As an industry, iGaming in the US is less than a decade old, but its phenomenal success has led pundits to claim that it’s the latest American Gold Rush. There is some truth to this sensationalist claim, however, globally, iGaming is on track to be worth around $127.3 billion by 2027, and the emerging US markets will be able to claim a significant chunk of that total.
iGaming, which is an umbrella term for online casino gaming, poker, and sports betting, has the potential to bring about substantial economic benefits to US states as it disrupts the digital gaming space. We only have to look at the development of iGaming in Pennsylvania to see just how much lucrative potential this industry has to offer across the business ecosystem.
A Timeline of iGaming in Pennsylvania
2013 – During the same year that Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey went live with their respective iGaming operations, the state of Pennsylvania began a four-and-a-half-year campaign to legalize real-money gaming and sports betting within its borders.
2017 – In October of this year, the campaigning paid off as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed HB271 into law. This kickstarted a substantial expansion of iGaming in the state, including the provision of online casino games, fantasy sports, poker, and slots.
2018 – In a landmark move, the Supreme Court overturned the immensely restrictive Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which had prohibited legal sports betting activities from taking place outside Nevada.
2019 – In May, the first legal online sportsbooks launched in the state, quickly followed by online casino platforms in July. In November, the first of three real money poker sites in PA launched in the form of the PokerStars platform – with unprecedented success. Within the first few hours of launch, thousands of online poker fans had signed up for the beta version of the platform.
2020 – Amidst a year of major developments across Pennsylvania’s iGaming landscape, online poker stood out as the most popular vertical. In April 2020, the PokerStars platform ran its biggest tournament series to date. The inaugural PokerStars Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP) paid out over $3 million in prizes to resident gamers in the state.
2021 – Proving that iGaming was a lot more than a fad or flash in the pan, 2021 saw gaming across Pennsylvania go from strength to strength. A brand-new record for digital gaming revenue was set in March, as it rose to $97.7 million – representing a 302.1% growth since March 2020.
This record was then topped in May, as online casino revenue increased to $98.6 million (76.7% up from May 2020). Then, in June 2021, iGaming revenue passed the 100 million mark after shooting up to $110.7 million.
While online poker and casino gaming still pulls in staggering revenues per month, during fall 2021, Pennsylvania has seen the sports betting vertical take center stage. With live sports now back on everyone’s screens, online sports betting revenues have soared to new heights. Of the $28 million in revenues generated by sportsbooks in the state in September 2021, $6.2 million of that was handled through online sportsbooks.