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US GGR down 45.6% in H1 as Covid-19 wreaks havoc


US commercial gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first half of 2020 fell 45.6% year-on-year to $11.70bn, according to the latest figures from the American Gaming Association (AGA).

However, in a period where novel coronavirus (Covid-19) caused much of the US gambling industry to grind to a halt, online gaming revenue rocketed.

For the half year period, land-based slots were the largest driver of revenue, bringing in $7.36bn, but this was down 78.0% from 2019. Table games suffered the most severe drop, with revenue declining 78.5% to $2.13bn.

Despite suspensions of sports across the globe, sports betting revenue increased by 10.4% to $324.9m, thanks mostly to high revenue figures of more than $250m in the first quarter of the year.

Revenue from igaming, meanwhile, grew by 189.7% to $634.7m.

Looking just at the second quarter of the year, at a point when Covid-19 had shuttered most of the land-based industry and led to most sports being suspended, GGR was down 78.8% to $2.30bn. Slot revenue fell 81.9% to $1.30bn, while table game GGR tumbled 86.0% to just $286.9m.

Sports betting revenue fell 46.3% to $64.2m, with almost no top-level events taking place.

During this period, however, igaming performance rocketed. Revenue was up more than 250% to $402.7m, almost double the previously quarterly record, set in Q1.

Looking at Q2 revenue on a state-by-state basis, Nevada remained the biggest contributor to revenue, despite an 80.5% drop in revenue to $576.3m. This was generated almost entirely in June, after casinos were permitted to reopen on 4 June.

New Jersey followed with revenue of $276.0m, down 66.6%, overtaking Pennsylvania, where revenue fell 71.5% to $240.2m.

Mississippi, which opened casinos in May, was the second-most resilient state in terms of revenue, which declined by 56.6% to $238.6m. Only South Dakota, where revenue fell by 32.1% to $19.1m, reported a slower decline.

The number of open casino days – the combined number of days of operation for casinos in the period – fell by 75.1% to 10,505 in Q2, with just under half of this total (5,119) coming from Nevada. 

This meant that casinos made an average of $173,770 per open day in Q2, down 30.6% from 2019. Pennsylvania led the way in revenue per open casino day at $661,986, ahead of Ohio’s $585,297.

Turning to June 2020, revenue was down 50.1% year-on-year to $1.81bn. Slot GGR fell by 50.6% to $1.21bn, while table game GGR was down 65.4% to $270.6m.

Sports betting revenue was 15.1% below 2019 at $29.2m, though igaming revenue grew by 254.8% to $135.9m.

“While June 2020 marked a significant drop in year-over-year commercial GGR, it also saw a sharp rise in gaming revenue over the previous two months, generating nearly four times the commercial gaming revenue of April and May combined,” the AGA said.

While Nevada brought in the most revenue again in June, in second was Mississippi, which saw revenue of $169.6m, while Louisiana followed with $164.4m.

South Dakota was the only state with commercial casinos to see revenue increase year-on-year in June, growing 13.8% to $10.9m.