That was not a huge surprise. March 2020 was the biggest month for PA online poker history. PokerStars Pennsylvania is now lapping the surge of interest during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, so comparatives are going to look weaker than they really are.
If not for the unusual 2020 spike, March’s revenue of more than $2.4 million would be a very respectable number. It is on par with the averages when the pandemic bump of 2020 is excluded, sitting around the median monthly revenue for their operational time in PA.
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Since they began operations in the market in late 2019, the median monthly revenue has been $2,520,078. March’s value of $2,401,772 is more than $100,000 off that median value, but certainly within sight of it.
That median is significantly lower than the $2.8 million mean monthly average since opening. This is significantly inflated by the huge revenue numbers posted in the early pandemic months of 2020.
PokerStars PA Median and Average Revenue
History in the Keystone State
PokerStars got off the ground in Pennsylvania in November 2019 with a monopoly position as the only poker operator in the state. Initially, it was something of a slow start, only posting more than $2 million in revenue one month out of their first four.
Since those first four months, however, the operator has never posted a month of less than $2 million revenue. Revenue began to climb in March 2020 when they shot up to more than $3 million for the first time.
That started a huge run for a few months as a result of lockdowns that forced people to stay home. After March 2020 set a new revenue record, April smashed it again with more than $5 million total.
Revenue began to drop again after the April high, but remained over $3 million till July, when they just failed to hit that mark with $2,986,498. Since then, they have never made it back to those pandemic highs, and it is no surprise to see yearly totals dropping now as they hit the anniversary of that unusual period.
More Tough Comparatives for PokerStars PA in Near Future
In the short term, it seems clear that PokerStars should expect to continue to see year-over-year declines in revenue, but that won’t necessarily signal negative news in the market. The pandemic bubble of 2020 was a unique period in history, one that will almost certainly never be replicated.
While the lockdowns starting in March 2020 threw most of the world into chaos, it was actually a boon for online gaming companies. Billions of people around the globe were forced to stay home for significant period of times, and they were all looking for something to do.
Online poker operators around the globe reaped the rewards, even while the live poker scene withered on the vine. The new market of Pennsylvania was not immune to that flood of new interest, and began posting revenue numbers significantly higher than expected from March 2020 through the end of the summer.
While the world is far from finished with the COVID-19 pandemic, spring and summer 2021 look to be a much different time than they were one year ago. That will almost certainly result in lower overall revenues for all poker sites going forward, and it seems unlikely that PokerStars’ revenue in PA will match 2020 numbers until August at the earliest.
Future Competition on the Horizon
To date, PokerStars has had exclusive access to the Pennsylvania market, but despite a market size of more than 12 million people, PA has been generating less revenue in 2021 than the newly opened, but smaller, market of Michigan online poker.
They enjoyed early monopoly access in Michigan as well, but faced competition much earlier from the upstart BetMGM Poker MI. While the newcomer still accounts for a small part of the market in Michigan, the entry of BetMGM has helped supercharge the Michigan market.
It looks very probable that PokerStars will soon face competition in PA as well. Both BetMGM, which runs on software from partypoker, and WSOP.com, running the Poker 8 software from 888poker, are planning entries to PA in the first half of 2021.
It remains to be seen if that will grow the Pennsylvania poker market. It seems unlikely it will grow to the levels seen in 2020 at this time regardless of new entries, but the current numbers only look low compared to the pandemic inflated numbers from a unique period in history.
New competition might see PA finally grow into its own, and take over the smaller Michigan market for total revenue, but compared to more “normal” times, the revenue figures in 2021 are still quite solid, and signal a positive future for PokerStars in the state.