In 2012, the national commercial casino industry saw its second-largest gross gaming revenues ever, according to a national economic impact study released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The annual State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment shows an industry that has now seen three consecutive years of escalating growth—reaching its highest levels of gross gaming revenues since prior to the recession that began in 2008.
The 2013 report also includes public opinion polling indicating that an overwhelming majority of American adults view casino gaming as acceptable for themselves or others.
“After three years of increasing growth and positive signs in all sectors of the industry, it’s clear that we have weathered the recession,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. “Whether we look at jobs, casino visitors served or tax revenues being provided, the bottom line is that there is much to be optimistic about in the commercial casino industry.”
The latest edition of State of the States reveals that in 2012, gross gaming revenue at commercial casinos rose 4.8 percent to $37.34 billion. States and local communities benefitted from $8.6 billion returned from this revenue in the form of gaming tax contributions. This represents an 8.5 percent increase over 2011 figures. Furthermore, the jobs created by the commercial casino industry continue to provide vital employment opportunities for more than 330,000 workers across the country; in 2012, these men and women earned $13.2 billion in wages, benefits and tips, a 2.3 percent increase over 2011 figures
“At a time when many industries are still feeling the lingering effects of the so-called Great Recession, gaming companies are going strong,” Fahrenkopf said. “We continue to provide much-needed jobs and tax revenue at a time when both are greatly needed.
Fifteen of the 22 states that had commercial casinos operating during 2011 saw their gross gaming revenues increase during 2012, and casino expansion played a large role in the industry’s growth. The states that saw the greatest increases in gaming revenue were previously underserved markets where new casinos have recently opened, such as Maryland, Kansas, Maine, New York and Ohio (which became the 23rd commercial casino state last year). Gaming revenues also were boosted by an improving overall economy.
Another economic highlight for the industry is the gaming equipment manufacturing sector. As in years past, the 2013 State of the States included research on this sector conducted by advisory services firm Applied Analysis on behalf of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers. Its data show that the sector’s direct output rose to $13 billion last year—an all-time high and a 5.7 percent increase over 2011 figures. Gaming equipment manufacturers also provided direct employment to approximately 31,200 workers who earned $2.3 billion in salaries and wages.
Additionally, the report highlights public polling data that paints a picture of casino customers and their behavior. In the past 12 months, more than one-third (34 percent) of Americans visited casinos. Aside from just gambling, these patrons took advantage of many more entertainment options: more than two-thirds (69 percent) of casino-goers ate in a fine dining restaurant; 55 percent saw a show, concert or other form of live entertainment; and nearly half (45 percent) visited a bar or club. In fact, about one-quarter (26 percent) of casino visitors say they never or rarely gamble when they visit casinos.
Along with the public opinion polling, for the first time ever, State of the States features additional polling of young adults, ages 21-35, who had visited a casino in the past year. The results show similar overall gambling habits to those of the general visitor population. However, some notable differences—which give insight into the future of the casino industry— include the fact that young adults have the highest rate (39 percent) of casino visitation compared to other age groups. In addition to visiting casinos at a higher rate, young adult casino-goers are more likely to come back, as 90 percent said they plan to return to a casino in the next year (compared with 79 percent of the general population of casino-goers who said the same). These young adults also are more likely to utilize all categories of non-gaming amenities such as dining, shopping or live entertainment.
Also of note, a strong majority (85 percent) of Americans view casino gaming as acceptable for themselves or others. This figure represents the highest acceptability level in the last decade. Further, young adults are even more favorable toward casino gaming, with 89 percent of those ages 21-39 saying it is acceptable for themselves or others.
Widely regarded as the most comprehensive resource of its kind, State of the States offers an in-depth look at the commercial casino industry and provides national and state-by-state economic impact data, such as gaming revenues, tax contributions and employment and wage figures for the 23 U.S. commercial casino states operating in 2012. 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 2013 State of the States can be downloaded at http://www.americangaming.org/industry-resources/research/state-states. Media representatives may obtain a copy by contacting Press Secretary at 202-552-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.