The American Gaming Association (AGA) USA’s gaming industry trade body has released July data from its Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker to report the state by state and nationwide revenue performance. This data was published on Friday, September 3rd, indicating that the US commercial gaming sector saw its best month in history with $4.83 billion in revenue from traditional casino gaming, sports betting, and iGaming.
July’s record-shattering performance marks the second month in 2021 that the US gaming sector has recorded the best-ever revenue, after besting May, as the highest-grossing month yet. Compared to July 2019, the last July that the commercial gaming industry was operating at full capacity without Coronavirus constraints, there has been a 29.6% jump in the revenue.
Favorable Calendar & Return of Summer Travel Boosts July Win
USA’s commercial gaming sector got a shot in the arm from the comeback of summer leisure travel which meant more expenditure from consumers. Better still, the month also had the advantage of an action-heavy calendar packed with five weekends alongside the 4th of July holiday. July was also the first month since the pandemic struck in 2020 that casinos across all 25 gambling-legal states with commercial gaming operated at 100% capacity.
All those factors combined resulted in a potent performance recipe that led to July’s stellar performance. Further, with a 6.5% uptick in revenue, the commercial gaming sector managed to outperform the broader nationwide economy, where consumer expenditure had dipped to 0.3%.
July was also the fifth month in a row that US gaming saw double-digit revenue surges over 2019 – the best performing year throughout the USA’s gaming industry history. Compared to the industry’s performance from January to July in 2019, this year’s win has already outshined the first seven months of 2019 by 17.4%. Digging deeper into the numbers at the state level, 19 of all the 24 states with commercial gaming (except for Florida) have outperformed the gaming revenue collected in 2019.
It’s even more interesting to note that as it stands, the US gaming sector has won a total of $29.60 billion for the first seven months of 2021, about 380 million shy of 2020’s annual revenue. Owing to the pandemic-induced devastation, the US commercial gaming industry only managed to win a total of $29.98 billion for the entire year.
Post-Pandemic Visitation Volume is Growing Along with Consumers Spending
In the Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker report, the AGA also stated that in Missouri, Louisiana, Iowa, and Illinois, visitation numbers are at their strongest since the Coronavirus started. In addition, admissions at commercial casinos have spiked by between 9% and 16% compared to June.
Moreover, according to the visitation figures, even though the volume of visitors hasn’t hit pre-pandemic figures yet, increased customer spending is more than making up for the shrunk visitation volume. In July, revenue from traditional casino gaming revenue per visitor across the four markets in question was higher by 21.4% to 38.2% compared to the same period in 2019. The four regional casino markets are the only commercial gaming markets in the USA that currently track visitation.
Moving over to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the visitation numbers are also looking up. Based on reports by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, there were 3.3 million visitors in July, an 11.2% surge compared to June 2021. July’s figure also marked the largest monthly visitation tally since the start of the pandemic, even though it was 10.4% less than the visitation count from July 2019.
As for Atlantic City, visitation tallies are also looking good. Compared to June, the number of air passengers arriving in Atlantic City has grown by 13.3%, and the transactional volume at the Atlantic City Expressway toll increased by 11.5%.
iGaming Keeps Growing Alongside Brick-and-Mortar Gaming
Now that all commercial casinos across the USA are operating at full capacity, land-based gaming brought in $4.29 billion worth of revenue – the best monthly performance in history for brick-and-mortar gaming. Furthermore, the share of the revenue accrued from land-based gaming versus online gaming revenue was the highest in almost a year, thanks to the reopening of gaming facilities.
Still, on record performances, slot machine and table game verticals set single-month revenue records in July, with $3.02 billion and $933.6 million, respectively. These numbers were achieved because almost all brick-and-mortar casinos across all commercial gaming states have successfully sprung back to pre-pandemic levels. So far, among all commercial gaming states that have published their July data, only Michigan has recorded a revenue slip (-2.8%) compared to the same period in 2019.
Online gaming is also keeping up with the pace of traditional casino gaming. In July, Michigan, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the only US states where iGaming is legal, generated $305.8 million from the vertical. This was only 1.8% shy of the single-month record that iGaming revenue set in March 2021.
Sports Betting Falls Behind Due to Limited Summer Calendar
As for sports betting, the poor summer calendar has resulted in the lowest numbers so far in 2021 for the USA’s legal sports betting industry, with a handle of $2.42 billion in July. Compared to June, that’s a 33.9% drop, but if we pit July’s handle against the same period in 2020, there’s a 168.8% surge.
Overall, July’s sports betting activity generated $228.2 million worth of revenue, 221.7% more than the same period last year. Further, a tally of the revenue racked up from sports betting and iGaming in July shows that the two verticals contributed 11.1% of all proceeds garnered from USA’s commercial gaming sector for that month. That’s less than the 13.8% that sports betting and iGaming generated in June and the lowest fraction the two verticals have contributed since September last year.