According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), US commercial gaming revenue for Q3 2020 totaled $9.04bn, reaching 81% of the industry’s pre-COVID levels in Q3 2019.

The statistic was published in the association’s  Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker which also revealed that revenue is up 294% from the historic lows of Q2, caused by pandemic-driven, mandatory closures.

COVID-19 health and safety measures, including social distancing and capacity restrictions, have contributed to the gaming industry’s recovery lagging the country’s broader economic recovery. Gaming revenue is down 36.5% percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020, compared to the US GDP’s 3% decline in the same period. 

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller commented: “Our industry continues to prioritize the health and safety of our employees, customers, and communities above all else. While these quarterly results are promising, the reality is a full recovery is dependent on continued public health measures to control prevalence rates.

“As state and local officials respond to current COVID-19 outbreaks with additional restrictions, urgent Congressional action to provide COVID-19 relief is even more crucial. Gaming employees and communities depend on it.”

Focusing on sports betting, the tracker noted: “After a second quarter marred by widespread sportsbook shutdowns and a limited calendar of major sporting events, sports betting revenue bounced back strongly in Q3, bolstered by an unusually crowded sports calendar and the rapid growth of the legal, recently legalized markets in Colorado, DC, Illinois, and Michigan.

“Nationwide sports betting revenue reached $352.3m, the second-highest ever quarterly total (bested only by Q4 2019 at $374.9m). That revenue came from Americans wagering $5.95bn on sports nationwide in Q3 2020 – the highest ever quarterly sports betting handle.”

More than 100 casinos reopened between July and September with 902 commercial and tribal casinos (90.8% of total) operational by the end of the third quarter, compared to 800 (80.8% of total) at the start of July.

Many states that saw encouraging gaming revenue growth in Q2 continued the positive trend in Q3 despite continued capacity restraints. Five states—Arkansas (+.3%), Mississippi (2.8%), Ohio (+7.5%), Pennsylvania (+3.8%), and South Dakota (+6.1%)—outperformed their Q3 2019 revenue figures. 

Looking only at the most recent month, September, the recovery trends continue with both Maryland (+1%) and New Jersey (+6.5%) also returning to YoY gaming revenue growth.

While nationwide slot and table game revenue remained down compared to Q3 2019, sports betting revenue bounced back in Q3 2020, bolstered by an unusually crowded sports calendar and strong consumer interest in new legal betting markets in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington DC. Americans legally wagered a record $5.95bn in Q3, generating $352.3m in gaming revenue—the second highest ever quarterly total.

Also showing continued growth in Q3 was the igaming sector, due, in part, to West Virginia launching in July. It generated $435m in the quarter, up 8% from Q2 and 232% year-on-year.