LAS VEGAS – The coronavirus and efforts to combat it have hit US casinos and legal gambling businesses hard, causing commercial gambling revenues to drop nearly 79% for the second quarter of 2020, a reported Thursday the industry trade association.
“COVID-19 has undoubtedly posed the most difficult economic challenge the gaming industry has ever faced,” said American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller with the publication of ‘a quarterly report showing serious damage to the US casino industry of $ 261 billion.
Revenues from slots and table games have leveled off, according to the report, after casinos in the United States closed in March to prevent people from congregating and spreading the contagious virus.
But the association reported in June that 2019 was a record year for U.S. commercial gaming industry revenues, and Miller said he was optimistic about the industry’s recovery.
âWhile April and May both saw year-over-year (revenue) declines north of 90%, June saw the reopening of nearly 300 commercial casinos,â he said. in a press release.
“Over 85% of US casinos are now open,” Miller added, noting the implementation of “strict health and safety plans approved by regulators.”
Only sports betting and iGaming showed growth in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, according to the report.
The sports betting wins – despite the widespread cancellation of live sporting events – are the result of a good start to the year and increased options for legal gambling in more states, the association said.
iGaming – although legal and living in just five states – generated more revenue than sports betting in the second quarter. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that this was the first since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was rescinded in 2018 and all states were allowed to offer sports betting. Online poker is the only legal iGaming option in Nevada.
âThe game’s record popularity before COVID-19, along with our resilience in the midst of such adversity, is proof of the industry’s foundation for continued success as we emerge from the pandemic,â Miller said in the press release from the association.