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US Commercial Gambling Revenues – Best February ever

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On Tuesday the American Gaming Association (AGA) updated its Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker with the latest numbers which covered February. The month showed continued growth for 2022 and actually set a record for the highest-grossing month 2 on record. Sustained growth in sports betting and iGaming along with continued growth in slots revenues were the main drivers of the record numbers.

The last full month of pre-pandemic casino operations was February 2020 and this year’s numbers were up 16.1% from that month at $4.39 billion. This year’s monthly revenues for the month eclipsed the shutdown month of February 2021 by 35.9%.

While already known by other metrics, February also marked the first-ever 12 months in a row of American gaming with $4b or more in revenues.

The previous first two-month record for revenues was set in 2020 and at $8.92 billion in commercial gaming revenue for 2022 the new record beat the old one by nearly twenty percent. The worst month on record was April 2020 when virtually all terrestrial casinos in the US were shuttered for health concerns.

Few States Still Lagging

Rhode Island, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are the only states still lagging February 2020 revenues. The Revenue Tracker report noted that Rhode Island’s numbers reflected the highly competitive New England market after the opening of Encore Boston Harbor in the summer of 2019. Kansas commercial gambling is only a few years old and a new tribal gaming center opened near the state’s largest commercial casino drawing dollars away.

Destination markets like Las Vegas have seen lower visitation numbers but still, produce revenues. Compared to February 2020, Las Vegas visits contracted by over 21% this year but were still nearly 70% higher than they were a year ago.

Only five states report average revenue per visitor and it is up about 34.2% in 2022 over 2020 which explains the increased revenues in light of lower visitation numbers in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, and Mississippi.

Sports betting and iGaming continued to grow but sports numbers were throttled somewhat by a lack of sporting events on the calendar. Last year there were 20 commercial sports betting markets in the United States and this February sports betting was regulated in 26 markets. Licensed online and land-based sportsbetting generated revenue of $324.6 million, up over 40% from last year.

Sports and iGaming revenues combined accounted for 15.9% of all commercial gambling revenue in February marking a month with the lowest share of the revue since August 2021.

Unbroken Streak of Broken Records

In the third quarter of last year, commercial gambling broke all records in the United States with revenues of $13.89 billion. It was the second consecutive quarter of record-breaking numbers. Unsurprisingly, Q4 broke that record again with $14.31 billion bringing the year’s take at casinos to a staggering $53 billion for 2021.

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said at the time, “These results are nothing short of remarkable. The success of 2021 reflects our commitment to health and safety and how Americans have welcomed gaming’s expansion across the country. Today’s industry is effectively meeting customers how and where they want to engage—whether at a casino or through mobile gaming.

The AGA’s “State of Play” map (see here) counts 981 casinos in America creating an economic impact of $261.36 billion and supporting 1.8 million jobs. The total tax impact and Tribal revenue share for 2021 were $40.79 billion.

Source: AGA Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, American Gaming Association, April 5, 2022