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May 2020

The Mad, Bad, Dreary Old Month of March

Q: What happens when you cut a month in half? A: You end up with a half a month. In March that is what we had, a half a month’s worth of gaming revenue, because the U.S. gaming industry was open only for about 15 days during March. The total national revenue for March from casinos, VLTs, sports, and online gambling was $2.0 billion, down 49 percent from March 2019. The shutdown did not happen all at once, but by the middle of the month every casino in the country was closed.

Three states have online gaming; those operations are the one ray of hope during the coronavirus lockdown. Pennsylvania and New Jersey reported significant increases in online gaming revenues. And in a singular anomaly and a head scratcher, the Boulder Strip in Las Vegas was up 1.8 percent for March. Other than those cases, it was a grim month, more so because of the abrupt ending to a strong upward trend in the first two months of the year.

For the first three months of 2020, total gaming revenue was $9.5 billion, an 11.4 percent decrease compared to 2019. But it’s really difficult to draw conclusions from comparing three months (2019) versus two-and-a-half months (2020).

Atlantic City gaming revenues fell 42.7% to $156.7 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Colorado casino revenue fell 56.2% to $31.8 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Delaware fell 43.2% to $26.0 million. Lottery Commission, 4-20

Detroit casino revenues fell 59.0% to $57.4 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Florida slot revenue fell 57.4% to $24.8 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Illinois casino gaming revenues fell 47.0% to $151.1 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Indiana gaming revenue fell 52.4% to $103.4 million. Gaming/Racing Commission, 4-20

Iowa casino revenues fell 54.6% to $64.6 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Kentucky historic racing machine revenue fell 43.8% to $11.0 million. Racing Commission, 4-20

Louisiana gaming revenue fell 57.9% to $129.0 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Maine gaming revenue fell 58.4% to $5.4 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Maryland gaming revenue fell 57.9% to $68.6 million. Lottery/Gaming Commission, 4-20

Massachusetts gaming revenue fell 16.8% to $34.5 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Mississippi gaming revenues fell 48.1% to $110.2 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Missouri gaming revenues fell 53.9% to $76.7 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Nevada gaming revenue fell 39.5% to $618.1 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

New York casino/VLT revenue fell 61.5% to $97.0 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Ohio gaming revenue fell 61.0% to $71.9 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Pennsylvania gaming revenue fell 51.4% to $153.4 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Rhode Island gaming revenue fell 61.6% to $20.5 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

South Dakota gaming revenue fell 14.5% to $25.2 million. Gaming/Lottery Commission, 4-20

Total gaming revenue in March fell 49.3% to $2.029 billion. David Rohn, 5-20

First quarter revenues fell 11.4% to $9.594 billion. David Rohn, 5-20

The other categories:
Macau gaming revenue fell 79.9% to $664.0 million. Reuters, 4-1-20

Connecticut slot win fell 63.3% to $33.4 million. Gaming Commission, 4-20

Adams Index fell 36.0% to 453.23. CDC Newsroom, 4-20

Dow Jones Industrials fell 17.9% to 21917.16. Yahoo Finance, 3-31-20

Atlantic City casinos closed at 8:00 p. m. on March 16, 2020.” That is the opening sentence from a recent report by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. It sets the perfect tone for this month’s Revenue Revue, for both New Jersey and the country. In New Jersey, total gaming revenue for March decreased 44.4 percent to $163.5 million. Casino win fell 61.7 percent to $85.5 million, slot win dropped 64.5 percent to $57.6 million, and table game revenue was down 54.1 percent to $27.7 million. Casino sports betting fell 43.8 percent to $6.4 million; the two racetracks added another $13.1 million in sports revenue, down 58.4 percent from a year earlier; and igaming recorded $64.8 million in revenue, up 65.6 percent.

By casino: Borgata reported $32.0 million in revenue, down 51.3 percent. Golden Nugget fell 5.0 percent to $30.4 million, but GN igaming was up 63.8 percent to $23.3 million. Resorts and Resorts Digital combined for $24.1 million, down 21.4 percent; Resorts Digital was up 18.4 percent to $18.6 million. Tropicana’s win was $15.4 million, down 50.6 percent. Hard Rock had a win of $13.6 million, down 48.0 percent; Harrah’s $9.7 million, down 63.4 percent; Caesars and Caesars Interactive $16.0 million, down 42.6 percent; Ocean Resorts $9.4 million, down 46.2 percent; and Bally’s $5.5 million, down 63.9 percent from 2019.

