Gamblers Drop $12 Billion To U.S. Commercial Casinos In First Half Of 2020

The amount the nation's commercial casinos have won so far in this COVID-impacted year is comparable to Nevada's revenue in all of 2019.
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The first half of 2020 was obviously a tough one for the commercial casino industry.

The commercial casinos nationwide won $12.03 billion from gamblers through the first half of the year, down more than 46% compared to the same period in 2019, according to data compiled by the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Research.

For some context, $12 billion is roughly the amount that Nevada casinos won across all of 2019.

The entire U.S. casino industry, including tribal casinos, closed in March amid the public health crisis. Casinos started reopening in the following weeks and months. As of Tuesday, 851 casinos are open and 139 are closed, according to tracking from the American Gaming Association.

The commercial casinos won $1.76 billion from gamblers in June, a decline of 53.2% year-over-year. It was a big improvement compared to the greater than 90% year-over-year declines in April and May.

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The commercial casinos saw revenue plunge about 52% in March, under a partial month of business.

Many casinos in the country are operating at reduced capacity.

In 2019, commercial casinos won more than $43 billion from gamblers, the fifth straight year of revenue gains. According to the AGA, 21 of 25 commercial gaming states experienced year-over-year revenue increases, with 14 states reporting annual records.

Every one of those 25 states will see a decline this year.

Sports wagering

Through June, the U.S. legal sports wagering industry won just over $338 million from gamblers, per UNLV.

That was greater than a 15% increase compared to the same period in 2019, despite the relatively meager sports wagering options. The reason is that sports betting expanded to more states.

Sports wagering is now active in 18 states, while launches are approaching in several others.

Online/mobile sports wagering and online casino gambling, the latter of which is active in just four states, have helped the industry generate some revenues amid the brutal business environment.

The state of Michigan is a major market for the online gambling industry, with sports wagering and casino play over the internet expected to kick off later this year or in early 2021.

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