AGA Report on Gaming Industry’s Ups and Downs in 2020

AGA’s thorough survey of the industry during the first year of the pandemic shows a significant decline in gaming revenue and an incredible growth in emerging verticals.

AGA’s State of the State 2020

The pandemic has significantly impacted the gaming industry last year, with a 31% drop in commercial gaming revenue, and has shaken the top 20 markets. The crisis had quite an impact on the traditional gaming sector, like land-based casinos. However, emerging new markets like iGaming and sports wagering saw incredible growth. The American Gaming Association (AGA) conducted a thorough survey of the commercial casino industry “State of the States 2020” and covered the situation on a national and local level.

According to AGA president and CEO Bill Miller, the gaming industry had to face an unprecedented challenge in 2020. Player demographics shifted as new verticals emerged and started to grow. The gaming industry saw a sharp decline and the booming of new legal sports betting activities. Voters across the country enthusiastically started legalizing sports betting and gaming. He said that the report represents the highs and lows of 2020.

Last month AGA issued another report showing the dangers of illegal gambling machines and showed how they are linked to criminal operations that put customers at risk. 

Collectively Casinos Lost More Than 45,600 Working Days

The gaming revenue in the US was up by 11.4% in the first two months of 2020, compared to the same period of 2019. Later, due to the closures and restrictions that hit casinos, the revenues dropped a lot during the next ten months of the year, starting in March when all casinos closed across the country. In total, casinos lost more than 45,600 working days due to the pandemic, or around 27% of 2020 on average.

Last year, when the global pandemic hit the entire world, the US gaming industry marked its lowest total annual gaming revenue since 2003. The consumers spent on commercial gaming fell to $29 billion, which was 31% less than in 2019. All of the states with land-based casinos reported lower revenues than the previous year. However, customers legally bet on sports $21.5 billion, compared to 2019 when they bet only $13 billion.

The Baltimore-Washington, D.C. gaming market is the 3rd largest in the US after Atlantic City and Las Vegas Strip, and Atlantic City.

By the End of 2020, 19 States Had Active Sports Betting

In a survey done in 2020 by AGA executives, including operator and supplier CEOs and CFOs, the estimated decrease in revenue was a bit more than 40% in 2020. They saw that the industry would need to recover for up to 2 years. However, in Q1 2021, the gaming revenue turned out to be the highest-grossing quarterly total ever, which shows that recovery can happen to be much quicker than predicted.

By the end of 2020, 19 states, including the District of Columbia, had launched sports wagering. Even though casinos suffered from the closure and restrictions due to the pandemic and many sporting events got canceled, sports wagering saw its moment to shine.

Miller said: “The first quarter of 2021 clearly shows that consumer interest in gaming never waned, despite the challenges of 2020.” He said that this is the result can serve as an optimistic assurance that recovery may soon come and that the consumers see the industry as a safe environment.

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