Despite Sports Betting Slowdown, NY Commercial Casinos Make Gains In April

Posted By Derek Helling on May 19, 2021

April brought the expected drop in New York sports betting. Regardless, the month’s casino revenue among NY’s four upstate commercial properties posted a slight month-over-month gain. Additionally, the downturn at NY sportsbooks wasn’t that drastic.

It’s a sign that New Yorkers are getting more comfortable in public places again. These numbers also reveal what industry analysts should expect out of NY in April until legal online sports betting launches in the Empire State.

April casino revenue posts modest gain in NY

Across all four facilities, April’s total came to $47.97 million in total gross gaming revenue from all sources. That not only includes sports betting but hold from poker, slots, and table games. Resorts World Catskills in Monticello came out on top among the four properties for the month.

CasinoApril 2021 GGR
Resorts World Catskills$14,300,844
Rivers Casino$14,156,186
del lago Casino$11,783,467
Tioga Downs Casino$7,743,127

That total is up about 4.4% as compared to March of this year. It’s also a massive year-over-year improvement, as NY commercial casinos were closed entirely in April of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the rate of growth slowed greatly. In March, these same casinos saw a 34% month-over-month uptick.

Regardless, a second consecutive month of higher revenue is good news. There’s reason to think the trend will continue, too. Pandemic-related restrictions on casinos continue to ease. Just this week the capacity restriction that limited occupancy to 25% of properties’ fire code ended.

NY casinos are now free to turn back on as many of their slots as they wish. That should help the casinos continue to build momentum in the slot category, which was up about 5.6% from March’s $35.6 million.

Perhaps the most interesting figure from last month is the sports betting revenue, though. It’s the first time we’ve seen these stats from these retail sportsbooks in the month of April.

April is anything but showering for sports betting revenue

Across the nation, legal sports betting operations saw a month-to-month decline from March to April. That’s pretty typical and NY was no exception. The four NY retail sportsbooks posted $1.32 million in total sports betting GGR last month.

BetRivers Sportsbook inside the casino by the same name in Schenectady did slightly better than the DraftKings Sportsbook at del Lago Resort. Those two properties didn’t see as much of a monthly decline as the FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs or the Sportsbook 360 at Resorts World. The latter of those two actually posted a loss in April.

SportsbookCasinoApril 2021 GGR
BetRivers SportsbookRivers Casino$644,865
DraftKings Sportsbookdel lago Casino$620,431
FanDuel SportsbookTioga Downs$65,074
Sportsbook 360Resorts World Catskills$(7,747)

So why is April usually a bummer? Because March is typically inflated. The first few weeks of the NCAA D1 men’s basketball tournament normally makes March one of the strongest sports betting months of each year. This year in NY, April’s total was down about 28.7% from March, which was up about 37.9% as compared to February.

So, it looks like sports bettors in NY behave as expected and in keeping with national trends. The loosening of COVID-19 protocols that affect casinos also seems to have the expected effect on casinos’ bottom lines. All in all, there were no surprises when it came to April casino revenue this year.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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