legalized Class III casinos.

Online gambling regulations slightly helped to alleviate this revenue loss. Online casino revenue jumped from $13.9 million in January of this year to $50 million in June. That’s an astounding 258.6% increase.

Casinos in Pennsylvania slowly started to open their doors again in June. Thousands of residents in the state were finally able to work again. Since that time, revenue from this industry has been slowly increasing.

Things are far from normal. It may be more than a year before casino revenue gets back to the levels it was in 2019. That isn’t stopping the state from working to expand this industry, though. Many new mini-casinos are scheduled to open here over the next few years.

It now appears that a location for the state’s next mini-casino has been chosen.

Ira Lubert Plans to Open a New Casino Near Penn State

Pennsylvania continues to search for individuals and companies that will operate new mini-casinos. This week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held an auction for a license to run one of these venues. Ira Lubert won the bid at $10 million and immediately offered some insight into where this gaming venue will be located.

Many were surprised to hear that Ira Lubert, an investor with a successful history of casino operations in the state, plans to open the new casino near Penn State. The most probable venue for this casino is the Nittany Mall in College Township, just minutes away from Penn State’s flagship campus.

This is not a done deal, though. Lubert must officially file a casino application within six months to become eligible to open this venue. He’ll also need to provide the state with details on the building plan, amenities, and employment projections.

Five mini-casino licenses have already been awarded this year. None have opened yet. Only the Live! Casino Pittsburgh is scheduled to open this year. Many feel that 2021 will be a big year for this newly-emerging industry.

Some feel that Pennsylvania will grow to become the next major gambling destination on the East Coast. As we just mentioned, five new mini-casinos are scheduled to open here over the next couple of years. These venues can hold up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games.

We’re likely to hear more about Lubert’s proposed casino over the next few weeks. Some feel there will be major opposition to opening a casino so close to a college campus. Make sure to stay tuned for updates!

Online Casino Gambling and Sports Betting Continues to Grow in Pennsylvania

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have been looking at sports betting regulation for years. In 2017, the state approved a bill to regulate this industry, yet PASPA prevented the state from formally legalizing it. PASPA was removed in 2018 and sports betting was formally made legal in Pennsylvania immediately after.

2017 marked a major change in the state’s gambling laws. This year, lawmakers also approved a measure to legalize online casino gambling. These two industries have been surging throughout 2020.

Online sports betting revenue has been gradually increasing for years. The same can be said for internet casino revenue. Pennsylvania’s expanded gambling laws have actually pushed other nearby states to look at updating their regulations, as well.

The first legal sports wager was placed in New York in mid-2019. Many lawmakers in New York have been considering allowing online casino gambling, as well. These calls to expand gambling laws have intensified now that the state is desperate for additional forms of revenue.

Pennsylvania may even decide to allow more forms of gambling. Additional casinos are set to open here over the next few years, including the new casino near Penn State. It will be interesting to see how successful these venues become.

Do you think Ira Lubert will be allowed to open this mini-casino near Penn State’s flagship campus? Let us know in the comments section below!

IGT Inks Sports Betting Pact With Boyd Gaming Corp.


International Game Technology PLC announced on Wednesday that it has inked a sports betting technology deal with casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp.

Under the agreement, IGT will cover the equipment for Boyd Gaming’s retail sportsbooks in the state of Nevada and the technology for the mobile app ans sports betting site of the casino operator. For its part, Boyd has agreed to deploy IGT’s PlaySports self-service betting kiosks throughout its Las Vegas-based casinos. Both companies have agreed to a phased rollout for the services and features covered in this long-term agreement.

Said IGT PlayDigital Senior Vice President Enrico Drago:

“IGT and Boyd Gaming will create a dynamic omnichannel sports betting product that is sure to stand apart in Nevada, the most mature and high-volume sports betting destination in the U.S. IGT’s PlaySports platform enables Boyd Gaming to differentiate its sports betting product in meaningful ways that position them to attract new players and grow revenue in the segment.”

