US Commercial Gaming Revenue for 2021 Has Already Surpassed Full-Year Record, Says AGA

  • Total GGR for commercial gaming in 2021 has already passed the record yearly total set in 2019
  • GGR in October this year reached $4.75bn, the second-highest monthly total ever recorded
  • Sports betting and iGaming GGR represented 16% of the total commercial revenue in October
  • Visitor numbers to land-based casinos are still recovering following the pandemic struggles
Rising stacks of coins
US commercial gaming revenue has already surpassed the all-time full-year record that was set in 2019. [Image:]

A record-breaking year

US gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the year-to-date has already surpassed the full-year record set in 2019.

As reported by the American Gaming Association (AGA) on Thursday, the nation’s October GGR reached $4.75bn, a 39% year-on-year rise. This is the second-highest monthly revenue figure of all time. October represented the eighth month in a row that commercial revenue surpassed $4bn. Before 2021, monthly revenue had never broken through the $4bn mark.

commercial gaming revenue reached $43.43bn

For the year until the end of October, commercial gaming revenue reached $43.43bn. The full-year record revenue figure totaled $43.65bn in 2019. With some states already reporting their November revenue figures, the AGA has confirmed that commercial GGR for 2021 has now already officially passed the 2019 full-year total.

A successful October

In October’s figures, slot machine GGR totaled $2.84bn, a 31% year-on-year rise. Meanwhile, table game revenue increased 48% to $831.2m. Sports betting also continues to grow across the country as more states launch legalized offerings. In October 2021, wagering GGR was $407.7m while iGaming GGR reached $347.3m. These represented 44% and 129% increases from 2020, respectively.

For the month, total betting handle across the 25 markets with commercial sports wagering reached a record $7.05bn. Combined revenue from iGaming and sports betting represented 16% of the total commercial gaming revenue figure in October.

When compared to October 2019, 24 of the 25 jurisdictions that had commercial gaming on offer in both periods saw growth in 2021. The only outlier was New Mexico, with revenue remaining flat. For the year up until the end of October, 14 of the 25 states had higher land-based casino revenue figures than 2019.

COVID-19 restrictions were still in place in numerous states during the first half of this year, accounting for some casino revenue declines.

An ongoing recovery

Despite experiencing a difficult year in 2020, many commercial casinos are on track for record-breaking yearly revenue totals in 2021. While overall casino admission figures are still below pre-pandemic levels across regional markets, Las Vegas is seeing visitors return in stronger numbers. In October, it welcomed a pandemic record of 3.4 million visitors.

pandemic recovery appears well on track

Despite visitor numbers remaining down, the pandemic recovery appears well on track for gambling operators. Sports betting and iGaming growth has helped gaming revenue improve even with falling visitor numbers to land-based facilities.

The AGA expects conventions and meetings to rebound in 2022, which would greatly benefit land-based casinos. Domestic and international tourism figures have also seen an uptick in recent months.

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