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March 2020

January Was A Great Month, But There Is Dark Shadow on The Horizon

To say that January was a very good month for gaming would be an understatement of the first order. Nationally, revenue from casinos, VLTs, online gambling, and sports was up a huge 11.5 percent to $3.7 billion, compared to January 2019.
There were a couple of obvious contributing factors. January 2020 had one more Friday than January 2019; that, theoretically, was worth an increase of 1.9 percent. But that Friday was New Year’s Eve, the start of what is the best three days in the gaming calendar. That is worth much more than 2 percent.
And then, of course there is sports wagering. Ten states had legal sports betting in January, and sports betting, retail and mobile, was $126.5 million, 3.4% of total gaming revenues for the month.
In January, the coronavirus had not begun to affect the economy and the stock market was rocking - even though it was down for the month, the DOW was still at near record highs, as were most other economic indicators. January was a great beginning to 2020, but that level of growth will be difficult to maintain, especially with what in March we know (so far) about the stock market and the coronavirus.

January 2020 Casino and VLT Revenue

Atlantic City total gaming revenue rose 30.9% to $300.7 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Colorado casino revenue rose 7.6% to $68.7 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Delaware VLT revenue rose 8.8% to $30.1 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Detroit casino revenue rose 7.1% to $120.0 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Illinois gaming revenue rose 12.9% to $242.9 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Indiana gaming revenue rose 28.2% to $196.1 million. Gaming/Racing Commission, 2-20
Iowa casino revenue rose 12.9% to $116.1 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Kansas gaming revenue rose 7.9% to $33.8 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Kentucky machine revenue rose 46.0% to $20.7 million. Racing Commission, 2-20
Louisiana gaming revenue rose 4.7% to $247.8 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Maine casino revenue rose 15.7% to $11.0 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Maryland gaming revenue rose 6.2% to $145.4 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Massachusetts gaming revenue rose 151.1% to $80.1 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Mississippi gaming revenue rose 5.9% to $185.6 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Missouri gaming revenue rose 10.1% to $138.8 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Nevada gaming revenue rose 5.5% to $1.038 billion. Gaming Commission, 2-20
New York gaming revenue rose 12.6% to $227.8 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Ohio gaming revenue rose 19.0% to $167.5 million. Gaming/Lottery Commission, 2-20
Pennsylvania gaming revenue rose 16.9% to $302.8 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
Rhode Island VLT revenue fell 1.1% to $52.0 million. Gaming Commission, 2-20
South Dakota gaming revenue rose 7.6% to $28.2 million. Gaming/Lottery Commission, 2-20
Total gaming revenue for January rose 11.5% to $3.724 billion. David Rohn, 2-19

The other categories:
Connecticut slot win rose 7.3% to $76.3 million. Associated Press, 2-20
Macau gaming revenue fell 11.3% to $2.76 billion. Reuters, 2-1-20
Down Jones Industrials fell 2.1% to 28256.03 Yahoo Finance, 1-20
Adams Index rose 0.01% to at 808.22. CDC Gaming Report, 2-20