Not their First Partnership

Aside from offering Boyd’s clients with a more progressive sports betting platform, the PlaySports agreement will allow the US. casino operator to have an improved back office navigation, and the ability to update its app in line with real-time data and betting trends. Likewise, players will enjoy new features on the app as well as a wider variety of bets.

This isn’t the first time that Boyd Gaming and IGT have partnered. Since 2018, PlaySports has been powering Boyd Gaming’s sports betting facilities in its gaming properties in Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.

Boyd Casino operates a total of 29 casinos in 10 different states. When it comes to Nevada, three of its three Las Vegas casinos remain closed since they were ordered by the government last March to shut down operations as part of the health and safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, one of those Casinos–Eldorado, was granted approval by the Henderson City Council to make its gaming and liquor license non-operational until 2021.

IGT and FanDuel

Boyd Gaming’s regional casinos have a sports betting partnership with FanDuel. The latter runs the sportsbook in seven of Boyd’s regional casinos and mobile sports betting apps in Pennsylvania and Indiana. They are expected to launch a digital sports betting app at Boyd’s Par-A-Dice Casino in Illinois. 

Earlier this month, IGT and FanDuel extended their U.S. partnership through 2024. Through this agreement, FanDuel sportsbooks in eight states will utilize the IGT platform. Meanwhile, FanDuel will offer IGT’s online casino games in Pennsylvania and New Jersey where the former currently operates.

IGT is a global leader in gaming solutions including gaming machines, lotteries, sports betting and digital. It has established relationships with governments and regulators in over 100 countries worldwide. 

Cordish Launches PlayLive! Site in Pennsylvania

Maryland Live! Casino
Cordish Companies’ PlayLive! became the first branded internet gambling site to launch before its brick and mortar facilities have opened.

The online gambling business was launched on Monday, ahead of the opening of the company’s two casino projects in the Keystone State. Cordish’s Live!Casino Pittsburgh and Live!Casino Philadelphia are set to open in late 2020 and early 2021, respectively.

Said Cordish Gaming Group President Rob Norton:

“As a leader in the gaming industry, Cordish understands the importance of innovation and this site certainly illustrates our ability to enhance the traditional launch timeline of our new casino projects.”

Extensive Content

Developed in partnership with Game Account Network (GAN), PlayLive! has an extensive content of more than 100 gaming options, including classic slot games like Cleopatra, Crazy Money, Game King Video Poker, and Wheel of Fortune. It also carries popular titles like Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst, and Twin Spin.

Aside from online slots, PlayLive! Also offers interactive table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. Players are also allowed to join Jackpot games like Divine Fortune, Mercy of the Gods, and Wheel of Fortune Hawaiian Getaway. The leaderboards show the players’ current rankings, creating an extra level of excitement for gamblers.

All games have been configured in such a way that players will get the same experience online as they do when they are at Live! Casino floors. In celebration of its launch, PlayLive! is offering welcome bonuses and free spins.

Live!Rewards Enrollment

The site was also launched so that Pennsylvania residents can enroll ahead of time in the Live! Rewards® customer loyalty program,. The rewards will be used by customers when the Keystone State’s Live! Hotels become operational but it can also be used in all Live! Casino and Hotel properties in the United States.

The rewards program is free to join with all players receiving the red Classic Live! Rewards® Card. All card members accumulate points to enjoy a variety of benefits and perks on PlayLive! and Live! Casino and Hotels.

About Live! Casino and Hotels

Live! Casino and Hotels are owned and operated by companies affiliated to the Cordish Companies. The flagship property is located in the Baltimore/Washington DC area and it is the top tourist destination in Maryland with a AAA Four Diamond rating.

The soon to open Live! Casino and Hotel in Philadelphia is located in the Stadium Entertainment District of the city. It will feature 2,200 slots and games plus more than 150 live action table games. On the other hand, the second Live! Casino and Hotel is located in Westmoreland near Pittsburgh has over 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 750 slots and 30 live action table games.

