COVID-19 leads to 31 percent decline in US commercial gaming revenues

COVID-19 leads to 31 percent decline in US commercial gaming revenues

Months-long shutdowns and restrictions led by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a steep decline in gaming revenues for the entire the U.S. commercial gaming industry, making 2020 the worst year since 2003. The American Gaming Association (AGA) revealed that commercial gaming revenue slipped more than 31 per cent as the deadly disease of COVID-19 forced operators to close their gaming & entertainment facilities at some point of time last year.

The industry reported commercial venue’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) at $30 billion. The figure includes licensed casinos’ retail & online sports betting in addition to iGaming operations, and represents a decline of roughly $13.6 billion (more than 31 per cent) from the previous year.

The $30 billion decline in revenues (technically $29.98bn before rounding) was the lowest revenue figure reported by the U.S. gaming industry in the last 17 years. In 2003, commercial operators had reported revenue of $28.7 billion. But, it is worth-noting here that merely 11 states had legal gaming at that time. Now, the number of states with commercial legal gaming has jumped to 29. The District of Columbia also granted legal status to gaming last year.

Commenting on the figures, AGA President & CEO Bill Miller said, “These numbers show the economic realities of COVID-19 and underscore the importance of targeted federal relief and ramped-up vaccine distribution to accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2021.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced all brick-&-mortar casino venues across the country to suspend all their gaming and entertainment operations by late March last year. While many of them started resuming operations by May or June, their capacities were curtailed with fewer seats and slot machines to ensure social distancing.

The percentage of casino days lost roughly lines up with the drop in revenue. In the 25 U.S. states with commercial casinos, gaming venues reported loss of 45,600 operating days combined. That represents a loss of 26.7 per cent in the number of available days.

New Mexico reported a loss of around 80 per cent of its commercial operation days. New York, Michigan and Illinois followed with 48.4 per cent, 47.6 per cent and 40.2 per cent of days lost, respectively. New York shut down its commercial casinos for nearly six months last year. In Nevada, commercial casinos lost 21,538 days, or nearly 27 of the total possible days available.