AGA's Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker

US gaming revenue's first 8 months beat 2019 records, 6th consecutive month above $4.4B

Bill Miller, AGA's CEO and President, at G2E 2021 in Las Vegas.
2021-10-18
Reading time 2:50 min
Combined revenue from traditional casino gaming, sports betting, and iGaming reached $4.44 billion in August, up 19% from 2019. Casinos benefited from strong summer travel and a favorable calendar with two extra weekend days compared to 2019. After the first 8 months of 2021, 19 of 25 commercial gaming states are tracking ahead of 2019 gaming revenue levels. The period of March through August makes it the industry’s six highest-grossing gaming months ever.

The U.S. gaming industry’s record-setting pace continued into August, reports the American Gaming Association (AGA). According to AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, combined revenue from traditional casino gaming, sports betting, and iGaming reached $4.44 billion, up 19% from August 2019

The tracker, which features state-by-state and nationwide financial performance data, found casinos benefited from robust summer travel and a favorable calendar with two extra weekend days compared to 2019. After the first eight months of 2021, 19 of 25 commercial gaming states are tracking ahead of 2019 gaming revenue levels.

Even though the month saw revenue down 9.8% from July’s record of $4.92 billion, with declines in both traditional and sports betting revenue, August still represented a favorable month for the U.S. industry. Moreover, it marked the sixth consecutive month with more than $4.4 billion in commercial gaming revenue.

Having overcome a slow start to the year, now the period of March through August make it the industry’s six highest-grossing gaming months ever. Through August, total 2021 gaming revenue stands at $34.15 billion, surpassing the $29.98 billion generated in 2020 and 18% ahead of the same period in 2019.

Gaming revenue grew in 20 of 25 states compared to August 2019, said AGA in its report. Four states saw modest revenue declines —Kansas (-8.3%), Oklahoma (-4.7%), Rhode Island (-4.5%), and West Virginia (-5.0%)—, while Louisiana dropped 28.2% as Hurricane Ida forced many state’s southeastern casinos to close operations toward the end of the month.

Traditional casino gaming posted total revenue of $3.92 billion. This figure is up 8% from August 2019, and slot revenue is expanding at a faster rate (+14.1%) than table game revenue (+1.1%). At the state level, AGA found brick-and-mortar casino revenue up from 2019 in 17 of 25 states.

The first eight months of 2021 found traditional casino games generating $29.48 billion. This marks an increase of 4.3% from the same period in 2019, a growth that comes even with traditional gaming revenue dropping 9.9% from July to August 2021.

Average traditional gaming revenue per admission continued to exceed pre-pandemic levels in August. Available data from four states —Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and Missouri— shows monthly casino win per visitor was up between 20.5% and 34.4% from August 2019.

Breaking down figures by vertical shows that iGaming revenue in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Michigan was flat compared to July, at $304.6 billion. The continued summer lull in the sports calendar limited handle to $3.06 billion: sportsbooks generated $217.3 million in revenue, the lowest month of 2021, although still up 68% versus 2020. Combined revenue from sports betting and iGaming accounted for 11.7% of total U.S. commercial gaming revenue in August, unchanged from the previous month.

Resulting from the ongoing positive figures shown throughout the year so far, AGA members are optimistic about the future of the industry. Half of gaming CEOs expect business recovery to continue in 2022, says the association.

In its newly launched Gaming CEO Outlook, AGA found respondents anticipating increases in new hiring, wage growth and capital investment. However, CEOs also showed concern over supply chain issues, labor force shortages, consumer health concerns and lagging meetings and events demand.

On the whole, CEOs assessed the current gaming business climate positively, with plans to increase investments during the next year. “AGA’s inaugural Gaming CEO Outlook reflects the strength of our recovery and consumer demand for our world-class entertainment offerings,” said Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO. “The promising outlook is built on our innovation, but like many industries, supply chain and worker shortages continue to slow our full recovery.”

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