AGA Report Highlights Casino Sector Recovery
The American Gaming Association (AGA) on Thursday released its “State of the States” commercial casino survey for 2021, which report clearly highlights the enormous effects the global health crisis and stay-at-home orders have had on the US gambling industry. Several issues are highlighted by the report, most notably that commercial gambling in the country in 2020-21 fell to its lowest revenue level since 2003.
Making the situation even more lamentable is that commercial casinos in the US actually started off strong at the beginning of 2020, with reported revenue up an impressive 11.4 per cent for the first two months of the year. But following closures of all commercial casinos across the entire country for more than a combined 45,600 business days, the initial momentum simply wasn’t able to last.
Suffering the most significant decline in commercial gaming revenue in 2020 had been North Dakota, with New York and Michigan close on its heels. Least affected of all had been New Jersey, South Dakota, and Arkansas.
The Incredible Recovery
While a survey conducted among casino CEOs and CFOs in April last year indicated that it could take the US commercial gambling industry up to two years to recover from the global health crisis, recent figures indicate otherwise. Revenue reported for the first quarter of 2021 indicate the likelihood of a quicker recovery than initially anticipated.
As such, the most recent report by the AGA reflects both the lows as well as the highs – and certainly also the incredible tenacity of the casino industry as a whole.
While the AGA’s report did not include the revenue figures for the year 2020 as generated by tribal casinos around the country, tribal operators too, suffered greatly under the pressures of extended periods of closure. Although tribal casinos weren’t subject to state-enforced shutdown orders, many tribal operators opted to close their venues for extended periods of time in order to keep their employees and customers safe.
From Losses To Record-Highs
The recovery shown by the commercial US casino industry has been rather remarkable, with gross gaming revenue reported for Q1 of 2021 tied for the most successful quarter of all time, at an impressive $11.13 billion.
Contributing to the rapid recovery will have been the ongoing roll-out of vaccination programmes across the country. With casino patrons now more at ease leaving their homes for things like gaming and entertainment, some US states have reported a return to 100 per cent casino capacity.