Pennsylvania Sports Betting Sees April Handle Drop; $479M Wagered
April was always projected to be a down month compared to March due to the fact that NCAA Basketball and March Madness provided such a boost in wagering. However, what was not expected was the lowest sports betting handle in the state since September of 2020. April wagers plummeted in the Keystone State, down $80 million from March 2021.
With this limited handle, the state also saw a very small revenue intake of $9.5 million, the second-lowest since September 2020. This tax is based on the $26 million in gross revenue that the sportsbooks took home in April of 2021. The total revenue based on wagers was $36 million. That revenue is good enough for a 7.5% hold on the total sports wagering handle, but it was not a fantastic month for bookmakers.
April 2020 to April 2021
Judging April 2021’s handle is extremely tough to do. When comparing it to months prior, like March and January, it is not fair due to the fact that those months are packed with big sporting events. March Madness and NFL Playoffs offer a massive boost to the overall handle. Well, logically, the next best thing to do would be to compare April 2021 to April 2020. This would work except for the fact that the pandemic took off in April 2020 and most sporting events were canceled, not to mention all retail sports betting pretty much halted. April 2020 only saw $46 million in total handle and dwindles in comparison to 2021.
April 2021’s numbers will not be put into perspective until April 2022. Then, we will be able to compare numbers that had similar events in the month. We will be able to see if April will always trend as a down month or if there was something going on in 2021 that caused April’s handle to be so horrific compared to other months around it. However, I do not think that you can draw many conclusions at this moment in time regarding the 2021 April handle on its own.
What Will May Bring?
Well, if we take a look at 2020’s numbers, May sports betting should skyrocket; however, much of that had to do with the pandemic. In 2019, while Pennsylvania was still in its betting infancy, the April to May handle actually took a downswing. I am unsure of what to make of these numbers, and there is no clear picture of what will happen in May with sports betting in Pennsylvania.
Some things to note about May sports include the NBA Playoffs and NHL Playoffs. Both of these events, which draw in more viewers, should lead to more wagers on those sports. At the same time, baseball has its MLB season in full swing. This points to a better handle in May, but there is no guarantee of that.
For now, Pennsylvania sits firmly as the 3rd largest sports betting market behind Nevada and New Jersey. However, both Virginia and Michigan are on the rise and could surpass the Keystone State in future months.