US Commercial Casinos Win $3.38B in October, Sports Betting Handle Sets Record

Posted on: December 9, 2020, 07:45h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2020, 11:31h.

Commercial casinos in the United States won $3.379 billion in October, and sportsbooks set an all-time record in wagers taken.

casinos gross gaming revenue AGA
Gamblers test their luck at The D Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Casinos across the country continue to recover despite COVID-19 regulations and concerns regarding a wave of new coronavirus cases. (Image: Reuters)

The American Gaming Association (AGA) reports that commercial casinos won $2.11 billion on their slot machines, $542.9 million on table games, and kept $237.5 million of sports bets wagered. Gross gaming revenue from internet operations totaled $156 million.

The gaming verticals do not add up to the $3.379 billion figure because Illinois, Michigan, and Louisiana do not publicly break down slot revenue versus table game win.

The October 2020 gaming numbers represent a seven percent decline compared with the same month in 2019. However, the $3.379 billion hauls is a 6.3 percent increase in September. It also marks the sixth consecutive month of recovery for the commercial gaming industry following April’s historic low.

Nearly all commercial gaming jurisdictions showed positive signs of ongoing recovery in October, despite continuing to operate with limited capacity, game availability, and non-gaming amenities,” the AGA report explained.

“While sports betting and iGaming continue to be the most visible drivers behind gaming’s recovery, legacy gaming is also improving month-over-month. Combined GGR from slot and table games rose 3.4 percent from September to $2.98 billion in October, equal to 86.6 percent of the industry’s levels from October 2019,” the industry group added.

Sports Betting Record

No sector of the gaming industry is hotter than sports betting. Now operational in 17 states plus DC, oddsmakers accepted more than $2.8 billion in bets during October. That’s an 84 percent surge in October 2019.

Already a record high, the final handle figure is expected to increase past the $3 billion mark when Illinois releases its October sports betting figures. Illinois is the fourth-largest sports betting market.

Nevada reported its own all-time high handle, with $659.2 million in wagers placed. That’s a 21.3 percent year-over-year increase, further proof that the Silver State losing its monopoly on legal sports betting has not hurt business, but helped.

New Jersey has emerged as the No. 1 sports betting market, Garden State oddsmakers taking in more than $803 million in bets. New Jersey has set monthly sports betting handle records in each of the past three months.

Surviving a Pandemic

Several state gaming industries are faring surprisingly well amid COVID-19.

New Jersey’s gross gaming revenue climbed 15 percent to $338.1 million. Pennsylvania casinos reported a 14.6 percent increase to $325.7 million. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are, respectively, the nation’s No. 2 and No. 3 gaming markets. Nevada remains No. 1, the Silver State gaming industry reporting $822.7 million in October revenue.

Ongoing coronavirus restrictions, including reduced capacity, caused brick-and-mortar gaming in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to be down. But those losses are being more than offset by iGaming and mobile sports betting.

Internet gaming with online slots and table games is only legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Michigan is in the process of becoming the fifth iGaming jurisdiction.

The $156 million from online casinos generated in October represents a 209.5 percent year-over-year jump.