The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) quarterly Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker was released this week, showcasing the industry’s quick recovery and new revenue milestones in sports betting. Q1 2021 revenue was $11.1 billion, matching Q3 2019 as the industry’s highest-grossing quarter ever and up 4.1 percent from Q1 2019 before the pandemic.
The figure also reflects a 17.7 percent rise over Q1 2020, when the entire gaming industry was forced to close in March due to COVID-19, and a 4.4 percent increase over Q1 2019.
The industry’s solid Q1 sales numbers signal an ongoing turnaround, with revenue up 21.1 percent in Q1 2021 over Q4 2020. Gaming revenue growth was largely fueled by the industry’s success in March, which was the highest-grossing revenue month in US commercial gaming history.
Quarterly gaming revenue increased in more than half of the states with commercial casinos in Q1 2019, with some states reporting record quarters.
Gaming’s comeback ahead of schedule
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said: “Today’s report shows gaming’s comeback is ahead of schedule. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our industry has faced numerous challenges head-on while still reopening responsibly and providing a safe, exciting environment for customers.”
Despite substantial COVID-mandated restrictions on casino capacity and amenities across the country, conventional brick-and-mortar casino games produced 90 percent of Q1 2019 revenue, with slot and table game revenue in March 2021 coming within 1 percent of March 2019 totals.
Sports betting sales in the United States hit a quarterly high of $961 million in Q1 2021, up 270 percent from Q1 2020 and surpassing the full-year total of $909 million in 2019. Igaming income in the United States increased by more than threefold in Q1 2021, thanks to the January launch of online casinos in Michigan.
He concluded: “The gaming industry is generating these impressive results with one hand tied behind our back as capacity and amenity restrictions remain across the country. This is a testament to gaming’s hard work to help ensure our team members’ safety and well-being, which enabled us to reopen safely. We applied those same standards to our customers, whose clear pent-up demand was met by our responsible industry.”