Across the Country - January 2020

Atlantic City had a whopping 30.9 percent increase over last January; the combined casino, sports, and online gaming win was $300.7 million. Casino win was $192.1 million, up 8.3 percent, with slot win of $140.3 million, up 11.3 percent, and table game win of $51.7 million, up 1.1 percent. Sports win was $53.6 million, up 185 percent, and internet gaming was $55.1 million, up 64 percent. Their combined total of $108.7 million was more than double the $52.4 million of last year, and in January 2020 made up 36 percent of the total win for the state. The time when sports and online gaming win exceed casino win appears to be fast approaching.
For individual casinos, Borgata reported $68.2 million, up 22.3 percent, placing first. Combining Resorts Digital and Resorts puts that company in second place with $40.2 million, up 53.4 percent. Golden Nugget was third with $36.7 million, up 37.2 percent; Tropicana was fourth with $24.9 million, up 1.5 percent; and Hard Rock was fifth with $24.2 million in win, up 41 percent from 2019. Ballys and Caesars reported revenue decreases for the month. Golden Nugget led in online win with $21.2 million, up 69.9 percent; Resorts Digital and Borgata were second and third with $11.9 million and $10.3 million respectively. Resorts Digital had a sports win of $15.8 million, five times second place Borgata, which had $3.1 million.
Maryland’s six casinos reported a 6.2 percent increase in January to $145.4 million. MGM National Harbor reported a win of $58.5 million, up 4.1 percent from 2019; Live! Casino had a win of $51.7 million, an increase of 11.8 percent; Horseshoe Casino Baltimore won $19.2 million, a drop of 4.4 percent; Hollywood Casino Perryville rose 12.1 percent to $6.1 million; Ocean Downs Casino was up 11.0 percent to $5.3 million; and Rocky Gap reported a 10.5 percent increase to $4.2 million. Live! Is holding its own and even creeping a little closer to MGM National Harbor in some months, but the Horseshoe in Baltimore keeps sliding backwards. The Horseshoe is pushing for sports betting legalization in Maryland, presumably believing that it might save the casino’s bacon.
Massachusetts gaming win was up 150 percent to $80.1 million in January. Encore Boston Harbor generated $48.5 million, 60.5 percent of the state’s total, with $24.4 million from table games and $24.1 million from slots. For Encore, it is notable that for the first time slot revenue reached the level of table game revenue; the casino has focused on better marketing to slot players. A month ago, table game revenue was $31 million, $9 million more than slots. MGM Springfield reported $20.6 million, up 5.1 percent from 2019; $14.9 million came from slots and $5.6 million from table games. Plainridge Park had $11.0 million in slot revenue, down 10.5 percent.
Rhode Island gaming revenue fell 1.1 percent in January; the state’s two casinos are still absorbing the impact of Encore Boston Harbor. Slots were up 1.0 percent to $41.0 million but table games fell 39 percent to $7.8 million. Sports betting increased from $100k in 2018 to $3.1 million this year. The two casinos in Connecticut also appear to be stabilizing after the opening of Encore; Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods reported a total slot win of $76.3 million, up 7.3 percent from January 2019.
New York’s combined casino and VLT revenue was up 12.6 percent in January. VLT win rose 8.9 percent to $176.1 million, even though the number of units dropped 8.0 percent to 16,941, continuing a trend. Casino win was up 27.3 percent to $51.7 million. Win at Resorts World NYC fell 7.6 percent to $52.0 million, but its Nassau OTB facility was up 70.0 percent to $23.3 million. Combined, the Resorts World properties in NYC were up 7.5 percent to $75.3 million, giving them a 42.7 percent share of the VLT market in New York state. Resorts World Catskills was up 24.6 percent to $16.2 million, a 31.3 percent share of the state’s casino market.
Illinois casinos and VLTs reported $242.9 million in winnings, a 12.9 percent increase in January. The state’s casinos reported a 6.2 percent increase to $100.6 million, with admissions increasing by 9.8 percent to 805,910. Both increases are rare pieces of good news for the casinos in the Land of Lincoln. Sometime soon the casinos will begin sports betting, which will definitely help grow the revenue consistently. But the growth of VLTs in the state is relentless; in January, 1300 new units were added. VLT revenue increased 18.1 percent to $142.3 million, compared to a year earlier, with the number of units increasing by 12.1 percent from January 2019, to a total of 34,595.
Indiana casinos were up 19.8 percent in January to $183.3 million. Sports added $12.8 million, bringing the total gaming revenue to $196.1 million. Indiana has had more than $50.0 million in sports revenue in five months. After years of declining revenue due to the casinos in Ohio and VLTs in Illinois, Indiana is relishing the upward momentum. Of course, when sports wagering begins in Illinois, Indiana will lose some of that momentum.