What’s Going On With Pennsylvania’s Casino Industry?

There are nearly 20 gambling venues spread around the state of Pennsylvania. Some of these are stand-alone casinos offering a wide range of different gambling options. Others are racinos, offering casino games inside horse race tracks. Unfortunately, the shutdown of Pennsylvania’s casino industry cost the state a massive amount of revenue over the past few months.Pennsylvania Street Sign

Casinos here are slowly getting back on track. Things are far from normal, though. Today, we’re going to look at how much money was lost due to the shutdown of casinos here. We’ll also talk about how these revenue losses may rebound.

Let’s get into it!

Most of Pennsylvania’s Casinos Have Now Reopened

Pennsylvania has a large and successful casino industry. In March, state leaders here ordered all of their gambling venues to completely shut down. It wasn’t surprising news. All other states around the country ordered their casinos to close down, as well.

Casino companies here immediately expressed their concern. Initially, it was unclear how long it would take for casinos to reopen. The months went on and all of this state’s casinos remained closed down to the public.

As many already know, Pennsylvania is one of the few states with legal online casinos. These casino gambling platforms grew extremely popular during the casino shutdown. Many residents here continued to call for land-based restrictions to be lifted, though.

Fortunately, most casinos in PA are now open. In May, state leaders began allowing casinos to accept guests again. Intense safety measures remain set in place inside all of these venues. That includes separating players at table games and requiring masks.

Gambling fans in this state are happy to see this change. Casino revenue has been slowly increasing since casinos started opening in May and June. Now, many analysts are looking back at the impact keeping casinos closed had on the state.

Many are surprised to see how much money the state lost due to the casino closures.

The Shutdown of Pennsylvania’s Casino Industry Cost Hundreds of Millions

The land-based casino took a tremendous hit over the past six months. Even now, the vast majority of casinos around the country are seeing major dips in revenue earnings. Pennsylvania’s casino industry is struggling to stay afloat.

Recently, reports surfaced that show how much money was lost once casinos were shut down. The casinos themselves missed out on an estimated $968.8 million. It’s being said that the state lost out on an incredible $424 million via taxes from this industry.

Pennsylvania is known for having extremely high tax rates on casinos. Analysts within The Allegheny Institute, who published this report, shed light on how internet casinos managed to bring the state some much-needed revenue.

“Call it intuition or just plain luck that internet gaming made its debut in Pennsylvania casinos in July 2019,” the report states. “While not all casinos in Pennsylvania offer online gaming options, for those that do, total internet gaming revenue (including online table games, internet slot machines and online poker) jumped from $13.9 million in January 2020 to $50 million in June, an increase of 258.6 percent.”

State leaders are guaranteed to take notice of this revenue loss. It seems that many failed to realize how important the casino industry really was for the state. Fortunately, revenue is increasing now that casinos here have begun accepting guests again.

Will more states begin looking into the legalization of online casino gambling now?

Online Casino Regulation Can Bring States Valuable Revenue

Prior to the shutdown in March, the US gambling industry was thriving. Casinos continued to see their earnings increase. States with regulated sports betting options saw revenue from this industry surging, as well.

As casinos started shutting down, states realized how important these venues really are. Obviously, casinos employ a huge number of state residents. They also bring the state and local communities large amounts of money every month.

Only a few states have regulated online casino options right now. That seems likely to change soon. State leaders across the country are seeing how much revenue a regulated internet casino industry can bring in.

Some feel that Nevada needs to begin allowing online casino gambling. Casinos here started to reopen in June. Cities like Las Vegas are now back up and running, yet casino revenue remains significantly lower than it was in 2019.

The regulation of online casinos can help to turn things around. We’ll need to wait and see how state officials here move forward with online gambling plans over the next six months.

Are you surprised to see how much money Pennsylvania’s casino industry lost this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

Pennsylvania’s Casinos Will Reopen Without Poker

With all of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos closed, poker players used to tournaments and cash games in card rooms have been left to duel online. While possibly a socially distanced home game or two might have taken place during quarantine, former poker room residents are clamoring to get back to playing cards the old fashion way.

