In stark contrast to the devastating impact COVID-19 is currently having on casinos, 2019 was another top-notch economic year for the domestic gaming industry, with U.S.-based commercial casino revenue topping $43.6 billion, up 3.7 percent from 2018 according to the annual State of the States report produced by the American Gaming Association (AGA).
Other highlights from this record-breaking year for gaming include:
- $43.6 billion generated in commercial gaming revenue in 2019—the fifth-straight year of revenue growth;
- $10.2 billion paid in gaming taxes to state and local governments, with billions more supported in sales, income and other taxes; and
- 21 of 25 commercial gaming states experienced year-over-year revenue increases, with 14 states reporting annual records
Not only did annual commercial casino revenue hit a new high in 2019, but direct commercial gaming tax revenue generated more than $10 billion for state and local governments for the first time ever. This is a 4.1 percent increase from 2018 and does not account for the billions more in sales, income, and other taxes from gaming. The $10.2 billion 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.
The increases in gaming revenue and taxes can be attributed in part to the continued expansion of legal sport betting, which 14 states legally offered in 2019. Americans wagered more than $13 billion on sports with legal operators in 2019, resulting in legal U.S. operators earning $908.9 million in sports betting revenue. This is more than double the $430.7 million revenue in 2018.
In 2019, the top 15 commercial casino markets by total gaming revenue maintained their previous rankings, but there was significant jostling for positions between the 16th and 20th largest markets. The downtown Las Vegas market overtook Shreveport/Bossier City for the 16th largest market.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh/Meadowlands area surpassed New Orleans for the 19th spot on the list.
Twenty-one of the 25 commercial gaming states reported increases in annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) from the previous year. The largest increase came in Massachusetts, reflecting the June opening of the state’s second casino-resort just outside of Boston. The steepest decline came in Louisiana amid expanded competition in neighboring states. Fourteen states—Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Rhode Island—recorded record gaming revenue.
To obtain a copy of this year’s State of the States report, visit www.americangaming.org.