U.S. commercial gaming posted the third-highest grossing month of all time in July, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. Gaming revenue reached $5.06 billion in July, a year-over-year increase of 2.8%. Additionally, the month marks the fourth in the past five with gaming revenue surpassing $5 billion.
The AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker provides monthly and quarterly state-by-state and nationwide insight into the U.S. commercial gaming industry’s financial performance. The association’s report for July shows revenue jumped 8% sequentially, driven by an 8.6% increase in land-based gaming from June. Meanwhile, revenue from sports betting and online gaming gained 7.9% and 1.2% respectively.
“Despite a demanding macroeconomic environment and persistent concerns about the health of U.S. consumer budgets, the commercial gaming industry is well positioned for a second consecutive record-setting year,” AGA says. Through July, commercial gaming revenue reached $34.27 billion, a 15.5% increase from the same period in 2021.
While national gaming revenue growth has slowed significantly since the late spring –due to more difficult annual comparisons, higher gas prices and increasing interest rates– this has not resulted in a steep drop-off in gaming revenue. “The gaming industry has repeatedly weathered high gas prices over the past two decades and although higher interest rates and inflation are impacting operator costs, it does not yet appear to be driving dramatic changes to gaming consumer behavior,” the association’s report for July reads.
According to the Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, 21 of 31 commercial gaming states that were operational a year ago saw gaming revenue growth from July 2021. After the first seven months of 2022, just four jurisdictions remain behind their gaming revenue pace compared to the same period last year: the District of Columbia (-27.8%), Kansas (-0.7%), Mississippi (-4.6%) and South Dakota (-3.2%).
The slowdown in Kansas, Mississippi and South Dakota largely reflects tougher than average comparisons, says AGA. COVID restrictions in the three states were eased earlier in 2021 than they were in most other jurisdictions.
Nationwide, land-based casino slot machines and table games combined for $4.31 billion in July revenue. Although July was the third highest grossing month for traditional gaming revenue, the vertical was down 0.9% versus the same month last year, which AGA says reflects tough comparisons. Slot revenue generated revenue of $3.03 billion, down 1.4%; while table games set a monthly record for the vertical of $966.7 million, up 3.5% year-over-year.
Traffic data shows that the land-based casino sector benefited from the seasonal return of summer travel in July. Las Vegas welcomed 3.5 million visitors, up 5.7% year over year, and the most since casinos reopened in June 2020, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Meanwhile, regional casino visitation was up 11.8% on average in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri from June. Illinois reported nearly 841,000 admissions in July – the highest level in the pandemic era.
Land-based gaming revenue was also helped by the launch of commercial gaming in Virginia, the association notes. The Old Dominion state became America’s 26th casino market with the opening of the temporary Hard Rock Bristol casino on July 8, generating $15.1 million in the first month of partial operations.
At the end of July, year-to-date revenue from land-based casino slot machines and table games stood at $27.97 billion, 9.5% ahead of the same period in 2021. A total of 21 of 25 states saw annual revenue growth from traditional gaming through the first seven months of 2022.
But the gaming momentum can also be seen in other verticals. In July, commercial gaming revenue from sports betting continued to grow on an annual basis. Land-based and online sportsbooks generated a July win of $359.6 million from commercial operations in 25 jurisdictions. This is a 34.5% gain from 2021 when sports betting markets were live across 20 jurisdictions.
Through the first seven months of 2022, commercial sports betting revenue stands at $3.45 billion, an impressive 62.7% ahead of the same period last year. Year-to-date handle is $50.70 billion, tracking 88.3% ahead of 2021.
iGaming figures are also strong. Combined July revenue from online gaming in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia reached $392.4 million in July, increasing 28.3% from the previous year, when iGaming was operational in five states (not including online poker in Nevada). Year-to-date iGaming revenue stands at $2.81 billion, up 41.1% on the same period in 2021.