AGA President and CEO Bill Miller sent the following industry update on June 12, 2020.
Our industry is on a steady path to recovery as more than 60 percent of America’s casinos have reopened, with many reporting higher-than-anticipated demand. It was certainly a highlight for me to see the doors open in Las Vegas, the heartbeat of American gaming, last week.
Today’s economic realities were hard to imagine even a few short months ago before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Looking at the numbers, 2020 was shaping up to be a tremendous year. U.S. commercial gaming revenue was up 10.6 percent in January and February 2020 over the same period in 2019.
These early 2020 numbers were carryovers from a markedly successful 2019, the fifth consecutive year of growth for gaming. Gaming’s expansion in 2019 is the focal point of the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) State of the States 2020. The annual report details the commercial gaming industry’s financial performance for the previous year, including analyses of the 25 states with commercial gaming operations. Notably, 2019 marked the fifth consecutive year of commercial gaming revenue growth, up 3.7 percent, to $43.6 billion.
The successes detailed in this year’s report are in stark contrast to where we are today. But it is also a great reminder of the significant role gaming plays in shoring up local and state economies and supporting the jobs and careers of nearly two million Americans. As mandated closures continue to let up, gaming will be pivotal to a quick and sustained recovery for our communities, our employees, and our customers.
Throughout the pandemic, it’s been the AGA’s commitment to keep you updated with the latest in Washington as well as to provide analysis and resources to help you navigate new business needs. Please find more details on State of the States as well as the latest resources below.
All the best,
President & CEO
Record Year for Gaming Reinforces Industry’s Role as Economic and Community Driver
State of the States 2020 is the definitive economic analysis of the U.S. commercial casino industry and its significant economic impact in the 25 U.S. states with commercial gaming operations. Key findings include:
- Commercial gaming revenue topped $43.6 billion in 2019, up 3.7 percent from 2018.
- 21 of 25 commercial gaming states experienced year-over-year revenue increases, with Massachusetts (+163.1%), New Jersey (+19.5%), and Arkansas (+15.1%) reporting the largest jumps.
- The industry generated $10.2 billion in gaming taxes for state and local governments, enough to support the annual education cost for 832,000 elementary and secondary school students.
Next Relief Package Stalls on Capitol Hill
Formal negotiations on the next relief package have yet to begin as Senate Republicans continue to take a wait-and-see approach on the economy reopening and continuing implementation of CARES Act programs. Current activity suggests discussions could pick up in late June or early July, however, the timeline could be impacted by several factors including pressure from the Paycheck Protection Program exhausting funds, rising unemployment/expiring unemployment benefits, the start of many State fiscal years (July 1), and finding agreement on liability protection. As we await action on the next package, the AGA continues to stay engaged with our allies in the business community and on the Hill to ensure the legislation reflects our policy priorities including liability protection and expanded tax relief.
Nearly 60 Percent of U.S. Casinos Open
621 casinos across 29 states will be open for business today, 62.8% of the 989 total. This includes 306 commercial casinos (65.8% of total) and 315 tribal properties (60.1% of total). Indiana, Colorado, Ohio, and Maryland are the next states to allow reopening in the coming week.
To prepare for a safe, responsible reopening, casino operators have been rethinking every aspect of the gaming experience and establishing robust protocols to safeguard the health of guests and employees. The AGA’s new Responsibility Reopening Casino Gaming for Employees and Guests resource provides an overview of various practices that gaming companies are implementing to promote a healthy reopening environment.