Commercial Gaming Industry Sees Record Revenue, 3.7% Growth in 2019
Gaming’s Continued Success, Rebound from COVID-19 Essential to U.S. Economy and Communities
WASHINGTON – U.S. commercial casino gaming industry revenue topped $43.6 billion in 2019, up 3.7 percent from 2018, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) annual State of the States report.
In stark contrast to the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the industry, 2019 further solidified gaming’s role as a vital economic engine for states and local communities:
- 2019 marked the fifth consecutive year of commercial gaming revenue growth, helped in part by the expansion of legal sports betting.
- 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.
- This is a 4.1 percent increase from 2018 and does not account for the billions more in sales, income, and other taxes from gaming that benefit communities.
“The results from 2019 reflect the continued mainstreaming of casino gaming and increased access to legal, regulated gaming options for Americans all across the country,” said Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO. “Today’s economic realities were hard to imagine even a few short months ago as, ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to continue this trend of remarkable growth for the industry.”
By the end of 2019, 20 states plus the District of Columbia legalized sports betting, Americans reported record levels of support for the gaming industry, and nearly half said they planned to visit a casino over the next year. Early signs pointed to this success continuing in 2020. In the first two months of this year, U.S. commercial gaming revenue was up 10.6 percent over the same period last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed that outlook. In a matter of weeks, all 989 commercial and tribal properties across the U.S. closed their doors, sports betting froze as professional sports leagues suspended play worldwide, and casino suppliers saw business evaporate.
Through research conducted in April 2020, AGA member company executives, including commercial and tribal operator and supplier CEOs and CFOs, estimated a revenue decline of slightly more than 40 percent in 2020, and a lengthy timetable for recovery of up to two years.
“The American gaming industry has proven time and again that we are resilient,” Miller continued. “Through natural disasters, human tragedy, and economic downturns, we have always rallied around each other and our communities, ensuring we not only recover, but thrive. American gaming can and will recover to regain the momentum that carried through 2019. State and local economies rely on it.”
About the Report
AGA’s annual State of the States report details the commercial gaming industry’s financial performance, including analyses of each of the 25 states with commercial gaming operations. The report, developed with VIXIO GamblingCompliance, also provides a breakdown of the legality of types of gaming and number of casinos by state, summarizes major gaming policy discussions, and previews opportunities and challenges for the industry. The companion State of Play map provides the report findings in an easy-to-use, interactive tool.
- State of the States is a reference guide focusing on the commercial casino sector. Tribal casinos are subject to different reporting requirements and timelines. According to the most recently available data from the National Indian Gaming Commission, the tribal gaming sector’s revenue reached $33.7 billion in 2018.
- The AGA’s COVID-19 casino tracker lists the reopening status of all of 989 U.S. casinos. Currently, 621 of 989 casinos are open.
- Find more information on the gaming industry’s road to recovery on the AGA’s COVID-19 resource page.