Following a record-breaking 2021, U.S. commercial gaming revenue in January reached $4.43 billion, the industry’s fastest-ever start to a year, according to American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker.
The tracker features state-by-state and nationwide financial performance data with breakdowns for individual gaming verticals, and the latest edition released Tuesday includes comparisons to January 2020, as COVID-19 continued to impact the commercial gaming revenue market in January 2021. Combined gaming revenue from traditional casino gaming, sports betting, and iGaming grew by 19.7% from 2020 and was up 29.9% from January 2021.
In a monthly comparison, commercial gaming revenue dropped 3.9% from December 2021. January marked the 11th consecutive month with commercial gaming revenue exceeding $4.4 billion. Prior to 2021, monthly commercial gaming revenue had never surpassed $4 billion.
At the state level, 22 of 27 commercial gaming jurisdictions that were operational in January 2020 saw revenue growth relative to two years ago, with monthly gaming win only contracting in Illinois (-12.8%), Kansas (-12.0%), Maine (-2.3%), Oklahoma (-2.1%), and Rhode Island (-15.5%).
Year-over-year casino visitation trends were mixed across the five regional markets that publish admission data, reflecting the disparate state of reopenings across markets one year ago. While casino admissions dropped compared to January 2021 in Iowa (-7.5%), Missouri (-7.4%) and Mississippi (-9.0%), visits to Louisiana casinos increased by 10.6 percent and Illinois casino visitation jumped by 257.7 percent due to the state’s casinos being closed for most of January 2021. Admissions levels remained down compared to pre-pandemic levels (January 2020) while average gaming revenue from slots and table games per visitor was up across all five states.
Traditional brick-and-mortar gaming drove commercial revenue, with combined slot and table gaming revenue totaling $3.50 billion in January, a 24.1% increase year-over-year but unchanged (0.03%) relative to January 2020. Compared to two years ago, revenue from casino slot games grew by 2.9% while table game revenue was down (-3.5%). Fifteen of 25 states with brick-and-mortar slot machines and/or table games saw traditional gaming revenue growth over the same month in 2020, while revenue was up year-over-year in all but three markets: Delaware (-4.4%), Kansas (-9.5%), and Missouri (-1.2%).
The sports betting and iGaming verticals continued to expand in January, with double- and triple-digit growth compared to 2021 and 2020, respectively. Taken together, revenue from iGaming and sports betting accounted for 21.1% of total commercial gaming revenue in January.
A busy sports calendar, the first full month of retail wagering in Maryland, and the start of mobile betting in Louisiana and New York generated a new record in legal sports betting activity. Nationwide, sports betting handle reached $8.41 billion (excl. figures from AZ and IL that had not been reported at the time of publication), nearly doubling (91.8%) year-over-year and up 11.3% from the previous record set in October 2021. In just its first three weeks of mobile betting, New York, with $1.67 billion in wagers, became the largest sports betting market in the country in January. Sportsbooks generated $538.0 million in revenue across 26 commercial sports betting markets, an increase of 41.8% from January 2021 when sports betting was live in 20 commercial markets.
iGaming generated $399.5 million in January, up 83.6% year-over-year and a new monthly record for the vertical. January 2022 had six active iGaming markets – Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – compared to five one year ago.
In full-year 2021, the U.S. commercial gaming industry saw a new record in 2021 as the highest-grossing year ever, reaching $53 billion in revenue. The total broke 2019’s previous industry record of $43.65 billion by more than 21%.