U.S. Commercial Gaming Revenue Rebounds Nearly 300% to $9B in Q3 of 2020
By Tom Nightingale
November 19, 2020
New figures from the American Gaming Association show that the United States’ gross commercial casino revenue rebounded greatly during the third quarter of 2020, recovering by nearly 300% compared to the second quarter, at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown.
In total, gaming revenues totaled $9.04 billion during the three months until the end of September, according to an AGA report released this week. That represents a 19% decline from the 2019 third quarter but a 294% increase over the second quarter of 2020. April to June was, of course, heavily impacted by the nationwide shutdown of the casino industry, as nearly 1,000 casinos were shuttered across 43 states.
Year-to-date, gaming revenue in the U.S. is down 36.5% in the first nine months of 2020. The market is expected to suffer something of a dip during the final quarter of the year as COVID-19 infections spike again in many regions and some states consider rollbacks and even re-entering some form of lockdown.
For example, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a mandatory re-closure of casinos on Nov. 15, effective Nov. 18. Since late October, other states including Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Colorado have rolled back some gaming activities including their casino markets.
"While these quarterly results are promising, the reality is a full recovery is dependent on continued public health measures to control prevalence rates," said Bill Miller, AGA President and CEO. "As state and local officials respond to current COVID-19 outbreaks with additional restrictions, urgent Congressional action to provide COVID-19 relief is even more crucial. Gaming employees and communities depend on it."
In the U.S., more than 100 casinos reopened in Q3. By the end of September, 902 commercial and tribal casinos (90.8% of total, according to the AGA) were in operation, compared to 800 (80.8% of total) at the start of July. As of its mid-November, figures the AGA says 911 of 994 U.S. casinos properties across 40 states have at least partially reopened, including 442 commercial (94.7% of total) and 469 tribal properties (89% of total).
Breaking it down, some states actually saw remarkable success, even compared with last year. Arkansas (+.3%), Mississippi (+2.8%), Ohio (+7.5%), Pennsylvania (+3.8%), and South Dakota (+6.1%) all outperformed their Q3 2019 revenue figures. In September, Maryland (+1%) and New Jersey (+6.5%) also returned to year-on-year gaming revenue growth.
Nationwide slot and table game revenue remained down compared to Q3 2019, but sports betting revenue bounced back in Q3 2020. That was boosted by an atypically busy major-league sports calendar for this time of year, as well as new legal betting markets in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. All in all, sports betting is now available in 19 states, as well as D.C. The outlook is rosy, too – the 2020 U.S. election saw six states make tangible progress in legalizing sports betting, including Maryland, South Dakota, and Louisiana voting to approve legal sports betting.
In fact, Americans legally wagered a record $5.95 billion in Q3 and generated $352.3 million in gaming revenue, which is the second-highest quarterly total ever recorded. According to Sports Handle, September alone saw nearly $2.9 billion worth of legal sports bets placed in the U.S. That is the highest cumulative handle recorded in any month. New Jersey broke the overall monthly record that it had set in September by breaking the $800 million barrier in October.
Meanwhile, iGaming also continued to grow in Q3 2020, recording $435 million in Q3 revenue, up 8% from Q2 and 232% from Q3 2019.