Casino in Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, poker-playing casino patrons will have to wait a little while longer before they can return to card rooms. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has outlined a new set of health and safety protocols for casinos to follow to combat the spread of COVID-19.

In a 10-page document released today, the PGCB states:

Poker rooms are not authorized to operate due to players handling cards and chips. Poker room operations will be re-examined based upon changing CDC and PA DOH guidance.

Pennsylvania’s Reopening Protocols for Casinos

Governor Tom Wolf has outlined a three-phase, color-coded plan for reopening the state of Pennsylvania.

  • Green signifies an area is ready to reopen without restrictions.
  • Yellow denotes an area where businesses are operational and restrictions on large social gatherings are in place.
  • Red means only stay-at-home orders are in effect and only “life-sustaining” businesses are permitted to operate.

Stay-at-home orders are slowly being lifted throughout the state. But as legislators weigh the risk of crowds gathering in confined spaces, casinos have cautiously remained on the backburner. The governor’s color-coded plan prevents casinos from reopening until the counties they’re located in reach the “green” phase.

Bad Beat for Pennsylvania’s Poker Players

The PGCB’s restrictions may seem over-the-top, but considering how frequently cards and chips change hands during just an hour’s worth of play, it’s a reasonable policy to implement. Whether Pennsylvania’s casinos find an alternate method to distribute cards and chips could determine how long the poker ban continues.

The new health and safety protocols also specify casino patrons in Pennsylvania are required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth. To prevent customers from completely concealing their identity, the PGCB’s policy specifically outlines casinos should discourage patrons from wearing hats inside. If a patron insists on wearing a hat inside the casino, they will be asked to temporarily take off their hat and lower their mask to be captured by security cameras for identification.

Tough break if you’re a poker player who likes wearing hats.

Online Sports Betting in PA Continues to Bring in Revenue

Sports betting first became available in Pennsylvania in late 2018. Over the past couple of years, this industry has grown extremely popular here. New reports show that online sports betting in PA makes up for about 90% of all sports wagers placed.PA State Seal

This isn’t much of a surprise. Online gambling is growing more popular around the entire country. Now is the perfect time to check out how much revenue Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry is managing to bring in.

Let’s get into it!

Pennsylvania’s Gambling Revenue Continues to Fluctuate

Not long ago, Pennsylvania took a somewhat hardline stance towards the gambling industry. This is no longer the case. Today, just about all forms of gambling are available here. Revenue from this industry has fluctuated since these new gambling options became available.

In May of 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. This gave every state in the country the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania immediately began taking steps to open this sports betting industry and by November of that year, it became legal.

That wasn’t the only form of gambling to recently become available here. In November of 2019, lawmakers here started allowing online poker. This form of gambling has grown extremely popular in just a few months.

Pennsylvania’s gambling industry is growing bigger every single month. It has a lot of competition, though. New York, New Jersey, and Delaware all have surging gambling industries, as well.

This week, sports betting revenue reports became available here. Let’s take a look at how much this industry is managing to bring in.

Revenue From Online Sports Betting in PA is Surging

Sports betting is growing more popular every single month. This is especially true in Pennsylvania. Last month, sports betting revenue here hit a new record.

More than $384 million was spent on sports wagers last month. These wagers were placed through the state’s eight online sports betting sites and 12 land-based betting venues. Revenue from this industry came out to $31.6 million in January.

Many believe that Super Bowl bets placed in January helped to increase revenue here. Interestingly, close to 90% of all the sports wagers placed in Pennsylvania last month were done online. FanDuel’s online sportsbook continues to be the biggest revenue earner for the state.

Land-based sports betting revenue actually dropped last month by 11.8%. This is the lowest revenue from brick and mortar sports betting venues since September. It’s clear that online sports betting in PA is beginning to take over.

Gambling competition remains very high in the northeast of the country. New York, in particular, is working hard to improve its gambling industry.

