23 October, 2021

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US Gambling Sector Recovers After Spring Shock

The ongoing pandemic has left a mark on pretty much every industry around the globe. Those hit hardest were the ones relying on people leaving home – especially the travel, hospitality, and some branches of the entertainment industry, like movie theaters and live entertainment companies. At the same time, services relying on people staying home have seen perhaps their best years.

One of the industries in the US that felt the full effect of the lockdowns was the casino industry. After a promising start to the year, the revenues of the sector dropped to a minimum not seen for ages. While the venues reopened after a few weeks, the industry has a long way to go before reaching at least last year’s levels.

Serious impact

After a promising start of the year – the numbers for January and February showed growth compared to the same time period of 2019 – the lockdowns imposed by the health authorities caused pretty much all commercial casinos across the US to close. In some areas, they are still closed to this day – the American Gaming Association (AGA) reports that close to 6% of the commercial casinos across the US have yet to reopen.

As a result, the revenues of the American casino industry have dropped by close to 80% in the second quarter of the year, with the effects of the lockdowns felt to this day.

Partial recovery

By the end of Q2, part of the casinos reopened – but their revenues were still below the usual levels. In the third quarter of 2020, slot machines and table games have recovered partially: the gross gaming revenue of slot machines across North America’s commercial casinos has reached close to 80% of the 2019 level, while in the case of table games, close to 70%. Overall, the revenues of the US gambling sector were 18.9% below last year’s revenues in Q3, at $9.04 billion.

Sports betting has also seen its revenues crash this year because of the suspension of pretty much every sporting competition for months. The sector has, in turn, recovered quickly once sports returned in early summer, growing fast because of the busy schedule of events across August.

In the US, sports betting has grown pretty fast across the third quarter of the year, partly because of several states launching their own betting operators, and partly because of the many events people were eager to bet on. In Q3, sports betting revenues across the US have grown by 47% compared to the same period of 2019, while year-on-year, the growth was 27%.

iGaming explodes

The big winner of the lockdowns was the iGaming sector. The lack of real-life options has pushed many gamblers to experiment with the online alternative. The JackpotCity online casino is not only lockdown-proof but perfectly socially distant: people don’t have to leave home to play at it, let alone wear face covering All it takes a PC or a smartphone with an internet connection,  and they can dive right into its library of casino games. No wonder it has become the gaming venue of choice for an ever-growing number of players.

In Q3/2020, iGaming GGR has grown by a staggering 232.4%, to a total of $435 million, while in the first nine months of the year, the growth is equally impressive: 205.7%, to $1.07 billion. This in spite of only a dozen or so US states regulating the industry. In some areas, iGaming growth has been even more impressive: in Pennsylvania, for example, the industry’s revenues skyrocketed by close to 1,900%.

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