Pennsylvania Betting Drops In February

As any bettor would tell you, it can’t be all wins. After the record-breaking betting handles of January, it’s no surprise that states across the US reported big drops for February. However, Pennsylvania’s decline was more significant than most, with a 24.8% drop in its handle. That’s despite the record-breaking Super Bowl being played in the same month. 

While this may seem significant, experts aren’t panicking just yet. There are underlying reasons underneath the numbers that explain this decline and suggest a rebound in the future. Our team has looked at the data and explained what it means for the future of betting in PA. 

Slow Month for Sports

The massive 24.8% drop in the state’s betting handle is pretty easy to explain by the absence of the NFL. The NFL is the biggest betting sport in the US and attracts millions of dollars every week. While its showcase event, Super Bowl LVI, was held in February, no games were held in the month before this. 

Compare that to January, where there were five weekends of NFL action, including the playoffs. Those playoffs featured teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles from PA. Neither team progressed very far into the playoffs, and without their favorite teams to wager on, regular PA bettors may have lost a bit of interest in February. 

Outside of the NFL, NBA teams continue to take to the court, but NBA wagering does not have the same impact as NFL betting. The NHL season is also still being played, but these sports’ seasons will reach their climaxes outside of February. Therefore, there is nothing to drive bettors to sportsbooks. 

Nothing highlights the impact of football on betting than Pennsylvania’s 2022 betting handle dropping to equal its total for September 2021, when the first NFL games of the season were being played. 

PA Betting Handle 

While the drop-off didn’t surprise Pennsylvania sportsbooks, one of the biggest issues was the fall in profits. Many sportsbooks actually lost money during February, and this can be linked to the promotions on offer. Loads of betting sites offer generous welcome offers to tempt customers to register and promotions to keep returning players interested. While this is great for players, sportsbooks give away lots of money on bets. For example, PointsBet’s handle for the month was $7,915,820 with $855,495 in revenue. That’s a 10.8% hold, which is very impressive for the operator considering this was the best percentage hold in the state. However, the site gave away $1,075,203 in promos, meaning it actually ended up making a loss.

This was the same for other operators in the Keystone State, with some like Caesars posting a negative betting hold. But sportsbooks always offer welcome bonuses, so why the struggle in February? For that, we have to come back to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is an event even the most casual of sports fans never miss, making it a massive opportunity for sportsbooks. The spectacle of the Super Bowl may tempt bettors who never usually wager. While this means lots of new customers for betting sites, it also means a lot of their bets come from promotions.

When looking at the difference between the handles of 2021 and 2022 Super Bowls, it is clear to see the growth in betting. The handle jumped from $486.5 million to the $555 million reported so far. However, revenue only climbed from $43 million to $45.9 million. That means the revenue percentage actually dropped from 8.8% to 8.3%. So while the big promotions on the Super Bowl may have won over more customers in the long term, it harmed the February betting handle in many states in the US. 

The long-term plan is clearly the way forward, as the $597,064,048 betting handle in Pennsylvania for February 2022 was a 17.2% increase on February 2021. Those bettors who redeemed welcome bonuses last year clearly stuck around, which means we could see another increase in February 2023. 

March Madness Rebound

After a tough month, sportsbook operators will be delighted that the biggest college sports event of the year is here. March Madness sees the top teams in college basketball face off against each other for a month of action. There are games almost daily, which means there are plenty of betting opportunities. 

This is especially great in PA, where there are no restrictions on college betting. If you want to place a player prop on a team from in-state, you can do so in Pennsylvania. That makes it one of the best places for college betting in the US compared to other states with more restrictive wagering laws. While the NBA doesn’t boost betting numbers too much, the ‘madness’ of the NCAA basketball tournament captures the nation’s attention. That’s why experts are predicting a significant rebound in Pennsylvania in March. So despite the blip, it’s still a great time to register with a sportsbook and wager on college sports in PA. 

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