US commercial gaming revenue for the second quarter of 2020 totaled $2.30bn, a steep 78.8% year-on-year contraction, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) new Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US gaming industry saw revenue decline in nearly every reported vertical compared to Q2 2019.

Contrary to recent revenue declines, commercial casinos had demonstrated strong consumer demand in 2020 when open for business. Before all 989 US brick-and-mortar casinos closed their doors in March, combined commercial gaming revenue for January and February was up 10.4% year-on-year. 

Following the return of casino gaming in Q2, several states have reported a year-on-year upturn in average daily GGR per open casino despite operating with limited capacity, game availability, and amenities. This includes South Dakota (+42.5%), Ohio (+19.3%), and Indiana (+7.4%).

While April and May both experienced year-over-year GGR declines north of 90%, June saw nearly 300 commercial casinos reopen throughout the month and, as a result, revenue was nearly four times greater than the previous two months combined. 

“COVID-19 has undoubtedly posed the most difficult economic challenge the gaming industry has ever faced,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Yet, gaming’s record popularity prior to COVID-19, as well our resilience in the midst of such adversity, is evidence of the industry’s foundation for continued success as we emerge from the pandemic.”

According to the AGA, sports betting experienced a sharp decline in GGR in the second quarter due to the shutdown of sports activity, but is still up slightly (4.1%) in the first half of 2020 as a result of a record start to the year and increased legal options.

The only vertical to experience year-on-year growth in Q2 2020 was igaming, marking the first full quarter by generating more revenue than sports betting in the post-PASPA era. Online casino gaming is only legal in six states: Delaware, Pennsylvania, Nevada (poker only), New Jersey, Michigan (not live), and West Virginia.

 “The gaming industry has been a leader in implementing rigorous, innovative protocols that have allowed the vast majority of our properties to reopen and stay open,” added Miller. “With business returning to casino floors and sportsbooks seeing increased action, the gaming industry is steadily charting a responsible path to recovery that prioritizes health and safety, supports the communities where we operate, and offers first-class entertainment.”

AGA confirmed that its reporting on the financial performance of the US commercial casino industry will continue on a quarterly basis as the association tracks the industry’s economic recovery.