COVID-19 Causes US Gross Gaming Revenue to Drop by 79% in Q2

  • COVID-19 is the main reason US gross gaming revenue fell to $2.3bn in Q2
  • iGaming was the only vertical that was up, rising 253.8% year-on-year
  • Gross gaming revenue for the first six months of 2020 was down 45.6% to $11.7bn
man looking at declining bar graph
The COVID-19 pandemic caused gross gaming revenue in the US to drop by 79% in Q2 2020. [Image:]

Pandemic hits hard

US commercial gaming revenue for the second quarter in 2020 fell by 78.8% year-on-year to $2.3bn, according to figures released by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA cites the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns as the main reason for the dramatic drop.

The only positive was iGaming GGR increasing by 253.8% up to $402.7m.

Almost every vertical of the country’s gaming industry was down for the period. Slot machines gross gaming revenue (GGR) was down 82% to $1.3bn, table game GGR plummeted 86% to $287m, and sports betting GGR fell by 46.3% to $64.2m. The only positive was iGaming GGR increasing by 253.8% up to $402.7m. 

Because of the pandemic, casinos and retail sportsbooks were closed for a large portion of Q2. The lack of sporting events for bettors also led to people checking out online casino and online poker options where possible. 

Hopes for a quick rebound

For the first six months of the year, GGR was down 45.6% to $11.7bn. While AGA CEO and president Bill Miller said that the pandemic was the most difficult challenge that the gaming industry has ever faced, he is optimistic for the future. 

In Thursday’s press release, Miller said: “gaming’s record popularity prior to COVID-19, as well our resilience in the midst of such adversity, is evidence of the industry’s foundation for continued success as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Commercial casinos had seen decent demand when they were open at the start of the year. Their GGR before all 990 of the tribal and commercial casinos closed in March had seen a rise of 10.4% year-on-year. 

Improvements ahead

Despite casinos largely operating at reduced capacity and having limited game availability since reopening, many are seeing above average daily GGR. This includes a 42.5% rise in South Dakota and a 19.3% increase in Ohio.

Almost 300 casinos reopened in June, leading to a monthly GGR four times greater than the two previous months combined. At this point, over 85% of the casinos in the country – 417 commercial casinos and 434 tribal properties across 40 states – are open. Wide-ranging health and safety measures are in place at these casinos.

The industry had a record start to 2020

Major sports leagues have also been returning in recent weeks, which will help sportsbooks to boost revenue as bettors now more options. The industry had a record start to 2020, with more and more states legalizing the sports betting. This latest quarter was the first time that iGaming bypassed sports betting GGR since the latter became federally legal in May 2018. Currently, there are only six states with legal forms of online gaming. 

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