US Casinos Earned Record $43.6bn in Revenue in 2019

  • Commercial casino revenue increased 3.7%  from 2018
  • Only four states saw their casino revenues drop in 2019, all by low single-digits
  • Online casino and poker gambling increased from $301.3m in 2018 to $519.9m last year
  • The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic will likely cause the five-year record revenue streak to be broken
Four Aces on top of money
In its State of the States publication, the American Gaming Association reported that US casinos earned a record $43.6bn in revenue in 2019. [Image:]

Massive annual growth pre-pandemic

The American Gaming Association released its annual State of the States report, revealing that US casinos earned $43.6bn in revenue in 2019. The performance marked the fifth year running that the United States casino industry enjoyed annual revenue growth. The pre-pandemic year saw a 3.7% increase from 2018, reaching a new record high for the industry.

The streak is more than likely going to come to an end when 2020 totals are calculated because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most casinos in the US shut down in mid-March and though more than half have reopened, hundreds are still closed a week into June.

Details of the report

The 120-page State of the States report details the commercial casino sector of the United States for the calendar year. Last year, Arkansas became the 25th state to report a full year of legalized gaming. A total of 20 states had legalized sports betting by the end of 2019.

Sports betting revenues came in at $909m in 2019, double the amount in 2018

Of those 20 states, only 14 had actually launched sports betting operations. Sports betting revenues came in at $909m in 2019, double the amount in 2018. Licensed operators in the US saw more than $13bn in wagers placed last year.

Of the states reporting commercial casino revenues, only four experienced a decline: Missouri, Colorado, Louisiana, and Illinois. The dips were relatively small; none were more than 4%. Several states saw record-high earnings, led by Massachusetts, which enjoyed a 163% revenue boost from 2018. This jump was primarily the result of the opening of the Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor last June.

Nevada topped all states with $12bn in revenue, a 1% increase from 2018. New Jersey leap-frogged Pennsylvania for the second spot with $3.47bn, a 19.5% rise. Pennsylvania brought in $3.38bn in revenue, a 4.1% bump from the previous year.

Online gambling revenues, including poker and casino games, increased 72.6% to $519.9m.  

US casinos hit hard by COVID-19

AGA CEO and president Bill Miller commented that 2020 will be far different than 2019.

continued record-breaking growth to complete shutdown”

Since the record-setting year, the COVID-19 crisis has emerged, greatly impacting casinos. Employees and suppliers have been affected in addition to the casinos themselves. Miller pointed out that within an 11-day period, the commercial casino industry went from “continued record-breaking growth to complete shutdown.”

Miller added: “We will be able to draw on 2019’s strong foundation as the industry rebuilds.”

The CEO reminded readers about how the sector was able to bounce back from the 2008 global economic crisis and will be able to do it again.

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