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February 2020
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December Put an Exclamation Point on 2019

For the gaming industry, December is always one of the most important months. For some operators, the critical week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve can make or break an entire year. The revenue from that week is not reported separately, but whenever a state reports a drastic downturn in December, that week is the first place to look. There is nothing worse for casino operators in heavy weather states than getting a major snowstorm over the New Year holidays.
 
It seems that in December 2019 the sun was shining on the tables, slots, and sports books across much of the country. Not surprisingly, given the good results, other statistics were also quite positive. According to INRIX, 115.6 million people traveled during the final week in December. The shopping in the period leading up to holiday week hit record levels; on Super Saturday alone consumers spent $34.4 billion. Unemployment rates, jobs, average income, consumer confidence, housing sales, and other economic measurements were positive. The stock market ended the year on a uptrend, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1.7 percent in December to 28,538.44; for the year, the Dow was up 21.78 percent. It was a very good year for the national economy and for the gaming industry.
 
For gaming, December put a nice exclamation mark on year’s results. Although, there was one less Friday in 2019 than in 2018, December revenue was up 4.4 percent over 2018, to $3.871 billion. December capped another full year of expansion and growth, with national gaming revenue up 4.3 percent to $44.9 billion across the 12 months. Of course, no gaming narrative is complete these days without mentioning sports betting. The American Gaming Association (AGA) released a report saying the total legal wagering in 2019 was $13 billion, double that of 2018. The sports win for December was $109.7 million in the ten states that reported sports betting. Expansion legislation and the opening of new resorts will always be important elements in gaming, but the numbers from sports betting, especially in states with mobile wagering, are stealing the spotlight from everything else.

December 2019 Casino and VLT Revenue

Atlantic City gaming revenue rose 11.0% to $287.3 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Colorado casino revenue fell 5.2% to $67.0 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Delaware VLT revenue rose 1.5% to $33.1 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Detroit casino revenue rose 0.31% to $127.8 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Florida VLT revenue fell 2.4% to $47.2 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Illinois revenue rose 7.5% to $270.2 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Indiana gaming revenue fell 1.0% to $190.2 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Iowa casino revenue rose 2.5% to $129.2 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Kansas gaming revenue rose 0.27% to $36.2 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Kentucky racing machine revenue rose 49.4% to $20.9 million. Racing Commission, 1-20
 
Louisiana gaming revenue fell 3.8% to $262.4 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Maine casino revenue fell 31.8% to $7.5 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Maryland gaming revenue rose 0.5% to $149.0 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Massachusetts gaming revenue rose 133.4% to $83.1 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Mississippi gaming revenue rose 2.4% to $195.0 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Missouri gaming revenue fell 4.0% to $146.2 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Nevada gaming revenue rose 5.8% to $1.058 billion. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
New York gaming revenue rose 0.18 % to $220.1 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Ohio gaming revenue rose 1.9% to $169.3 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Pennsylvania gaming revenue rose 3.4% to $291.8 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
Rhode Island gaming revenue fell 14.0% to $51.6 million. Gaming Commission, 1-20
 
South Dakota gaming revenue rose 5.0% to $28.6 million. Gaming/Lottery Commission, 1-20
 
Total gaming revenue for December rose 4.4% to $3.871 billion. David Rohn, 2-20
 
Total gaming revenue for 2019 rose 4.31% to $44.900 billion. David Rohn, 2-20

The other categories:
   
Connecticut slot win fell 10.6% to $77.5 million. New London Day, 1-15-20
 
Macau gaming revenue fell 13.7% to $2.85 billion. Macau Business, 1-1-20
 
Down Jones Industrials rose 1.7% to 28,538.44 Yahoo Finance, 12-19
 
Adams Index rose 7.3% to 690.66. CDC Gaming Reports, 12-19


Across the Country - December 2019

Atlantic City had a combined casino, sports, and online gaming win of $287.9 million in December, an increase of 11.0 percent over 2018. The casino win was $208.6 million, down 0.2 percent; sports win was $39.4 million, up 41.1 percent; and internet gaming win was $49.3 million, up 70.0 percent. Slot win was $150.0 million, up 2.4 percent; and table game win was $58.5 million, down 6.4 percent. For the year, total gaming win in New Jersey was $3.4 billion, up 19.5 percent; casino win was $2.6 billion, up 7.0 percent; sports win was $299.4 million; and internet win was $482.7 million, up 61.6 percent. For all of 2019, Atlantic City ranked 2 nd nationally, with a 7.5 percent share of national revenue.
 
