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Missouri Casinos Face Decline in Revenue Amid Struggles

Discover the latest challenges facing Missouri's gaming industry as casino revenue and customer counts decline in April 2024. Explore the legislative struggles hindering the legalization of online casinos and sports betting, and learn about the concerns for the industry's resilience amid stagnant performance from major revenue earners.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: May 17, 2024

The Recent Struggles

In Missouri, where the gaming industry plays a significant role, the latest figures from the Missouri Gaming Commission paint a grim picture for the state's casinos. In April, key metrics such as customer counts and revenue faced a notable decline, reflecting a challenging landscape for the industry. Here's a breakdown of the data and the broader implications.

 

  1. Decline in Revenue and Customer Counts: Missouri's casinos experienced a significant downturn in April 2024, with both customer counts and revenue declining by 6% and 7% year-on-year, respectively. This marks a challenging period for the state's gaming industry, exacerbated by a month-on-month revenue drop from $175.4 million in March to $156 million in April.
  2. Legislative Struggles and Legalization Hurdles: Despite the potential for online casinos and sports betting to boost revenue, legislative efforts to legalize these activities have faced significant hurdles in Missouri. The slow progress in passing relevant laws underscores the uncertainty surrounding the future of the state's gaming landscape.
  3. Concerns for Industry Resilience: With only one casino showing positive annual gains in April and the state's largest revenue earners facing stagnant or declining performance, there are growing concerns about the industry's resilience. The inability to reverse the current downward trajectory raises questions about the industry's ability to rebound from its slump in the coming months.

 

According to the Missouri Gaming Commission, April 2024 witnessed a 6% decrease in casino customer counts and a 7% decrease in revenue compared to the same period last year. These figures reveal a concerning trend, compounded by the fact that only one casino managed to increase its win compared to April 2023. The decline persisted even on a month-on-month basis, with revenue dropping from $175.4 million in March to $156 million in April.

The struggles of Missouri's casinos come at a time of legislative gridlock regarding the legalization of online casino gaming and sports betting. Despite the potential for these initiatives to inject much-needed revenue into the state's coffers, the state legislature has faced significant challenges in passing any relevant laws.

Key takeaways from the situation include the illegality of Missouri online casinos, which could become legal if online sports betting is approved. However, progress on this front has been slow, contributing to what has been described as a tough year for Missouri's casinos overall. With only one casino registering positive annual gains in April, it's evident that the state's major players need to reverse the current downward trajectory.

The broader implications extend to the realm of state revenue and fiscal policy. Many states across the country have successfully implemented sports betting bills, resulting in substantial revenue streams that fund various public programs. However, the legalization of online casinos presents a more complex challenge, as it often faces opposition from brick-and-mortar establishments concerned about potential revenue losses.

The road to legalizing Missouri online casinos appears to be long and arduous. With sports betting legislation facing significant obstacles in the state legislature, the prospects for online casinos remain uncertain. However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, as efforts are underway to include sports betting on the ballot in November, allowing Missouri residents to vote on its legalization.

Turning to the specific revenue figures, April 2024 saw Missouri's 13 casinos generate $156 million in adjusted gross revenue, marking an 11.1% decrease from the previous month. Yearly comparisons also reflect a 6.6% decline in revenue. While some casinos showed slight resilience, with a few experiencing year-on-year revenue increases, the overall trend paints a challenging picture for the industry.

Looking ahead, the coming months may continue to present challenges for Missouri's casinos. Historically, casino revenue tends to decline during the summer months before experiencing a resurgence in September. As such, it's likely that revenue numbers will continue to slump both month-on-month and in annual comparisons.

The fate of Missouri's gaming industry hinges, in part, on the performance of its major revenue generators. Among them, only three casinos consistently exceed $20 million in revenue: Hollywood Casino St. Louis, River City Casino, and Ameristar St. Charles. While some have shown modest improvements, others have struggled to maintain positive growth, raising concerns about the industry's overall stability.

 

“As legislative efforts to legalize online gaming stall, the industry faces an uncertain future, with implications for state revenue and economic stability.”

 

In conclusion, the decline in revenue and customer counts experienced by Missouri's casinos underscores the broader challenges facing the state's gaming industry. As legislative efforts to legalize online gaming stall, the industry faces an uncertain future, with implications for state revenue and economic stability. Amid these challenges, the ability of Missouri's casinos to rebound from their current slump remains uncertain.

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