There’s no question that 2020 was a lousy year for American gambling operators but a recent report from the American Gaming Association (AGA) bears out the misery in excruciating detail. All told, the US gambling business pulled in around $20 billion in 2020; which is down 30 percent over 2019. The report utilized data drawn from the AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker and doesn’t paint a very pretty picture.

According to the report, commercial casinos lost 27 percent of their total operating days due to pandemic-related closures. That totals roughly 124,882 days in 2020 (remember casinos are open 24 hours a day) compared with 170,484 days in 2019 when there were no closures. Currently, about 911 of the AGA’s 988 tracked casinos are currently open for gambling, according to data drawn from the group’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. But with many casinos hobbled legally mandated lower occupancy rates, a full recovery is still a ways off on the horizon.

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller summed up the situation saying, ““COVID-19 devastated our business and the employees and communities across the country that rely on casino gaming’s success. We have persevered by leading responsible reopening efforts, supporting our employees, and extending a hand to our communities. Still, these numbers show the economic realities of COVID-19 and underscore the importance of targeted federal relief and ramped-up vaccine distribution to accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2021.”

Miller went on to express his thought that the gambling business would pick up dramatically as a vaccinated world reopens for business. He also pointed to regulated sports betting as a market vertical that played a major role in keeping a terrible year from being even worse.

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