In December, as always, Borgata led the market in Atlantic City, reporting revenue of $66.4 million, up 6.1.5 percent. Combining Resorts and Resorts Digital puts that company in second place with $33.1 million, with Golden Nugget third with $31.7 million, up 18.6 percent. Hard Rock and Tropicana tied for fourth with $27.7 million in win. For Hard Rock, that was an increase 11.3 percent from 2018; for Tropicana, that was a decrease of 6.2 percent. For online win, Golden Nugget led with $17.2 million, up 69.9 percent, with Resorts Digital next with $11.9 million, up 174.4 percent. But if sports win for Resorts Digital, $9.3 million, up 39.5 percent, is combined with online win, then Resorts is the leader with $21.2 million in revenues.
 
Maryland’s six casinos reported a half a percent total increase in December. MGM National Harbor reported a win of $62.6 million, up 4.5 percent from 2018. Live! Casino had a win of $51.7 million, an increase of 3.4 percent. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore won $18.7 million, a drop of 15.7 percent. Hollywood Casino Perryville fell 3.5 percent to $6.0 million; Ocean Downs Casino was up 3.7 percent to $5.6 million; and Rocky Gap reported a 4.5 percent decrease to $4.2 million. For 2019, Maryland’s casinos are up 0.61 percent to $1.756 billion, 10 th place on the national chart.
 
Massachusetts revenue was up significantly due to Encore Boston Harbor. In December Encore generated $54 million in casino revenue, 64.9 percent of the state’s total, with $31.4 million from table games and $22.6 million from slots. MGM Springfield reported $18.9 million, down 12.0 percent from 2018, with $13.9 million from slots and $5.0 million from tables. Plainridge Park had $10.2 million in slot revenue, down 27.1 percent. For 2019, Massachusetts ranked 14 th with $916.6 million in casino revenue, up 143.2 percent compared to 2018.
 
For 2019, Rhode Island gaming revenue was up 3.5 percent to $639.0 million, 16 th on the national chart, but in December state gaming revenue fell 14.0 percent (thank you very much, Encore Boston Harbor). For the month, slots were off 12.5 percent to $39.0 million and tables games fell 30 percent to $10.1 million. The only bright spot was sports betting; revenue was $2.5 million, up from $0.9 million in 2018. Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings is responding to the competitive pressures from Massachusetts by buying casinos in other jurisdictions, and making sports betting alliances; it also formed a partnership with IGT to run the VLTs in Rhode Island. In addition to both casinos in Rhode Island, Twin Rivers currently owns operations in Mississippi, Delaware, and Colorado.
 
New York’s combined casino and VLT revenue was up just slightly, 0.19 percent in December. VLT win fell 1.8 percent to $171.3 million, while the number of VLTs dropped 8.4 percent to 16,941. Revenue at Resorts World NYC fell 8.7 percent to $52.0 million, but its Nassau OTB facility was up 56.3 percent to $23.3 million; combined, the two Resorts World properties in NYC were up 3.5 percent to $75.3 million for a 43.9 percent share of the VLT market in New York. Statewide, casino win was up 8.2 percent to $48.8 million, with the majority of the increase coming from Resorts World Catskills, which was up 33.0 percent to $16.5 million. Statewide, Resorts World had a 33.8 percent share of the casino market in December. For the year, New York was up 5.1 percent to $2.718 billion and ranked 6 th nationally.
 
Illinois casinos and VLTs reported a 7.5 percent increase in December to $270.5 million. Illinois casinos reported a 5.6 percent increase to $124.3 million, but admissions decreased 4.1 percent to 897,296; for the year, casino revenue dropped 1.4 percent to $1.354 billion while admissions fell 4.2 percent to 10,447,223. In December, VLT revenue increased 9.2 percent to $145.9 million while the number of units increased by 8.4 percent to 33,294. For the full year, VLT revenue grew by 11.8 percent to $1.676 billion, and units grew by 8.4 percent. For all of 2019, total revenue in Illinois was $3.029 billion, up 5.4 percent, putting the state 5 th nationally with 6.7 percent of total U.S. revenue.
 
Indiana casinos were down 1.0 percent for December to $270.2 million. Sports gaming contributed $11.9 million, 6.2 percent of the total. Indiana had over $40.0 million is sports revenue in four months in 2019, so the numbers should be significant for the full year of 2020. For all of 2019, Indiana gaming revenue was down 0.7 percent to $2.416 billion, 7 th place nationally, with a 5.5 percent share.
 
Missouri casino revenue fell 4.0 percent to $146.2 million. Admissions at the state’s thirteen casinos were up 7.0 percent to 3,117,146, but slot AGR was $125.4 million, down 2.7 percent, and table game AGR was down 10.1 percent to $20.8 million. The Kansas City market fell 4.3 percent to $50.6 million, with slots down 0.3 percent to $43.8 million. St. Louis’ four casinos reported $74.2 million in win, down 3.4 percent, with slots were off 4.4 percent to $62.3 million. The Out of State market reported $18.9 million in revenue. For the year, Missouri casinos were down 0.91 percent to $1.729 billion, 11 th on the chart.
 
