WASHINGTON—Following three challenging years of economic instability, the U.S. commercial casino industry showed stable industry revenues in 2010 – a significant improvement over figures from the past two years. According to a report released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA), gross gaming revenues totaled $34.6 billion last year, a nearly 1 percent increase compared to 2009 figures. This year’s report also provides an all-new profile of the modern casino patron, including demographic information and details about the casino visitor experience.
“There’s no question; the last several years have been challenging for the commercial casino industry,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. “This year’s State of the States report confirms that there’s good reason to be optimistic about the future of gaming. The industry has made tough choices and implemented new strategies to persevere. As a result, casinos across 22 states continue to make significant contributions to the U.S. economy.”
Widely regarded as the most comprehensive resource of its kind, State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment offers an in-depth look at the commercial casino industry. It provides national and state-by-state economic impact data, such as gaming revenues, tax contributions, and employment and wage figures for the 22 U.S. commercial casino states operating in 2010.
For the first time, this year’s report combines data from the commercial and racetrack casino sectors. As the growth of racetrack casinos has taken off, the line between racetrack and commercial casinos has blurred.
“Combining the figures provides a clear picture of the true impact of the national industry,” said Fahrenkopf.
The new edition of State of the States reveals that commercial casinos returned $7.59 billion in tax revenues to gaming communities across the country last year. These contributions helped states and localities pay for important programs and services when budget deficits cut most government programs. The report also indicates that the industry employed more than 340,000 people who earned $13.3 billion in wages, tips and benefits in 2010.
“Gaming companies are stable businesses, playing a key role in the broader economic landscape of both the national economy and their host communities,” said Fahrenkopf. “There are few sectors of the U.S. economy that require such considerable capital expenditures, are as labor intensive, generate as significant a number of U.S.-based jobs and are supportive of thousands of outside vendors and suppliers as the commercial casino industry.”
The State of the States survey also reports on the significant contributions the gaming equipment manufacturing sector is making to the economy. Research and analysis conducted by Applied Analysis on behalf of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers shows that the sector generated $11.5 billion in direct revenue – a 5.1 percent decrease compared to 2009. Despite the reduced revenue levels in 2010, a survey of global gaming suppliers indicates that 73 percent of companies within the sector think that market conditions will improve during the next 12 months. Gaming equipment manufacturers also provided direct employment to 29,400 Americans, paying salaries and wages totaling $2.1 billion.
As casino gaming has expanded to more states in recent years, it has become a greater part of the mix of entertainment options available to the American public. According to 2011 public opinion polling, 31 percent of Americans visited casinos during the past 12 months, and one-quarter (25 percent) gambled while they were there.
A special section in the 2011 State of the States survey profiles the modern casino visitor, and includes demographic information and details about the casino visitor experience. The results show that the demographic profile of casino visitors is similar to that of the U.S. population. Casino visitors are more active in their leisure time, however, going to movies, concerts, sporting events, museums and amusement parks more often and taking more vacations than the general population.
The polling also shows that the gaming floor is not the only draw at the modern casino, as non-gaming amenities are an important part of the visitor experience. In fact, 16 percent of visitors say they rarely or never gamble when visiting a casino, citing their favorite experiences as the restaurants, live entertainment and shopping offered by a growing number of casinos. Casino patrons also find good value for their entertainment dollar; when compared to other activities they enjoy, 77 percent of visitors say they get a good return on their investment when they visit a casino property.
In addition, the survey found that almost three out of five casino visitors at least sometimes visit other attractions, restaurants or retail areas outside of the casino, generating revenue for surrounding businesses.
Additional survey results indicate that overall acceptability of the industry remained high in 2010, as 82 percent of Americans view casino gaming as an acceptable activity for themselves or others.
The 2011 States of the States report also spotlights data on electronic gaming machines, sports betting and consumer budgeting at casinos.
Public polling data included in the report were collected by VP Communications, Inc. in conjunction with national pollster Peter D. Hart. A full copy of the 2011 State of the States can be downloaded at www.americangaming.org. Media representatives may obtain a copy by contacting Brian Lehman at 202-552-2680.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) is the national trade association for the commercial casino industry. In addition to representing the interests of its members on federal legislative and regulatory issues, the AGA serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.