Following the closure of brick-and-mortar casinos in the US amid the global pandemic, online casinos hit new records in the second quarter of 2020. According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, online casinos’ gross gaming revenue (GGR) hit $402.7 million during the period.
In comparison with the performance of the same three-month period in the previous year, they nearly tripled the numbers recorded in 2019. The growth rate for the period was an astounding 253.8% year-on-year (YoY). For the first half of the year, online casino revenue amounted to $634 .9 million. This marked a YoY increase of 189.7%.
Beyond the US, the first half of 2020 saw increased interest in online casinos as well as improvements in performance. For instance, in the UK, Google Trends shows that internet searches for casinos hit an all-time high. In Italy, online gambling revenue increased from 7.2 million Euros in March 2019 to more than 16 million Euros in March 2020. Portugal, on the other hand, shows a revenue increase of 44.2% YoY in the first half of 2020.
Land-Based Casino Revenues Plummet Nearly 80% YoY from $10.8B to $2.3B
The situation is vastly different for offline operators, whose performance has contracted by 78.8% since Q2 2019. During Q2 2019, their total revenue surpassed $10.8 billion while Q2 2020 revenue was almost a fifth of that only, at $2.3 billion. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, they reported a drop of 78.8%.
During the first half of 2020, brick-and-mortar casinos reported a contraction of 45.6% in terms of revenue in comparison to the first half of 2019. The decline would have been far worse were it not for the fact that January and February saw record revenue growth. Prior to the closure of all 989 brick-and-mortar casinos in the US in March 2020, they had recorded an increase of 10.6% compared to the previous year.
Notably, the second quarter of 2019 saw these casinos open their doors for a collective 42,000 days. On the other hand, during Q2 2020, they were only open for about a quarter of that time, 10,505 days. In fact, in certain states like New York, New Jersey and Michigan, casinos closed down for the entire three-month period.
However, by the end of the second quarter, at least 80% of US casinos were back at it. Some of these went on to reap big from pent up demand. As a result, some states reported YoY growth in gross gaming revenue (GGR) such as Indiana (7.4%), Delaware (4.2%), Ohio (19.3%), South Dakota (42.5%) and Oklahoma (9.6%).
As such, even though both April and May saw GGR declines surpassing 90% YoY in April and May, June revenue was almost four times higher than that of the previous two months collectively. In states that recorded drops in gaming revenue, restrictions in the form of local reopening guidelines and continued closures of property were among the factors to blame.
According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, revenue in the state’s casinos has gone back to pre-pandemic levels. During the month of July 2020, total gaming revenue was $283 million, a YoY increase of 0.5% given that July 2019 revenue was $281.5 million.
From this amount, online casinos generated $54.4 million, a new all-time high. Together with sports betting, total online gaming revenue for the month was $61.2 million, 22% of all gaming revenue. A year ago, online gaming only generated about $4 million, underscoring the extent of the shift to digital gaming.
Sports Betting Platforms Drop 46.2% YoY in Q2 2020
Online casinos also outperformed online sports betting platforms. This had to do with the fact that major leagues cancelled some sporting events and delayed others following the outbreak. The latter had an impressive fourth quarter in 2019, reporting more than $360 million in revenue.
As a result, sports betting GGR for Q2 2020 was $64.2 million, a drop of 46.3% compared to a similar period in 2019. However, in view of the fact that it started the year on a high note, the GGR for the first half of 2020 was $324.9 million, an increase of 10.4% YoY. The first quarter of 2020 outperformed Q4 2019 by more than 49%. Part of the reason for this was the fact that 2019 saw legal sportsbooks start to operate in 12 states.
The interesting bit is that online casinos are only legal in five states including Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Nevada. On the other hand though, online sports betting is legal in 18 states, with 6 more on-deck circle as of August 2020. All in all, sports betting recorded a 4.1% increase during the first half of the year.