Posted on: April 6, 2022, 01:58h.
Last updated on: April 5, 2022, 06:05h.
COVID-19 brought the commercial gaming industry to a standstill in 2020. But two years later, casinos are experiencing unprecedented play.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) today reported on gaming revenue generated by non-tribal casinos for January and February 2022. The trade group says gross gaming revenue (GGR) is off to a record pace through two months of the year.
GGR from all verticals through February totaled $8.92 billion. That’s 34% better than the same two months in 2021, and a 19% improvement on 2020. AGA officials say it’s the best two-month start in the history of legal gambling in the United States.
“This record start to the year demonstrates the sustained momentum of our industry’s recovery into 2022,” said Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO.
The AGA compiles its data from state gaming reports. The association’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker tallies GGR statistics from the 27 states that permit commercial casino gambling.
The GGR count includes retail slots/VGTs (video gaming terminals), table games, and sports betting. It additionally includes iGaming, online sports betting, and daily fantasy sports. Lottery revenue is excluded.
Record Action Follows Record Year
While the record January and February numbers are certainly positive news for industry stakeholders, it shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. GGR — outside of a pandemic — continues to increase because of continued expansion of gaming across the country.
Legal iGaming and sports betting continue to elevate gaming numbers. The AGA reported that 2021 commercial GGR totaled $53 billion. That easily bested the previous all-time mark of $43.65 billion set in pre-pandemic 2019.
With 2022 expected to come with far fewer operating restrictions on brick-and-mortar casinos and sportsbooks, the industry is optimistic that it can further improve on the $53 billion mark.
While it remains to be seen if we’ll match last year’s all-time high, it’s clear that Americans are continuing to make gaming a first-choice entertainment option,” Miller said.
iGaming and sports betting are playing critical roles in the ever-growing GGR numbers. Regulated sportsbooks won $957.1 million from bettors during the first two months of 2022. iGaming GGR totaled nearly $773 million.
The combined win of approximately $1.73 billion from sports betting and iGaming eclipses the $1.48 billion that land-based table games generated for the house.
How Quickly Things Can Change
The previous best January and February for US commercial casinos came in 2020. GGR during those two months totaled $7.49 billion.
But just after February’s numbers were tallied and reported that year, the coronavirus invaded the US, and the severity of the disease was realized. Some two weeks after the record GGR action was reported, every single commercial casino was shuttered in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The pandemic resulted in commercial casinos losing 45,600 operating days in 2020. Total GGR for the year totaled $30 billion — a disappointing finish after such a prosperous start.