Commercial casino gaming revenues rose for the second consecutive year in 2011, continuing the recovery that began in 2010, according to a national economic impact study released last month by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The annual State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment shows national gross gaming revenues increased by 3 percent from 2010 figures (when revenues rose just less than 1 percent) to a total of $35.64 billion in 2011. The report also includes a survey that found continued strong support of the industry among gaming community leaders.

“These positive 2011 economic figures are welcome news to our industry, our employees, and the communities where we operate,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the AGA, in a prepared statement. “While the recovery is ongoing and the commercial casino industry is not monolithic, the data paint an optimistic picture.”

The gaming industry demonstrated significant growth in many states. For example, the first full year of operations at Maryland’s inaugural casino in Perryville and the opening of its second property in Berlin led to the collection of four times the amount of gaming revenue in 2011 as was collected in 2010. Similarly, Pennsylvania gaming revenue increased by more than 21 percent in 2011, while Nevada, which was hit hard by the economic recession, had a 2.9 percent increase in gaming revenue and more than one million more visitors last year than in 2010.

The new edition of State of the States also reported that in 2011 the industry directly employed more than 339,000 people who earned $12.9 billion in wages, tips and benefits.

In addition, commercial casinos contributed $7.93 billion in tax revenues to gaming communities across the country-4.5 percent more than in 2010.