US commercial casinos earn record $41.7b in 2018


american-gaming-association-us-casinos-2018The US land-based commercial casino sector hit yet another all-time revenue record in 2018, with only two of 24 gaming states not reporting year-on-year growth.

On Tuesday, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released its annual State of the States report, which tracks the performance of the 465 commercial casinos across the US of A. The AGA says total casino gaming revenue hit $41.68b in 2018, a 3.5% improvement over the 2017 report and the fourth straight year of year-on-year growth.

Of the 24 states that had commercial casino operations in 2018, 12 reported record annual revenue in 2018. Only two states – Illinois (-2.4%) and West Virginia (-0.1%) – reported year-on-year declines. State governments’ share of 2018’s record haul was equally record-breaking, rising 31% year-on-year to $9.71b.

Only 18 states separately report slots and table game revenue, but those states broke with tradition by reporting higher year-on-year growth in slots over tables, flipping a script that has held for some time. Slots revenue was up 3.4% in 2018, while tables grew 2.4%.

The growth of legal sports betting following last May’s US Supreme Court ruling helped goose 2018’s revenue total. Seven states legalized single-game wagering last year, boosting the annual haul from wagering to $430.2m from $261.3m in 2017.

Nevada continued to lead all states on the revenue chart with nearly $11.9b (+3%), with runner-up Pennsylvania well off the pace ($3.25b, +0.75%). The rest of the top-five remains a dogfight, led by New Jersey ($2.9b, +9.2%), New York ($2.59b, +10.2%) and Louisiana ($2.56b, +0.01%). Massachusetts posted the year’s biggest improvement (+65.7%) following last August’s opening of MGM Springfield.

Pennsylvania’s reputation as a tax-happy gaming state continued unabated in 2018, with its local government collecting nearly $1.5b (+3.2%) in 2018. Runner-up New York was well back at $1.1b (+7.7%) while Nevada’s more sensible tax regime was third with $850m (-1.9%).

In terms of commercial casino markets, the Las Vegas Strip led the pack with $6.6b, with Atlantic City well back at $2.5b. ‘Chicagoland’ (covering operations on both Illinois and Indiana sides of the border) ranked third with $1.95b, while Baltimore-Washington placed fourth with $1.88b, well ahead of New York City’s $1.45b, thanks to Baltimore-Washington’s 6.4% annual growth following MGM Springfield’s launch.