Casinos, Poker and Sportsbooks - A Look Into US Gambling Growth In 2021
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Casinos, