After a hefty 8.7% jump in casino revenue in July compared to June, Missouri casinos slipped back down in August. Just under $156.4 million in revenue was generated in August, down 7.7% from July’s $168.5 million.
While a fall like that is never ideal, it has more to do with July being an especially strong month for casino gambling than the marketplace struggling. Missouri just finished a record-breaking fiscal year at the end of June, which concluded with more than $1.9 billion in revenue.
Admissions slipped by 1%, while revenue fell by 3% year over year in August. Despite the drops, the new fiscal year is already off to a good start thanks to the strong month of July.
Casinos in Missouri see slight dips year over year
Missouri has 13 casinos, which are technically riverboat operations. Missouri online gambling is extremely limited, as both sports betting and online casinos are illegal in the state. Thus, Missourians must rely on riverboat gaming establishments to scratch their gambling itch.
In August, those 13 casinos had nearly 2.4 million admissions, a difference of less than 20,000 admissions YOY. In line with the small drop in admissions, revenue also was a bit lower. In August 2022, nearly $161 million in revenue was generated. That fell by $3.6 million this August, a difference of about 3%.
Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles led the way in revenue, with more than $23.3 million generated in August. Despite leading the state in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) in August, it was 12% worse than in August 2022, when over $26.6 million was made.
The silver medal for August goes to River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis, which generated over $20.6 million in AGR. That was right in line with the August 2022 total of $20.7 million.
The third-place winner was Hollywood Casino and Hotel in St. Louis, with just a smidge under $20 million in AGR. August was better than the year prior by more than $600,000, a difference of 3%.
Those three casinos combined to accumulate nearly $64 million of AGR, which is almost 41% of the state-wide revenue for August.
Table games took in just under $110 million worth of wagers, which generated nearly $19.8 million in revenue for a tremendous hold percentage of 18.1%. Slot machines made up the largest chunk of revenue by far. Over $1.4 billion was wagered on slot machines in August, which led to over $136 million in revenue for casinos with a hold percentage of 9.7%. Nearly $200,000 of revenue came from hybrid table games, which saw nearly $5 million in wagers in August.
Nearly $38 million contributed to Missouri through the gaming tax
There are two methods of contributing money from casino gambling to the state of Missouri.
One is typical. A gaming tax is levied against casino winnings. In Missouri, the gaming tax rate is 21%, which equates out to nearly $33 million of tax money being contributed to the state for August. The three biggest contributions are:
- Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles: $4.9 million
- River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis: $4.3 million
- Hollywood Casino and Hotel in St. Louis: $4.2 million
The other method Missouri benefits from riverboat gambling is by charging an admission fee. Excursion gambling boats are charged $2 a person. One dollar is for the Missouri Gaming Commission and the other dollar is paid to the home dock city or county. For casinos in a city, the admission fee is slightly higher at $2.25 with the extra 25 cents going to the county’s general fund.
In August, admission fees generated nearly $4.8 million for the state, with the typical names leading the pack but in a different order.
- River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis: $685,000
- Hollywood Casino and Hotel in St. Louis: $663,000
- Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles: $652,000
Between admission fees and the gaming tax, Missouri came away with over $37.6 million for the state from casino gambling in August.
Tax dollars for Missouri could be even higher with sports betting and VLTs
With nearly $38 million being generated for the state through just casino gambling, imagine how much more could be added if legislation for sports betting and video lottery terminals (VLTs) were passed.
Missouri lost out on an estimated $25 million of tax dollars over the 2023 Super Bowl weekend alone. That is why a coalition of professional sports teams have banded together and filed four petitions in an attempt to get sports betting in Missouri passed as opposed to relying on the Legislature to do so.
Considering Missouri Sen. Denny Hoskins has regularly disrupted any sports betting legislation, these four petitions might be the best bet to bring sports betting to Missouri. Hoskins’ biggest issue with sports betting is the lack of language surrounding VLTs, which operate in a legal grey area.
If both mediums of wagering were passed and regulated, it could mean tens or even hundreds of millions for the state of Missouri.