.S. commercial gaming revenue in April grew more than 25% from April 2019, boosted by rising vaccination rates, an overall positive trend in consumer spending and continuing momentum in the sports betting and iGaming verticals, according to American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. In addition, the trade body released Monday an updated map of state-mandated operating restrictions for commercial casino properties, with 8 of 25 traditional casino states allowing venues to operate with no mandated business limitations.
April 2021 was commercial gaming’s second highest-grossing gaming revenue month ever, with combined casino revenue from traditional casino gaming, sports betting, and iGaming reaching $4.39 billion. This is down 2% from a record $4.80 billion in March, primarily due to a 31.7% drop in sports betting receipts from the previous month.
Fewer operating restrictions supported April’s growth with 8 of 25 traditional casino states allowing properties to operate at full occupancy. Of America’s 463 commercial casino properties, approximately 80% remained constrained to between 25% (New York) and 75% of full occupancy, and with lingering limitations on game capacity and other amenities.
Traditional gaming revenue (slot and table games) in April totaled $3.79 billion, outperforming the previous month (+0.9%) and just 1.7% shy of a record. Monthly revenue from casino slot machines was at an all-time high in April, while table game revenue is now nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.
Of the 25 commercial gaming states that were operational two years ago, only four—Maine, Illinois, Rhode Island and West Virginia—saw total April gaming revenue drop compared to 2019. However, Illinois is expected to show positive growth once sports betting data is released later this month.
Sports betting and iGaming boosted April numbers and helped propel overall gaming revenue past pre-pandemic levels. Nationwide revenue from iGaming reached $299.9 million in April, the first month-over-month decline (-3.6%) since last November. Combined revenue from sports betting and iGaming accounted for more than 12.5% of all U.S. commercial gaming revenue in April, down slightly from 14.8 percent in March, but well above pre-pandemic levels.
With the early-April end of March Madness – traditionally the most wagered-on event in the U.S. sports betting calendar – commercial sports book revenue dropped 31.7 percent from March, generating $240.3 million. Still, this is nearly four times (+358.7%) the national hold in April 2019, with the number of active commercial sports betting jurisdictions more than doubling (from seven to 19) since then.
AGA's COVID-19 Casino Tracker
AGA has also released an updated map tracking state-mandated operating restrictions for commercial casino properties. The trade body said local governments in some areas impose additional restrictions and individual properties may choose to set still more stringent policies.
- Arkansas: No occupancy limit but casino capacity should not exceed the ability of attendees to maintain six feet physical distance between individuals or household groups.
- Colorado: Black Hawk and Central City casinos may operate at 50% of capacity with no further person cap or limitation. Cripple Creek casinos can operate at full capacity.
- Delaware: Casinos are limited to 50% of capacity and health measures are in place.
- Florida: Commercial casinos can operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols.
- Illinois: Casinos may operate pursuant to each property’s approved Pandemic Resumption Plan under normal business hours, limited to 50% of fire code capacity. Existing social distancing, sanitizing and other mitigation protocols and measures remain in effect.
- Indiana: Casinos in blue county zones shall limit occupancy to 75%. That number drops to 50% for casinos in yellow and orange county counties.
- Iowa: Casinos are not mandated to operate with social distancing measures in place, but they are still strongly encouraged to take such reasonable measures.
- Kansas: Casinos are subject to local restrictions. Slot machines are currently operating at about 80% of capacity and table games at 75%.
- Louisiana: Casinos can operate without capacity limits, though social distancing and the mask mandate remain in place along with any other additional measures that may be required by the State Fire Marshal.
- Maine: Casinos are limited to 75% of capacity.
- Maryland: Casino capacity restrictions have been lifted at all six casinos, but some slot machine and table game seats cannot be occupied because casinos continue to comply with social-distancing guidelines.
- Massachusetts: Casinos can operate at full capacity.
- Michigan: Casinos are limited to 30% of occupancy limits.
- Mississippi: Casinos can operate at full capacity without state-mandated restriction, but are free to set their own COVID-19 safety guidelines. All casinos must continue to follow other state and local rules that aim to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- Missouri: Casinos are permitted to operate without occupancy limitations, as long as physical-distancing practices are followed. Some counties and cities have such capacity restrictions in place.
- Nevada: Casinos can operate without social distancing and occupancy limitations.
- New Jersey: Casinos can operate without capacity limits, but must ensure that all individuals or groups of people can remain six feet apart.
- New Mexico: Casinos in counties at the turquoise level can operate at 33% of maximum occupancy, while casinos in counties at the green level are limited to 25%.
- New York: Casinos can operate at 50% occupancy limit.
- Ohio: Casinos are limited to a maximum occupancy of no more than 50% of fire code.
- Oklahoma: There are no state-mandated restrictions on casino operations.
- Pennsylvania: Casinos can operate at full capacity, while mask-wearing remains mandated for non-vaccinated persons.
- Rhode Island: Casinos can operate at full capacity.
- South Dakota: There are no mandated restrictions on casino operations in Deadwood.
- West Virginia: Casinos are permitted to operate at 100% of capacity as long as proper social distancing measures are ensured.