In December, Louisiana total gaming revenue fell 3.8 percent to $262.4 million. The state’s 12,903 VLTs produced $53.2 million in revenue, up 3.5 percent from December 2018, while slots at the tracks fell 5.0 percent to $29.0 million. Harrah’s New Orleans reported a decrease of 3.5 percent to $26.4 million, and riverboat casino revenue fell 5.1 percent to $154.8 million. Admissions across all venues were 2,242,354, down 8.6 percent from 2,453,674 last December. By market, Shreveport/Bossier was down 5.5 percent to $52.6 million; Lake Charles was down 4.9 percent to $62.2 million; New Orleans was down 5.1 percent to $21.6 million; and Baton Rouge was off 5.0 percent to $18.4 million. For the year, Louisiana had $3.080 billion in gaming revenue, down 2.3 percent, and ranked 4 th with a 6.9 percent share.
 
Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos reported a 1.9 percent increase in gaming revenue, to $169.3 million, in December. The four casinos had a win of $74.4 million, off 3.9 percent from 2018; slots were up 1.5 percent to $51.4 million; but tables were off 10.1 percent to $23.0 million. Individually, Jacks Cleveland had $19.2 million, Hollywood Columbus $19.5 million, Jacks Cincinnati $17.7 million, and Hollywood Toledo $17.8 million. For the year, Ohio casino revenue was up 1.6 percent to $850.9 million, and the win at the racinos was up 9.0 percent to $94.8 million. Total gaming revenue in Ohio for 2019 was $1.941 billion, up 4.1 percent; that’s good enough for a 9 th place ranking and 4.3 percent share.
 
In December, Pennsylvania gaming revenue, including the win from table games, slot machines, sports betting (online and retail), VLTs, online gambling, and fantasy sports, totaled $291.8 million, up 3.4 percent from a year earlier. The top three producing casinos were Parx, with $54.2 million, up 4.1 percent; Wind Creek Bethlehem (formally the Sands), with $43.6 million, up 0.34 percent; and Rivers Pittsburg, with $33.9 million, up 1.1 percent. Statewide slot win was $187.4 million, off 7.5 percent; table games had $78.0 million, up 4.8 percent; internet gambling win was $10.6 million; sports win was $11.3 million, with $2.9 million from retail and $8.3 million from online; VLTs had $879k; and fantasy sports reported $3.4 million, up 20 percent from 2018.
 
For Pennsylvania, total gaming revenue for 2019 was $3.4 billion, up 4.4 percent. Slot revenue was $2.363 billion, off 0.29 percent; tables generated $903.5 million, up 2.8 percent; internet gambling added $33.5 million; sports betting was $84.1 million; VLTs were $2.3 million; and fantasy sports was $25.8 million. For 2019, Pennsylvania ranked 3 rd with a 7.6 percent share.
 
Nevada in December reported a 5.7 percent increase to $1.057 billion. Table game revenue was off 1.7 percent to $357.4 million, with the traditional nemesis, baccarat down 26.0 percent to $76.1 million. Statewide, slots were up 10.1 percent to $700.1 million, and sports betting was off 17.6 percent to $36.3 million. By market, in December, the Las Vegas Strip was up 4.5 percent to $591.8 million; Downtown Las Vegas reported $63.2 million, up 6.8 percent; Laughlin had $33.0 million, up 1.1 percent; and Boulder Strip had $82.0 million, up 20.5 percent. In the north, Reno was down 2.7 percent to $52.4 million; Sparks was up 2.0 percent to $11.5 million; North Lake Tahoe had $2.1 million, down 7.1 percent; South Lake Tahoe rose 8.1 percent to $18.1 million; Elko Country increased 5.5 percent to $26.0 million; and the Carson Valley casinos were off 1.9 percent to $9.3 million.
 
For the year, total gaming revenue in Nevada was $12.027 billion, the third highest on record, and 0.96 percent higher than 2018. Table game revenue was off 2.5 percent to $4.1 billion; slots were $7.9 billion, up 2.8 percent; and sports were up 9.5 percent to $329.1 million on a handle of $5.3 billion. The Silver State ranked number 1 with a 26.8 market share, down from 28.1 percent in 2018. 
 
Overall, 2019 was a good year. Encore Boston Harbor opened, construction of new resorts is underway on the Strip in Las Vegas, VLTs are still sprouting up like weeds in Illinois, and Pennsylvania as well as Illinois is entering into another period of major growth. Still, sports betting, which is expanding at warp speed, is the story of 2019. At year-end, there were fourteen states with legal sports betting. Six more authorized sports betting in 2019 and will begin taking wagers in 2020. At least six more states will take the plunge by the end of 2020. Sports wagering, combined with online gaming, has saved the industry in Atlantic City, and these two are beginning to be as important in Pennsylvania. As 2019 ended, sports betting was clearly the most important new trend the industry has seen in a very long time.

This report is written by Ken Adams