The American Gaming Association (AGA) released its State of the States 2020 report, providing a final review of the US commercial gaming industry in 2019, along with key financial performance data and other metrics for the 25 commercial gaming operating states.
The headline findings show that revenue from commercial gaming reached $43.6 billion in 2019 , up 3.7 percent from 2018 and the fifth straight year of revenue growth, while 21 out of 25 commercial gaming states experienced year-over-year revenue increases.
The biggest jumps were recorded by Massachusetts (+163.1 percent), New Jersey (+19.5 percent) and Arkansas (+15.1 percent). Meanwhile, the industry as a whole has produced $10.2bn in gaming taxes for state and local governments, enough to cover the annual cost of education for 832,000 elementary and high school students.
The Report sets out in its preamble: “Not only did annual commercial casino revenue hit a new high in 2019, but direct commercial gaming tax revenue generated more than $10bn for state and local governments for the first time ever.
“This is a 4.1% increase from 2018 and does not account for the billions more in sales, income, and other taxes from gaming. The $10.2bn in taxes benefit the states and communities in which casinos operate by funding education initiatives, health insurance programs, infrastructure and economic development projects, responsible gaming programs, and more.”
According to the annual report, the gaming income and tax increases can be partly due to the increased growth of legal sport betting, which 14 states legally introduced in 2019.
Americans wagered more than $13bn in 2019 on sports with legal operators, resulting in US legal operators receiving $908.9 m in revenue from sports betting. This is more than double the 2018 revenue of $430.7 m.
In 2019, the top 15 commercial casino markets retained their previous rankings by total gaming revenue, although there was some jostling for places between the 16th and 20th largest markets.
Shreveport / Bossier City overtook the downtown Las Vegas market for 16th largest market. In the meantime the region of Pittsburgh / Meadowlands surpassed New Orleans for the list ‘s 19th position.
Putting the estimates for 2019 in perspective with the current pandemic, AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said: “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. US commercial gaming revenue was up 10.6% 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.
“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.”