After what started as a declining fiscal year, Missouri casinos earned a reprieve in September. Not only did the 13 licensees halt a two-month annual downturn, but they also barely squeaked out a new revenue record for the month.
Fueling that improvement most was the expansion of one property in the state. While the newness of that expansion could wane, its presence in one of the state’s two largest markets suggests it could have some staying power, too.
Missouri casinos hit September high
The 13 brick-and-mortar commercial casinos in Missouri barely improved upon their September 2022 revenue total this year, but they did so nonetheless. September 2023’s sum of $158.5 million beat out the same month in 2022’s revenue total by about $700,000.
Because September 2022’s tally had been the state’s gaming revenue high for the month, September 2023 has supplanted it. It’s welcome news for the casinos, too. Missouri gaming revenue in August and July represented slight year-over-year declines.
At the same time, revenue for the current fiscal year remains mostly flat compared to the previous term. If Missouri’s casinos are to best FY22-23’s performance, they’ll need the individual casinos to ramp up their earnings.
At least one of those casinos did exactly that in September. The reason behind its enhanced bottom line is quite obvious.
Bally’s Kansas City expansion delivers expected results
Bally’s Kansas City opened its renovated property in the middle of September. Along with some new amenities, the expansion added 200 new gaming positions to the facility. That included a high-limit slot area.
As far as whether that had an immediate impact, the numbers don’t lie. Bally’s improved upon its same-month 2022 revenue total by 20% in September according to the Missouri Gaming Commission. Admissions jumped by 19% during the month as well in a year-over-year comparison.
The greatest boost came from Bally’s table games win, up 226% year-over-year. However, slot play at the casino was still up a more than respectable 11% in the same context. Outside of Bally’s, however, things weren’t as rosy.
Only two of the other 12 casinos in Missouri saw significant year-over-year total revenue gains, Century Casino Caruthersville and River City Casino Hotel in St. Louis. Four other casinos experienced an annual decline greater than 5%.
For that reason, September’s year-over-year gain was marginal despite a strong month at Bally’s. It’s unlikely the state’s gambling industry can count on Bally’s to replicate 20% growth every month consistently going forward, too.
Missouri’s gambling industry needs action to combat stagnation.