Missouri casino revenue rose 10.2 percent to $138.8 million. Admissions at the state’s 13 casinos were up 10.0 percent to 2,886,000. Slot AGR was $116.2 million, up 10.0 percent, and table game AGR was $22.6 million, up 13.1 percent. By market, Kansas City rose 7.6 percent to $47.2 million; St. Louis’s four casinos reported $59.7 million in win, up 6.8 percent; and the Out of State market reported $19.7 million, up 10.0 percent.
Louisiana total gaming revenue rose 4.7 percent to $247.8 million, but admissions across all venues were down 1.7 percent to 2,189,960. The state’s 12,903 VLTs produced $52.0 million in revenue, up 5.9 percent from January 2019. Slots at the tracks fell 1.1 percent to $29.0 million; Harrah’s New Orleans reported an increase of 7.3 percent to $24.4 million; and riverboat revenues rose 5.0 percent to $143.9 million. By market, Shreveport/Bossier was up 2.6 percent to $46.3 million; Lake Charles was up 5.0 percent to $56.0 million; New Orleans was up 3.8 percent to $21.8 million; and Baton Rouge up 13.2 percent to $19.7 million.
Mississippi recorded a 5.9 percent increase in gaming revenue to $185.6 million, which included $4.6 million from sports betting, an increase of 70 percent over January 2019. The combined revenue in the Central region was up 3.8 percent to $24.2 million; the Northern region was down 1.2 percent to $43.1 million; and the Coastal region reported $113.7 million, up 5.7 percent from 2019.
Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos reported a 19 percent increase in gaming revenue to $167.5 million in January. The four casinos had a win of $73.1 million, up 17.1 percent from 2019, with slots (7354) up 17.4 percent to $48.5 million and tables (413) up 16.6 percent to $24.5 million. Individually, Hollywood Columbus had $20.4 million, Jacks Cincinnati $18.6 million, Jacks Cleveland $18.2 million, and Hollywood Toledo $15.7 million. For the racinos, there were 200 more slot machines for a total of 11,588. Individually, MGM Northfield had a slot win of $22.9 million, Miami Valley had $15.6 million, Eldorado Scioto also had $15.6 million, Jacks Thistledown had $11.8 million, Hollywood Mahoning had had $11.0 million, Hollywood Dayton had $10.0 million, and Belterra Park had $7.2 million.
Pennsylvania gaming revenue, including the win from table games, slot machines, sports betting (online and retail), VLTs, online gambling, and fantasy sports, totaled $302.8 million, up 16.9 percent from last January. Statewide, slot win was $190.3 million, up 5.8 percent; table games had $72.5 million, down 2.4 percent; internet gambling win was $13.9 million; sports win was $22.8 million ($4.9 million from retail and $17.9 million online); VLTs had $1.1 million; and fantasy sports reported $2.0 million, down 2.4 percent from 2019. So the total online wagering from both traditional games and sports betting was $31.8 million, which would be fourth on the depth chart, hypothetically tied with Rivers Casino in Philadelphia. The top three casinos were Parx, with $57.5 million, up 13.2 percent; Wind Creek Bethlehem (formally the Sands), with $38.2 million, down 2.8 percent; and Rivers Pittsburg, with $34.5 million, up 10.6 percent.
In January, Nevada reported a 5.4 percent increase to $1.038 billion. Table game revenue was up 12.1 percent to $365.6 million, with baccarat up 17.0 percent to $112.2 million. Roulette was up 19.0 percent to $334.6 million, craps was up 14.9 percent to $33.7 million, and blackjack was up 6.8 percent to $96.3 million. Statewide slots were up 2.2 percent to $672.5 million, and sports betting was up 36 percent to $20.1 million on a handle of $502.5 million.
By market, the Las Vegas Strip was up 5.0 percent to $572.1 million; Downtown Las Vegas reported $59.1 million, up 13.4 percent; Laughlin had $46.9 million, up 0.8 percent; and Boulder Strip was at $71.8 million, down 12.2 percent. In the north, Reno was up 7.4 percent to $47.5 million; Sparks was up 8.7 percent to $11.0 million; North Lake Tahoe had $1.6 million, down 6.8 percent; South Lake Tahoe rose 17.9 percent to $20.1 million; Elko Country increased 9.8 percent to $25.2 million; and the Carson Valley casinos were off 1.8 percent to $98.6 million.
Nationally, it is clear than sports betting is really making a difference. Sports win totaled more than $120 million for January from just 10 states, and the handle for the month was over $2 billion. Even more significantly, states with mobile wagering are booking most of their wagers online; even the traditional state of Nevada took over 50 percent of its $500+ million bets through mobile applications. And most states seem to have finally absorbed the competition and stabilized. Of course, sports betting was a big part of that.
Adjustment to competition is a dynamic process. It evolves with each new level of competition. A second big trend in 2020 will be increased marketing, updating, and repositioning to be more competitive.
However, there is clearly a dark cloud over the horizon for 2020 - the coronavirus outbreak. It is too soon to predict its impact on the economy or on gaming. But it is a very serious threat to the gaming industry in 2020, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. The degree of impact will depend on the extent of the spread of the virus and the reaction to its spread by governments, businesses, and individuals. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

This report is written by Ken Adams