US Casino Revenues Post Worst Results in 2020 since 2003

Casinos in the United States lost 31% of revenue in 2020, the American Gaming Association has reported. It was the worst year since 2003.

AGA Reports Poor Results for 2020 Casino Industry

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has reported a significant drop in gambling revenue for 2020. Commenting on last year’s results on Wednesday, AGA said that revenue was down 31%. That is the lowest reported amount since 2003 according to the organization’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker initiative.

Overall, revenue hit $30 billion in 2020. The year marked the first market contraction since 2014, the association explained in an official statement. AGA president and CEO Bill Miller explained the difficulties that the industry faced were due to nationwide shutdowns that put live entertainment, meetings and conventions at a standstill.

These shutdowns had forced casinos to not operate in 27% of their usual business days. Overall, casinos stayed open for just 125 days out of more than 170 days they would have traditionally been running.

It has devastated our businesses, employees and communities, Miller commented. He argued that people relied on the gaming industry’s success for sustenance. AGA’s boss reminded that the hospitality and traveling sectors have been the one hardest hit by the pandemic, and made the case for targeted federal relief assistance.

His organization fought fiercely for the right of casinos and hospitality companies to receive aid when the government introduced the first Economic Relief Bill, which more or less excluded casinos.

A Concerted Efforts Needed to Restore Industry

Even after amendments, though, Miller thinks that the government should make a concerted effort to restore the industry back up. He further focused on the hard data, adding:

“These numbers show the economic realities of COVID-19 and underscore the importance of targeted federal relief and ramped-up vaccine distribution.”

AGA president and CEO Bill Miller

According to AGA, the drop in results in 2020 far outpaced the 8.4% decline incurred from 2007 through 2009. Yet, even at the end of 2020, AGA already saw strong results.

Quarter-over-quarter, results have gone up 1.7% to $9.2 billion in revenue for the last three months ending on December. Meanwhile, some 911 casinos have continued operating since restrictions for full shut-down have been lifted. However, by the end of 2020, some 37 properties have still remained closed in states such as South Dakota, Louisiana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Sports Betting Patches Things Up

A silver lining has been the return of sports betting revenue. The activity soared 69% year-over-year to $1.5 billion in revenue, not least owing to pent-up demand as well as more legal options for US bettors. The Super Bowl alone brought out 23.2 million Americans betting, although these results are mostly going to show in 2021. Interactive online casinos posted record results of their own, with the revenue reaching $1.6 billion.

Table and slot machines did lose a hefty chunk of revenue, however, with 33.8% and 39.4% respectively. In terms of per-casino revenues, all properties posted drops in overall revenue.

Casinos in New Mexico saw a 79% declined compared to 57% in New York and 56% in Michigan. While shutdowns have been the only option in the face of the pandemic, in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International is resuming operation for more properties.

The company is reopening the Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and Park MGM on March 3, marking a return for three of the city’s iconic properties. Despite the difficulties, Miller is determined to see the industry through and contribute to its accelerated growth in 2021 and beyond.