ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Inflation may be soaring, supply chains are still in disarray, and the coronavirus isn’t going away, but America’s casinos are humming along with March having their best month on record.
U.S. commercial casinos won more than $5.3 billion from gamblers in March, the best monthly total ever, the American Gaming Association, the gaming industry’s national trade group, said Wednesday. The last record month was July 2021 at $4.92 billion.
Those casinos also had their best first quarter ever, just shy of the $14.35 billion won from gamblers in the fourth quarter of last year, the highest three-month period on record.
Three states set quarterly revenue records to start the year: Arkansas ($147.4 million); Florida ($182 million) and New York ($996.6 million).
The numbers exclude tribal casinos, which report their revenue separately and are expected to report similarly positive results.
But while the national casino economy is doing well, there are also areas where it’s sluggish, like Atlantic City, where brick-and-mortar casino revenue has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.
“Consumers continue to seek entertainment options for gaming in record numbers,” said Bill Miller, the association’s president and CEO. He said the strong start to 2022 came “despite continued headwinds from the impact of supply chain constraints, labor shortages and soaring inflation”.
The trade group also released its annual State of the Union report on Wednesday, examining the performance of gambling across the country.
As previously reported, casino revenue nationwide hit an all-time high of $53.03 billion in 2021, up 21 percent from 2019, the previous best year before the coronavirus pandemic.
But the report included new details, including a record $11.69 billion in direct gambling taxes paid by commercial casinos to state and local governments in 2021. This is a 75% increase from 2020 and a 15% increase from 2019. This does not include billions of dollars. Income, sales and other taxes were paid, the association said.
It also ranks the largest casino markets in the U.S. in terms of 2021 revenue:
The Las Vegas Strip tops the list with $7.05 billion, followed by: Atlantic City ($2.57 billion); Chicago area ($2.01 billion); Baltimore-Washington, D.C. ($2.0 billion); Gulf Coast ($1.61 billion) ); New York City ($1.46 billion); Philadelphia ($1.4 billion); Detroit ($1.29 billion); St. Louis ($1.03 billion); and the Boulder Strip, Nevada ($967 million).
The association divides Pennsylvania casinos into three separate markets: Philadelphia, Poconos and Pittsburgh. If judged as a single entity, their combined revenue of nearly $2.88 billion would make them the second largest market in the country. It also treats downtown Las Vegas and its $731 million in revenue as a separate market.
In 2021, seven other states legalized sports betting, and two more states added Internet gaming.
The group reported that gamblers in many states were spending more at casinos while visiting fewer people than before the pandemic in 2019.
The average age of casino patrons was 43 1/2 last year, compared to 49 1/2 in 2019.
Americans bet $57.7 billion on sports last year, more than double what they did in 2020. This generated $4.33 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 180% over 2020.
Internet gambling revenue reached $3.71 billion last year, with New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan all generating more than $1 billion in online gaming revenue. West Virginia’s Internet gambling market generated $60.9 million in full-year revenue in its first year of operation, while Connecticut’s two Internet casinos brought in $47.6 million when they launched in October.
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