Commercial gaming revenue in the United States hit a new record for the first quarter of 2021, reaching the $11 billion mark. The American Gaming Association (AGA) uses its Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker to keep up with the totals and revealed to the public how the nation has hit its highest-grossing quarter ever.
The total is a 4.1% increase from the past record-setting first quarter from 2019, which occurred the year before the pandemic started. Q1 of 2021 is 17.7% better than Q1 in 2020, a time when the gaming industry was shut down as the COVID-19 virus began to take hold.
Accelerating the Recovery Process
The strong revenue numbers from the first quarter show that the process of recovery in the United States gaming industry is accelerating. When compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, the results are over 21% better. Gains were seen in the gaming revenue for this past quarter mainly due to the March performance. The month was particularly beneficial to gaming operations across the nation.
More than 50% of the commercial casinos in operation were able to see quarterly revenue gains from the Q1 2019 totals. Many also reported record-setting quarters. AGA President and CEO Bill Miller stated that the report shows the comeback of the industry is ahead of schedule.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our industry has faced numerous challenges head-on while still reopening responsibly and providing a safe, exciting environment for customers.”
An Increase Despite Restrictions
The first-quarter results are a bit surprising considering the industry was still dealing with restrictions based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Casino capacities are not quite at 100% yet, and amenities are still lacking. However, people are traveling to the casinos and enjoy slots and table games.
The report showed that 90% of the Q1 2019 revenue came from traditional brick-and-mortar casino games. for March 2021, the revenue from slots and table games came within 1% of the March 2019 numbers. This is quite impressive considering the lingering effects of the pandemic.
Sports betting is also on the rise. The first quarter totals showed earnings of $961 million. This was a huge 270% jump from the first quarter in 2020. It even beat the 2019 Q1 total of $909 million. For online casino gaming, totals are also up. A total of $784 million was generated in the first quarter, which is more than triple the revenue generated in the first quarter of 2020.
The hope is that the recovery process will continue and all commercial casinos will eventually offer 100% capacity levels and amenities over the next few months.