US online casino and poker sites earned 29.3% more gross gaming revenue (GGR) in September 2023 than they did the year before, as the industry is in the midst of an unusual period of accelerating growth this fall. As the iGaming industry matures, its rate of growth has generally tended to slow down, though it’s still growing much faster than the retail gaming sector. Yet the rate for September is the highest since November 2022 and almost seven percentage points above the year-to-date average.
Fall brings with it a seasonal upswing in revenue each year. Sportsbooks experience this the most strongly as it coincides with the start of the NFL season, but online casinos also benefit. The industry total for September was $569 million GGR, representing a 12.3% increase in the daily average from August.
However, looking at the annual growth rate accounts for that seasonality by comparing each month to the same one the previous year. September 2022 also had a positive month-to-month growth rate of 6.4%. However, the 2023 fall bounce has been twice as strong.
The last time there was significant year-over-year acceleration was during 2020 and early 2021. That was due firstly to the impact of COVID-19 on the retail casino industry driving players online, and later the launch of Michigan’s market.
One possible explanation for the current uptick is that overall consumer spending growth has been gradually creeping back into positive territory over the past six months. A report by McKinsey & Company shows that the consumer spending growth rate had been on the decline for years before hitting a nadir around the end of Q1 2023. It has since begun to recover from that brief trip into the negatives.
Whatever the case, if the trend continues, the US iGaming industry may beat the $6.5 billion total for 2023 that I projected coming into the year.
A Positive Trend Across All Major iGaming States
Smoothing things out by averaging across a three-month period, it’s quite apparent how the growth rate flatlined through Q2 and has now begun to turn the corner.
There’s no one market that’s responsible for this shift in gears for the industry. New Jersey and Pennsylvania both experienced their highest year-over-year growth rate of 2023, while Michigan and Connecticut had their second-highest.
West Virginia and Delaware were the exceptions, but there are reasons for this. West Virginia recently passed the one-year anniversary of the introduction of live dealer casino games to the state. Those are such an important revenue stream that their addition created an abnormally high growth rate for the first 12 months, after which a return to normal was to be expected.
Meanwhile, Delaware is about to hand the reins of its iGaming monopoly to Rush Street Interactive, so the current provider — 888 Holdings — is winding things down.
At the operator level, there are indications that DraftKings Casino has been the greatest beneficiary of this hot period. This is especially evident in Michigan, where we can see figures for each operator individually, and DraftKings is showing an annual growth rate of nearly 70% and a month-to-month increase of over 36% in daily average revenue. That said, most other operators also had a good month, so it’s the national market growing, not one state or operator.
One word of caution: These growth rates are still unsustainably high, in all likelihood. I would expect the larger-scale slowdown to continue into 2024 and beyond, this period of acceleration notwithstanding. What we’re probably seeing is a delayed rebound from a Q1 that saw a much sharper downturn than I had projected.
Online Gambling Revenue Highlights — Sept. 2023
- Pennsylvania online gambling sites won $187.3 million in September 2023, up 34.1% year-over-year. That’s the highest rate since November 2022 and a four-point increase over August.
- The daily average revenue was $6.2 million, up 12.6% from August, and the highest single-month increase since December 2020.
- Pennsylvania’s year-to-date total iGaming GGR is now $1.52 billion, 0.2% ahead of the Bonus forecast and now almost guaranteed to exceed $2 billion by the end of the year.
- Caesars had the stand-out month in the Keystone State, with daily average revenue up 20.5% from August. The Penn National license — which includes DraftKings and BetMGM, among other operators — was up 12.9%.
- Michigan online gambling sites won $166.4 million in September 2023, up 21.1% year-over-year. That’s the highest rate since February and a 13-point increase over August.
- In dollar terms, Michigan has once again overtaken New Jersey, though the latter is still the richer market on a per capita basis.
- The daily average revenue was $5.5 million, up 13.0% from August, and the highest single-month increase in state history. It’s also 5.3% higher than the Bonus projection for the month.
- Michigan’s year-to-date total iGaming GGR is now $1.41 billion, 1.7% lower than the Bonus forecast but closing in rapidly.
- Many operators saw double-digit percentage increases in daily average revenue. Aside from DraftKings, PointsBet saw a 42% increase, FireKeepers was up 15%, and even Barstool rebounded 22% as it prepares for its rebranding as Hollywood Casino.
- New Jersey online gambling sites won $163.8 million in September 2023, up 18.1% year-over-year. Like Pennsylvania, that’s the fastest growth rate since November 2022.