Maryland’s six casinos reported a 57.9 percent decrease to $68.6 million in March. MGM had $26.0 million in win, a decrease of 58.6 percent. Live! Casino & Hotel reported $24.8 million, a decrease of 55.6 percent. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore was down 61.2 percent to $9.9 million. Hollywood Casino Perryville had a win of $2.9 million, down 58.1 percent. Ocean Downs Casino won $2.7 million, down 59.1 percent; and Rocky Gap Casino Resort had a win of $2.1 million, down 57.7 percent from March 2019.

Massachusetts had less of a decline than other states because it had one more casino in March 2020 than in 2019 - Encore Boston Harbor. Total win for Massachusetts was down 16.8 percent to $34.5 million. Encore generated $20.5 million in March, $11.1 million from table games and $9.4 million from slots. MGM Springfield was down 63.6 percent to $9.3 million, with $2.3 million from tables and $7.0 million from slots. The slots-only Plainridge Park was down 70.4 percent to $4.7 million. Since it opened, Encore Boston Harbor has had an immense impact on the region, especially on casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island. But during the COVID-19 crisis no one is blaming Encore for their woes.

Connecticut’s two Indian casinos were down 63.3 percent to $33.3 million. Rhode Island’s two casinos were down 61.6 percent to $20.5 million. As with everywhere else, those are not apples-to-apples comparisons. Rhode Island reports table games, VLTs, and sports wagering separately, and the table games have been the most affected by Encore. Connecticut does not report table game revenue separately, but that probably has taken a bigger hit from Encore than the VLTs, as in Rhode Island. However, as I said, no one is blaming Encore for the March results.

New York had $97.0 million in gaming revenue, down 61.5 percent from 2019. VLT revenue decreased 62.7 percent to $73.1 million, with the number of units decreasing by 3000 to 15, 421. Resorts World NYC and its Nassau OTB had a combined win of $30.4 million, down 61.4 percent. Revenue from the four casinos in the state was down 57.5 percent to $23.9 million. (By casino: Resorts World Catskills’ win was $6.9 million, down 61.8 percent. Rivers reported $7.1 million, down 55.3 percent. Del Lago was down 55.5 percent to $6.4 million, and Tioga Downs’ win was $3.5 million, down 55.6 percent.) The combined Resorts revenue from Resorts World NYC, Nassau, and Resorts World Catskills was $37.3 million, down 61.5 percent; altogether, Resorts had a 38.4 percent share of the New York gaming market.

Illinois has not reported casino revenue for March; an estimate of $63.0 million was used for the table above, reflecting a 50.0 percent decline from the previous year. March VLT revenue fell 44.4 percent to $88.1 million, while the number of units grew by 4664 to 36,145, an increase of 14.8 percent. There were 7291 VLT locations in the state, an increase of 370 sites from March 2019.

Indiana reported $103.4 million in revenue in March, down 52.4 percent. Casino win was $98.0 million, consisting of $78.4 million from slots and $19.6 from table games. Sports win was $5.4 million.

Missouri casino revenue fell 54 percent to $78.7 million. Admissions at the state’s 13 casinos fell 56 percent to 1,538,387. Slot AGR was $65.1 million, down 53.7 percent, and table game AGR was $11.5 million, down 54.8 percent. (By area: The Kansas City market fell 62.9 percent to $26.1 million. St. Louis’s four casinos reported $38.1 million in win, down 54.9 percent. The Out of State market reported $12.2 million, down 46.7 percent.)

Louisiana total gaming revenue fell 57.9 percent to $129.0 million. The state’s 12,870 VLTs produced $32.1 million in revenue, down 47.1 percent from March 2019. Slots at the tracks fell 59.7 percent to $14.5 million. Harrah’s New Orleans reported a decrease of 63.9 percent to $10.4 million. Riverboat revenue fell 60.2 percent to $72.0 million. Admissions across all venues were 1,075,685, a decrease of 60.5 percent from 2019. (By riverboat market: Shreveport/Bossier was down 61.1 percent to $24.6 million, Lake Charles was down 60.8 percent to $26.5 million, New Orleans was down to 59 percent to $10.7 million, and Baton Rouge was down 57.6 percent to $10.0 million.)

