The casino industry was one of the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic this spring when half the world went into a lockdown. The casinos across the country were closed, and as a result, their revenues have fallen to their lowest level in decades. Later, in turn, as the restrictions were eased and casinos across the nation reopened, their revenues have recovered surprisingly fast, growing almost to the level seen in 2019.
A horrible spring
After a promising start of the year, when analysts from the American Gaming Association predicted that the revenues of the industry would exceed those seen last year by a double-digit margin, disaster struck: the pandemic has closed down half the world, sending the revenues of entire industries spiraling down.
In the second quarter of the year, the revenues of land-based commercial casinos have dropped by 80% compared to the same time period this year. As the venues reopened, though, the revenues of casinos across the nation immediately started recovering. Maryland casinos have reported only a slight drop in their revenues this October compared to the previous year – just 0.9%. Overall, in turn, the total revenues of the industry for 2020 are down 36.5% compared to the first nine months of 2019, which – considering the historic lows in the second quarter – is still an impressive recovery.
To date, the US casino industry’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) was $20.74 billion, down 36.5% compared to the same period of last year. Slot machine and table game revenues have dropped the most – 38.3% and 42.6% respectively.
Sports betting, in turn, has grown surprisingly fast across the nation, partly because of the new markets that launched this year, and partly because of the return of sports. In August, the sports schedule across the US was especially busy, leading to the betting markets’ quick recovery: the GGR of betting operators has grown by 47.1% in Q3, and 27% year-on-year for the first nine months of the year.
iGaming, in turn, had its best year to date in the US. After all, the JackpotCity online casino is lockdown-proof: you don’t have to wear a mask or social distance when playing there. At the same time, the JackpotCity offers its players a complete casino experience online, with all the games (even live-dealer games) and wins you may expect. Of course, it’s only available outside of the US – playing at offshore establishments is not permitted by the valid gaming legislation.
Luckily, there are already plenty of iGaming outlets back home, too – and they did pretty well during the lockdowns.4 Where other branches of the casino industry have seen their revenues drop dramatically, iGaming has grown to never-before-seen heights. In the third quarter of the year, the revenues of iGaming operations have grown by a staggering 232.4%, while in the first nine months of the year, by 205.7%, growing beyond $1 billion for the first time since 2013.