Gaming CEOs Positive on Current Business Conditions, Neutral on Future Outlook
Many Expect Improving Balance Sheets and Continued Capital Investment Against Backdrop of Slowing Revenue Growth
Washington, D.C. – Gaming executives remain upbeat about current business conditions with a neutral outlook on future conditions, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Gaming Industry Outlook presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings.
The overwhelming majority of gaming executives surveyed view the current business situation as good (42%) or satisfactory (55%), moderating from Q1 when 62 percent reported good conditions and 35 percent described them as satisfactory. When asked about future business conditions, more than half expect the next three to six months to be about the same (58%), with the remainder almost evenly split between those who anticipate better or worse conditions (3% net positive).
“The significant expansion and record demand for legal, regulated gaming in the post-pandemic era have allowed our members to consistently invest in our product and people to deliver innovative entertainment options for American adults,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Gaming CEOs remain focused on delivering world class entertainment options against the backdrop of broader economic uncertainty.”
Current Conditions Index
The Current Conditions Index measured 100.6, reflecting slight growth of 0.6 percent in casino gaming-related economic activity in Q3 2023 relative Q2 2023. Because gaming revenue and employee wages are adjusted for inflation, the Current Conditions Index was tempered by persistent high inflation through Q3 2023.
Future Conditions Index
The Future Conditions Index stands at 99.6, indicating annualized industry economic activity over the next six months is expected to decrease slightly. This outlook reflects Oxford Economics’ forecast that the U.S. economy will experience a mild recession beginning in Q4 2023. However, even with an anticipated slow down in consumer spending, consumer survey results continue to indicate that more than one-third of adults expect to visit a casino during the next 12 months, consistent with prior quarter results.
Gaming Executive Panel
Executive views on future financial conditions are mixed. On balance, respondents expect that their overall balance sheet health will improve (26% net positive) over the next three to six months and that their pace of capital spending will increase (24% net positive). However, on net, they expect the pace of revenue growth to decrease (13% net negative responses) and describe access to credit as somewhat restrictive.
At the sector level, gaming supplier CEOs broadly expect the pace of unit sales to increase through the end of the year while many operator CEOs plan to increase capital investments in their food and beverage offerings.
- Casino operators expect gaming units in operation to increase (11% net positive), while 67 percent expect greater than normal investments in food and beverage and 33 percent expect greater than normal capital spending on gaming machines.
- Gaming equipment manufacturers expect units for new or expansion use to increase (44% net positive), with an equal share expecting sales of gaming units for replacement use to increase.
When asked about top business challenges, 58 percent of executives cited inflation or interest rate concerns as factors limiting operations, followed by overall uncertainty of the economic environment (55%).
About the Outlook
The AGA Gaming Industry Outlook is presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings and prepared biannually by Oxford Economics. It provides a timely measure of recent industry growth and future expectations. The Q3 2023 survey was conducted between August 28 – September 6, 2023. A total of 33 executives responded, including executives at the major international and domestic gaming companies, tribal gaming operators, single-unit casino operators, major gaming equipment suppliers, and major iGaming and/or sports betting operators.