Mississippi gaming revenue fell 47.9 percent in March, to $110.2 million. Sports betting win was just  $0.6 million, a drop of $4.3 million from a year earlier. Table game win was down 59.9 percent to $12.7 million and slot win fell 55.4 percent to $76.8 million. (By region: revenue in the Central region was down 57.4 percent to $14.1 million, the Northern region decreased 48.3 percent to $29.2 million, and the Coastal region reported $66.8 million, down 46.0 percent from 2019.)

Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos reported a 61.0 percent decrease in gaming revenue to $71.9 million in March. The four casinos had a win of $30.9 million, down 61.8 percent from 2019; slots were down 62.3 percent to $21.0 million; tables were down 61.1 percent to $9.8 million. Individually, Jacks Cleveland had $7.5 million in win, Hollywood Columbus $8.4 million, Jacks Cincinnati $7.2 million, and Hollywood Toledo with $7.6 million. Racino revenue was down 60.3 percent to $40.9 million. Belterra Park had a slot win of $3.0 million, Eldorado Scioto had $6.9 million, MGM Northfield had $9.6 million, Hollywood Dayton had $4.3 million, Hollywood Mahoning $4.8 million, Jacks Thistledown $5.6 million, and Miami Valley $6.6 million.

Pennsylvania gaming revenue, including the win from table games, slot machines, sports betting (online and retail), VLTs, online gambling, and fantasy sports, totaled $153.4 million, down 51.4 percent from last March. The top three producing casinos were Parx with $26.1 million, down 54.6 percent, Rivers Philadelphia with $21.1 million, down 26.6 percent, and Rivers Pittsburg with $15.4 million, down 58.4 percent. Wind Creek Bethlehem dropped to fourth place with $14.6 million, a year-over-year decline of 71.2 percent. Statewide, slot win was $87.5 million, down 61.3 percent; table games win was $33.1 million, down 59.8 percent; internet gambling win was $24.2 million; sports win was $6.8 million, $0.6 million from retail and $6.2 million online; VLTs had $0.9 million; and fantasy sports reported $0.7 million, down 55.7 percent from 2019.

Nevada in March reported a 39.5 percent decrease in gaming revenue to $618.1 million. Statewide, table game revenue was down 55.0 percent to $149.4 million, with baccarat down 19.7 percent to $43.0 million. Roulette was down 67.5 percent to $13.5 million, craps was down 58.6 percent to $14.3 million, and blackjack was down 59.2 percent to $44.1 million. Slots were down 30.6 percent to $468.6 million. Sports betting win fell 96.2 percent to $1.4 million on a handle of $141.1 million, down 71.1 percent.

By market, the Las Vegas Strip fell 45.6 percent to $299.8 million; Downtown Las Vegas reported $43.4 million, down 25.9 percent. The Las Vegas convention and Visitors Authority reported a 53.0 percent decrease in visitor volume to 2.0 million, with convention attendance down 54.8 percent to 249,800. Las Vegas room occupancy dropped to 39.8 percent; a year earlier, the figure was 91.5 percent. Laughlin casinos won $30.6 million, down 38.2 percent, but Boulder Strip’s revenue was up 1.8 percent to $71.6 million. In the north, Reno fell 55.2 percent to $23.7 million; Sparks fell 50.0 percent to $6.2 million; North Lake Tahoe had $0.7 million, down 65.2 percent; South Lake Tahoe fell 43.1 percent to $9.0 million; Elko Country decreased 50.2 percent to $14.9 million; and the Carson Valley casinos were down 43.2 percent to $5.1 million.

Overall, March was dismal, especially when compared to the robust revenues in the first two months of the year. (Kansas and Illinois have not even bothered to report March casino revenue, yet.) Gaming revenues were down by roughly half compared to March of 2019. There is not much cheer that can be taken from the numbers, except perhaps that the $2.0 billion in gaming revenue that was reported is $2.0 billion better than zero.

April, by comparison, will have zero gaming revenue, other than online revenues in the states where that is legal. But there is some good news. The national narrative has shifted from the closing of the economy to the challenges of reopening. Reimagining gaming with social distancing is talk of the day. What will casinos be like in that environment? No one knows, nor will anyone know until the end of June, at the earliest, when (hopefully) first results will be available. Until then, we will be watching Pennsylvania and New Jersey, trying to anticipate what impact they will have on the future of online gaming in the rest of the country. 
This report is written by Ken Adams