US commercial gaming sales for Q3 2020 totalled $9.04bn, exceeding 81 percent of the pre-COVID rate of the industry in Q3 2019, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).
The figures were released in the Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker of the association, which also showed that revenue increased by 294 percent from the historical lows of Q2, triggered by pandemic-driven, compulsory closures.
COVID-19 health and safety initiatives, including social distancing and capability constraints, have led to the recovery of the gaming industry, lagging behind the wider economic recovery of the region. In the first nine months of 2020, gaming revenue dropped 36.5 percent year-on-year, compared to the US GDP’s 3 percent decline in the same period.
Bill Miller, AGA President and CEO, commented: “Our industry continues to prioritize the health and safety of our employees, customers, and communities above all else. While these quarterly results are promising, the reality is a full recovery is dependent on continued public health measures to control prevalence rates.
“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.”
The tracker noted, with an emphasis on sports betting: “After a second quarter marred by widespread sportsbook shutdowns and a limited calendar of major sporting events, sports betting revenue bounced back strongly in Q3, bolstered by an unusually crowded sports calendar and the rapid growth of the legal, recently legalized markets in Colorado, DC, Illinois, and Michigan.
“Nationwide sports betting revenue reached $352.3m, the second-highest ever quarterly total (bested only by Q4 2019 at $374.9m). That revenue came from Americans wagering $5.95bn on sports nationwide in Q3 2020 – the highest ever quarterly sports betting handle.”
Between July and September, more than 100 casinos reopened, with 902 commercial and tribal casinos (90.8 percent of the total) operating at the end of the third quarter, compared to 800 (80.8 percent of the total) at the beginning of July.
Despite continued capacity constraints, several states that saw encouraging gaming revenue growth in Q2 continued the positive trend in Q3. Five states, Arkansas (+.3 percent), Mississippi (2.8 percent), Ohio (+7.5 percent), Pennsylvania (+3.8 percent), and South Dakota (+6.1 percent), outperformed their sales estimates for Q3 2019.
Looking only at the most recent month, September, with both Maryland (+1 percent) and New Jersey (+6.5 percent) also returning to YoY gaming revenue growth, the recovery trends continue.
Although national slot and table game revenue remained poor relative to Q3 2019, sports betting revenue bounced back in Q3 2020, reinforced by an exceptionally packed sports calendar and strong consumer interest in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington DC’s emerging legal betting markets. Americans legally wagered a record $5.95 billion in Q3, generating gaming revenue of $352.3 million, the second highest ever quarterly total.
The igaming industry was also showing continued growth in Q3, due in part, to the launch in July of West Virginia. In the quarter, it generated $435m up 8 percent from Q2 and 232 percent year-on-year.