- Özgür Töre
The commercial casinos in the U.S. won nearly $14 billion in the third quarter of this year, marking the industry's best quarter ever, and pushing U.S. casino revenue past what it was for all of 2020.
The figures from the American Gaming Association, the casino industry's national trade group, show U.S. casinos are poised to have their best year ever in 2021 as more consumers feel comfortable visiting casinos amid the COVID19 pandemic, and as online and sports betting revenues continue to grow.
Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at New Jersey's Stockton University, said that pent-up demand among pandemic-weary customers played a big role in the industry's resurgence as restrictions were lifted.
"The explosive growth of internet gaming during the pandemic engaged a new audience of consumers who may have become curious about brick-and-mortar casinos and the in-person gaming experience," she added. "Encouraged by casino marketing and loyalty programs they may have decided to try something new."
With $38.67 billion in revenue through the first nine months of the year, the industry has already passed revenue generated for the full year 2020 and is on pace to smash its annual record of $43.65 billion, set in 2019.
“Two straight quarters of record gaming revenue is an incredible accomplishment in any context, let alone after the most challenging year in industry history,” stated AGA President and CEO Bill Miller.
“Our recovery is not a flash in the pan, but rather a sustained result of our leadership in responsible reopening, world-class entertainment offerings and widespread favorability.
Traditional gaming continues to drive the industry’s performance, with combined slot and table game setting a new quarterly revenue record of $12.05 billion. After lagging in previous quarters, table game revenue beat its quarterly revenue record by more than 10 percent in Q3 2021.
Ten out of 25 states with commercial casinos saw quarterly revenue records, including the four highest-grossing commercial gaming states in 2019: Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
On the Las Vegas Strip, gaming revenue also hit an all-time high of $2.06 billion. The record was driven, in part, by the steady return of tourism. 9.2 million people visited Las Vegas in Q3 2021, a nearly 10 percent increase over Q2 2021 and the highest quarterly visitation level since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Q3 2021 commercial gaming revenue was bolstered by record iGaming revenue of $938.6 million. Meanwhile, sports betting revenue saw a quarterly low for 2021 of $886.5 million due to a limited end-of-summer sports calendar. Combined sports betting and iGaming revenue through the first nine months of the year sits at $5.36 billion, up more than 200 percent year-over-year.
“With brick-and-mortar gaming setting records, the expansion into new verticals, and domestic and international tourism recovering, the industry is in a strong position for a full recovery,” continued Miller.
“I’m confident that the return of meetings, conventions and international travel will further accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2022.”