CO Casinos See Strong February Gaming Revenue, But Prepare For The Worst

Posted on March 17, 2020 - Last Updated on June 23, 2020

As a wave of closures sweeps over Colorado casinos because of the coronavirus, the Colorado Division of Gaming  (CDG) released its revenue numbers from February. The data provides insight into what may be the last full month of land-based gambling that casinos will experience for weeks, or perhaps months.

Overall, adjusted gross proceeds, or “AGP”, from slots and table games fell in February. This is likely the result of two additional days in Jan. as well as increased traffic on New Year’s Day.

February 2020 Colorado casino revenue by the numbers

The CDG’s monthly statistical summary provides an average daily AGP per device. The CDG applies this metric to the state, as well as Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City. Here is the average daily total AGP per device for the state and three gambling regions:

  • Statewide: $177.27
  • Black Hawk: $234.26
  • Central City: $106.12
  • Cripple Creek: $105.44

Black Hawk continued to be the state’s revenue workhorse, exceeding the average daily AGP for the state and doubling Central City and Cripple Creek.

However, Feb. was a down month compared to January on both an overall and daily average level. Total AGP for the month was $64.39 million compared to $68.75 million in January. The daily average AGP in February also lagged behind: $177.27 versus $183.37.

How 2020 gaming revenue compared to 2019

Colorado’s year-on-year land-based casino revenue saw a slight increase. In Feb. 2019, casinos pulled in an average daily per-device AGP of $63.21 million. Feb. 2020’s overall AGP was $64.39 million, representing roughly a 1.8% increase.

The monthly per-device AGP was $4,944.97 in Feb. 2019, compared to $5,140.94 in Feb. 2020.

How will Colorado sports betting affect casino revenues?

While this past month’s revenue numbers were relatively benign compared to Jan., the CDG was incredibly active.

In February, it approved sports betting master licenses for the following properties:

  • Golden Mardi Gras
  • Golden Gates
  • Golden Gulch
  • Bronco Billy’s Casino
  • Christmas Casino & Inn by Bronco Billy’s

The license approvals are part of state regulators’ push to get CO casinos and operators ready for sports betting in May.

As it pertains to casino revenue, the proverbial jury is out on the effect that sportsbooks have on slots and table-games revenue.

For example, a 2009 thesis study from Dr. Brett L.L. Abarbanel, who is now the director of research at the UNLV International Gaming Institute, concluded retail sportsbooks don’t have any significant impact on slots revenue:

“There was no support of the alternative hypothesis that daily sports write had a significant impact on daily slot coin-in. That is, the coefficients associated with daily sports write were not significantly different from zero, and therefore sports write did not have a significant impact on slot coin-in.”

COSportsbooks reached out to Abarbanel for comment but did not hear back at the time of publishing.

Part of the reason why sports betting may not impact land-based casino revenue is that other states’ sports betting markets reveal most bets are placed via mobile rather than in person.

For example, this past January, 78% of sports wagering in Pennsylvania came from mobile devices. In New Jersey, mobile sports betting made up 88% of its sports betting handle this past month.

Looking ahead to March’s numbers

All speculation and comparison of revenue may be a moot point by this time next month. Gov. Jared Polis has ordered all casinos to close at 7 p.m. this evening.

Casinos stand to lose tens of millions in revenue this month. As the situation develops, COSportsBetting will continue to provide information about closures and, hopefully, re-openings.

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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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