New York Continues Looking at Gambling Expansion Plans

New York is another state that’s only recently begun to embrace the gambling industry. Over the past decade, a huge number of casinos have opened in the Upstate area of New York. Unfortunately, the large number of gaming venues in this state is making it hard for the casinos here to be profitable.

To help with things, lawmakers in this state decided to legalize sports betting. Hope was that it would draw in more people to the state’s land-based casinos. That hasn’t necessarily been the case.

Things do seem to be improving, though. Each of the four casinos in Upstate New York is starting to see revenue increases. Resorts World Catskills, one of the biggest casinos in the state, saw its revenue increase by 48% last year. Lottery ticket sales are decreasing here.

State officials continue discussing the possibility of allowing sports bets to be placed online. Lawmakers in New York are beginning to see how much revenue is being earned from online sports betting in PA. Many believe that online sports wagering will become legal here within a year or two.

Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry continues to grow. Other states are beginning to take notice. We’ll need to wait and see how much revenue from this industry grows for the rest of the year.

Stay tuned for more Pennsylvania gambling news over the next few months!

Pennsylvania’s First Month of Online Poker Generates $2.5 Million

Playing Cards on Top of Keyboard, Poker Chips, Red DiceFollowing a soft-launch in early November, December was the first full month of online poker in the Keystone State. The rollout came two years after the legislature legalized online gambling in 2017. With  early reports indicating that interest in poker was high in the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has supplied some evidence:

Publishing its December 2019 revenue report, the regulator showed that monthly online earnings were up 10.3 percent. Pennsylvania online poker, in total, generated $2.5 million in revenue during December 2019. Nearly $400,000 of that revenue was collected by the state as tax revenue.

PokerStars PA Boosts Revenue

In November, online gaming revenue was $9,655,811. One month later, Pennsylvania’s five licensed operators earned $10,624,699. The jump was somewhat expected thanks to launch of PokerStars PA. Although the site went live in November, December was its first full month of activity.

Currently, PokerStars PA is the only Pennsylvania online poker room in operation and there has been no official word that a competitor is on the verge of entering the market. In less than two months, online poker revenue in the state totaled more than $4.4 million and added $710,000 to state coffers.

Thanks to the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP), everything started off pretty well. Held afloat by the increase in activity during the event’s opening week, PokerStars PA increased the overall guarantee from $1 million to $1.2 million.

The total payout eventually surpassed $1.5 million; a figure that helped PokerStars rake $2,473,173 in December.

While impressive, the $2.5 million in revenue made in December only made up less than 1 percent of Pennsylvania’s gross gambling revenue, but online gambling is steadily taking up a bigger percentage of market share than in years past.

Online Poker Compared to Other iGaming Verticals in the State

Like its first month, online poker compares favorably in terms of revenue when considered alongside other iGaming verticals in the state.

The highest amount ever generated from slots last month was $1.9 million by Rivers-Philidelphia. Hollywood Casino ranked second and brought in about $1.5 million in profits. For table games, once again Rivers-Philidelphia led the market with $1.1 million in revenue. Mount Airy was the next highest with $805k.

When combining slots and table games, poker still fares well, out-earning all but the market-leading Rivers-Philidelphia.

Poker compares favorably when compared to the highly lucrative sports betting vertical, too. When compared to land-based sports betting, poker generated more than any single operator. In fact, poker almost outgained all land-based sports betting in the market last month which combined for just under $3 million.

It will be interesting to see the trajectory of Pennsylvania online poker revenue over the course of its first year. It’s uncertain whether the hype may wear off, or if it will continue to gain more and more traction. We may more operators enter the market and it is even possible that the state may begin sharing liquidity with other states should the Wire Act case be settled favorably.

For now, though, the good amount of revenue coming out of Pennsylvania demonstrates just how much money a state can truly generate in tax revenue from the regulation and legalization of online poker. It won’t be long before other states begin it to follow in its footsteps after seeing the numbers.