With IL, IN, and IA already reported, August is looking worse than July on an absolute basis, after adjusting for seasonality.
As we did for lodging – yes, 10% RevPAR growth in August actually represented a slowdown – we’ve taken a look at sequential regional gaming trends on an absolute basis. Of course, we adjust for seasonality since August is typically a better than average month but slower than July while September is one of the slowest months of the year. Ignoring YoY changes is prudent in our opinion given the extreme volatility over the last two years.
Seasonally adjusting the July actual revenues yield August regional gaming revenues of $1.047 billion, up 2% over last year. However, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa have already reported August, and they were all disappointing relative to July. Plugging in those actual numbers, we arrive at a new estimate of $1.029 billion, flat with last year. But that assumes that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri are also not disappointing. Since the regional markets tend to be impacted by the same macro factors, those three states could come in lower. Thus, we believe August gaming revenues may come in at -1% to -3%.
Based on July, the seasonality model would’ve projected September to be up almost 2% but if we are right on August, that would lower our September estimate to -2% and our October estimate to -4%. Looking further ahead, November could be the first positive YoY month, but just barely, while December has more cushion and should be a positive growth month. Nevertheless, these don’t sound like recovery numbers just yet.