The reopening of casinos across the US helped commercial gross gaming revenue (GGR) grow 293.0% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, but continuing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions on land-based venues mean revenue remains below prior year levels.
Total GGR in the three months to September 30 cam to $9.04bn, up from $2.30bn in the second quarter of the year, but down 18.9% on the same month in 2019, according to figures published by the American Gaming Association (AGA).
Almost all casinos and other land-based betting facilities reopened in Q3, having been forced to temporarily close in mid-March due to Covid-19, and this helped GGR climb quarter-on-quarter.
More than 100 casinos reopened between July and September, with 90.0% of commercial and tribal casinos (902 in total) operational by the end of Q3, compared to 80.8% (800) at the start of the period.
However, the AGA said the main reason for the year-on-year decline was lasting Covid-19 health and safety measures on land-based commercial casinos and other facilities, such as social distancing and capacity restrictions.
“Our industry continues to prioritise the health and safety of our employees, customers, and communities above all else,” AGA president and chief executive Bill Miller said. “While these quarterly results are promising, the reality is a full recovery is dependent on continued public health measures to control prevalence rates.”
Breaking down these figures, despite the restrictions, slot machine accounted for 64.9% of total GGR in Q3, generating $5.87bn. This was 19.3% less than in 2019, but 351.5% more than in Q2.
Table game revenue also rocketed by 447.2% quarter-on-quarter to $1.57bn, but this was 31.2% lower than in the corresponding three-month period last year.
The land-based struggles were offset to some extent by a strong performance from new verticals and channels.
Sports betting GGR was up 448.8% from $64.2m in Q2 to $352.3m, with this also 47.1% more than last year, following the launch of new legal betting markets in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington D.C.
Mean while igaming revenue increased by 8.0% quarter-on-quarter and 232.4% year-on-year to $435.0m, helped by the launch of online gambling in West Virginia in July.
During the quarter, Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota all reported year-on-year rises in revenue.
Ohio saw the greatest growth, with its GGR climbing 7.5% year-on-year, ahead of South Dakota with an annual growth of 6.1% and Pennsylvania on 3.8%.
Looking at the year-to-date figures, total commercial GGR for the nine months to the end of September was $20.74bn, which was 36.5% lower than at the same point in 2019.
Slot GGR was down 38.3% to $13.24bn and table game GGR slipped by 42.6% to $3.63bn, but sports betting GGR was 27.0% higher at $677.8m and igaming GGR rocketed 205.7% to $1.07bn.
“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,” Miller added.