Casinos in the United States have more than rebounded from the deepest shallows of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) reports that commercial casinos experienced their best quarter ever July through September. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the 25 states that have commercial gambling totaled $13.89 billion. That’s a 53.8 percent improvement on Q3 last year, and 24.7 percent better than the same three months in 2019.
The third quarter of 2021 was the best three months in the history of legal commercial gambling in the US. It bested the previous all-time GGR high of $13.6 billion, set just in the second quarter of this year.
Two straight quarters of record gaming revenue is an incredible accomplishment in any context, let alone after the most challenging year in industry history,” declared AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “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.”
The AGA is the gaming industry’s national trade group. Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen is set to assume its board chairmanship in early 2022.
All Verticals Climbing
Gaming’s robust rebound earlier this year was initially fueled by iGaming and mobile sports betting.
The expanded gambling, which largely didn’t exist in prior years, flourished during the pandemic, as Americans were confined to their homes. That momentum has continued, as land-based gaming has returned as well.
Brick-and-mortar slot win is up more than 15 percent on 2019, and revenue from table games is 10 percent better.
Ten of the 25 states with commercial gaming reported record GGR in the third quarter. The Las Vegas Strip also incurred its best three-month period ever, casinos there winning approximately $2.06 billion.
“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,” said Miller. “I’m confident that the return of meetings, conventions, and international travel will further accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2022.”
Nevada led the way in Q3 GGR at $3.68 billion. New Jersey was a distant second at $1.33 billion, and Pennsylvania third at $1.26 billion. New York was fourth at $756 million, and Indiana rounded out the top five at $712.9 million.
Sure Bet: 2021 GGR Record
With three months of gaming revenues to go, the AGA says 2021 will be the best year ever for US casinos. Through three quarters, total win stands at $38.67 billion, which is already better than 2020’s full-year $30 billion haul.
The AGA forecasts that 2021 will easily eclipse the industry’s all-time best GGR year of $43.65 billion, set in 2019.
The industry continues to expand into new markets. Commercial gaming, by way of either new casinos or online sports betting expansion, has recently debuted or is set to soon commence in several states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Virginia, and Wyoming.
The industry’s COVID-19 comeback is nothing short of spectacular. It was only in 2020 that the industry missed out on roughly 45,600 operating days due to state-mandated closures, and tens of thousands of casino resort workers were laid off.
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