- The daily average jumped to $5.5 million, a 9% increase after two months of virtually no change. That’s 4.4% higher than the Bonus projection.
- New Jersey’s year-to-date total iGaming GGR is now $1.41 billion, virtually identical to Michigan. It’s within 0.3% of the Bonus forecast and on track for around $1.9 billion by the end of the year.
- Caesars’ revenue has continued to drop since the launch of its new standalone casino product. Daily average revenue for its license (also home to 888 and WynnBet) fell 12.3% in September.
- Golden Nugget had an exceptional month, with daily average revenue up 14.3%. The one-time market leader came within $350,000 of reclaiming its position from Resorts. Meanwhile, Borgata, which had held the top spot as recently as July, has slipped to third.
- Connecticut online casinos won $37.6 million in September 2023, equating to a 54.9% annual growth rate.
- The daily average revenue surged to $1.3 million, up 24.6%.
- All four of these figures — monthly revenue, daily average revenue, annual growth, and monthly growth — are all-time state records.
- Connecticut’s September performance was vastly ahead of the Bonus projection, by a margin of 21.0%.
- Connecticut’s year-to-date total iGaming GGR is now $287.1 million, 8.2% ahead of the Bonus projection. It could end up exceeding $400 million by the end of the year if growth remains high.
- DraftKings has continued to claw back market share from Mohegan Sun, despite having given up some ground when it cut back promotional spending to start the year. It added nearly two percentage points to its share, getting back to 57.2%. That’s roughly where it was in April and only 2.8 points lower than its 2022 average.
- West Virginia online casinos won $12.7 million in September 2023, up 19.0% year-over-year. Although slower than the rate in August, it represents a leveling-off for a market that has gone from hare to tortoise in the span of a few months.
- The daily average revenue was almost $423,795, a 13.4% increase from August. It’s the best monthly growth rate for the state since February and puts revenue within 1% of the Bonus projection after several months of underperformance.
- West Virginia’s year-to-date iGaming GGR is now $111.6 million, crossing into nine-digit territory a month behind schedule.
- WynnBet has continued to spin its wheels, with daily average revenue dropping another 29% and earning less than half of what it did in July, its first full month. The other three license-holders all saw similarly-sized increases of between 13.4% and 15.7%.
- Delaware’s lottery monopoly generated $1.1 million in revenue from its three online casino brands in September 2023. That’s an annual drop of 15.5%. It’s the second consecutive month of negative annual growth, which was previously unheard of in US markets.
- The daily average revenue was $36,965, up 3.5% from August but still 20.9% below the Bonus projection.
- Barring a disaster, Delaware will still come out of 2023 with a positive full-year growth rate, but may not even reach $15 million in gross revenue, let alone the $17 million Bonus projected. A lot depends on how smoothly the transition from 888 Holdings to Rush Street Interactive goes, and whether the latter’s product proves more enticing to residents.
US Online Gambling Revenue Summary Table
|State||GGR - September 2023||Monthly Change||Annual Change|
Notes on the Data
- Raw data for this article comes from reports issued by the state regulators: the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Michigan Gaming Control Board, West Virginia Lottery, Delaware Lottery, and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
- 2023 online gambling revenue projections are original calculations performed by News Managing Editor Alex Weldon on behalf of Bonus. Please cite Bonus and Alex Weldon if reporting projected numbers or market performance compared to the projections.
- Monthly growth figures are adjusted for the number of days in the month. That is, they represent the change in daily average revenue, not full-month gross revenue.
- West Virginia reports revenue weekly, not monthly. Its monthly totals are an estimate, assuming that revenue for partial weeks is distributed evenly between the seven days.
- Pennsylvania only reports adjusted revenue (gross revenue, less promotional spending). Bonus calculates gross slots revenue by subtracting payouts from coin in, but no such data is available for table games and poker. Therefore, actual gross revenue is probably somewhat higher than what we report.
Previous Monthly Trends
- Mar 2023—Resorts overtakes Borgata as New Jersey’s top license
- Apr 2023—Charles Town Online Casinos Overtake Greenbrier in WV Amid Slow April
- May 2023—Connecticut Online Casinos Exceed Expectations
- June 2023—US Online Casinos Win $3.1B in H1, May Approach $6.5B Full-Year Forecast
- July 2023—US Online Casino Industry on an Even Keel Through Summer Doldrums
- August 2023—Pennsylvania Online Casinos Win $172 Million as Fall Upswing Starts Early