Don’t Blame Sports Betting For NY Casinos’ June Revenue Downturn

Written By Derek Helling on July 19, 2021

The run of the Brooklyn Nets to the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals might have given a boost to retail sportsbooks inside New York commercial casinos in June.

But just as the Nets couldn’t overcome the Milwaukee Bucks in that series, Brooklyn’s talent wasn’t enough to nullify a drop in overall Empire State casino revenue last month.

Those brick-and-mortar sportsbooks saw a second consecutive increase in win in June. However, it seems the lure of summer activities was still sufficient to pull other casino patrons away from their spots at gaming tables and slot machines.

A look at the NY June casino revenue figures

Altogether, the four commercial casinos in New York reported over $50.49 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) from all sources for last month. Compared to the previous month, that figure is down about $3.32 million, or 6.2%.

Holding onto the top spot for the month: Resorts World Catskills.

CasinoJune 2021 GGR
Resorts World Catskills$17,474,852
Rivers Casino$14,269,813
del lago Casino$11,634,362
Tioga Downs Casino$7,119,695

Resorts World also saw the largest dropoff, however. Total GGR there decreased about $1.31 million (7%) from May. The other three properties saw declines of less than $1 million month over month.

The biggest culprit? Table games. In May 2021, the four casinos’ combined GGR from their gaming tables was more than $12.66 million. Last month’s total came to just $11.57 million. That’s a downturn of about 8.7%, bigger than the 7% decline in slots GGR from May to June.

These numbers are a tremendous improvement from last June, though. At that time, all four casinos were completely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A comparison to June 2019 offers better context.

That month, NY commercial casinos reported $54.07 million in GGR. That was without any revenue from sports betting, as none of the four had their books up and running at that point. This year’s June total, with wagering factored in, is still down about 6.7% from that June 2019 total. Actually, if not for sports betting, that comparison might look worse.

Sportsbooks did their part and then some

While the New York State Gaming Commission does not break down hold by sport, it’s hard to ignore the timing of the Brooklyn Nets’ progression to the Eastern Conference semis. That likely played a role in NY retail sportsbooks reporting more than $1.85 million in June win. BetRivers Sportsbook continued to lead the way.

SportsbookCasinoJune 2021 GGR
BetRivers SportsbookRivers Casino$770,122
DraftKings Sportsbookdel lago Casino$626,478
Sportsbook 360Resorts World Catskills$314,845
FanDuel SportsbookTioga Downs$147,197

The sum from all four books is not only an increase of around 14.1% from May but also represents the state’s highest total for the month of June in any year. It also represents a second straight month of larger win, as May was up 17% from April.

New York sports betting numbers from July will tell a fuller story when they come out. In this discussion, it’s crucial to keep in mind that June is typically a bit of a bummer for casino operators all over the country.

Casinos feeling the heat all over

New York casinos aren’t the only ones possibly seeing their customers decide to spend their money and time elsewhere right now. For example, Maryland’s six casinos saw a decline of about 6.4% from May to June.

Possible factors for the expected slumps in June include the fact that more casino patrons have childcare duties with school terms ending. Additionally, those duties put new demands on casino guests’ budgets. Summer is also still the busiest travel season of the year, further giving casino goers reasons to divert their entertainment budgets.

Casinos’ best marketing plans at this time of year aim at convincing potential customers to make their facilities part of their excursions. It’s a game of trying to tread water between the traditionally more lucrative months. Last month in New York, the boost from sportsbooks helped in that effort.

Photo by AP / David Klepper
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. 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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