Commercial gaming revenue in the U.S. has surpassed — or will any day now — the record $43.7 billion in such revenue set in 2019.
If the monthly average of $4.3 billion was maintained in October, that would boost the yearly figure to $43 billion, meaning the 2019 mark may already have fallen as of the date of the AGA’s third-quarter announcement. The fourth-quarter and full-year numbers will be published in early 2022.
Both the second and third quarters of 2021 have set new highs, as virtually all casinos in the U.S. have fully reopened — many with COVID-19 precautions that gamblers appear to have accepted.
“Two straight quarters of record gaming revenue is an incredible accomplishment in any context, let alone after the most challenging year in industry history,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said in a statement. “Our recovery is not a flash in the pan, but rather a sustained result of our leadership in responsible reopening, world-class entertainment offerings, and widespread favorability.”
Which states are market leaders?
Perennial market leader Nevada led the way in the third quarter at $3.68 billion in revenue, followed by New Jersey ($1.33 billion), Pennsylvania ($1.27 billion), New York ($750 million), and Indiana ($720 million). Others to clear the $500 million hurdle were Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Louisiana, and Maryland.
Ten out of 25 states with commercial casinos set quarterly revenue records, including the four highest-grossing commercial gaming states in 2019: Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Only Louisiana and Kansas had revenue declines in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in “normal” 2019.
Brick-and-mortar casinos churned out $12.1 billion in the third quarter, with the online version of that gambling at $940 million and sports betting at $890 million off a typically slow quarter for bettors.
Sports betting revenue so far in 2021 has been triple the number generated in the first nine months of 2020, while licensed online casinos were up 1½ times in that span.
Gaming revenue on the Las Vegas Strip, meanwhile, hit an all-time high of $2.06 billion for the quarter. The record was driven, in part, by the steady return of tourism. Approximately 9.2 million people visited Las Vegas in Q3 2021, a nearly 10% increase over Q2 2021 and the highest quarterly visitation level since the outbreak of COVID-19.
A total of 32 states plus the District of Columbia offered legal commercial casinos, iGaming, and/or sports betting in the third quarter.
“With brick-and-mortar gaming setting records, the expansion into new verticals, and domestic and international tourism recovering, the industry is in a strong position for a full recovery,” Miller added. “I’m confident that the return of meetings, conventions, and international travel will further accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2022.”