U.S. commercial gaming revenue for the third quarter (Q3) of 2020 totaled $9.04 billion, reaching 81 percent of the industry’s pre-COVID levels in Q3 2019, according to the American Gaming Association’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. Q3 revenue is up 294 percent from the historic lows of Q2, caused by pandemic-driven, mandatory closures.

COVID-19 health and safety measures, including social distancing and capacity restrictions, have contributed to the gaming industry’s recovery lagging the country’s broader economic recovery. Gaming revenue is down 36.5 percent year-over-year (YoY) in the first nine months of 2020, compared to the U.S. GDP’s three percent decline in the same period.  

 “Our industry continues to prioritize the health and safety of our employees, customers, and communities above all else,” said Bill Miller, president and chief executive officer for the American Gaming Association (AGA). “While these quarterly results are promising, the reality is a full recovery is dependent on continued public health measures to control prevalence rates.” 

More than 100 casinos reopened between July and September with 902 commercial and tribal casinos (90.8 percent of total) operational by the end of the third quarter, compared to 800 (80.8 percent of total) at the start of July, according to the AGA. 

Many states that saw encouraging gaming revenue growth in Q2 continued the positive trend in Q3 despite continued capacity restraints. Five states outperformed their Q3 2019 revenue figures: Arkansas (0.3 percent), Mississippi (2.8 percent), Ohio (7.5 percent), Pennsylvania (3.8 percent), and South Dakota (6.1 percent). Looking only at the most recent month, September, the recovery trends continue with both Maryland (1 percent) and New Jersey (6.5 percent) also returning to year-over-year gaming revenue growth.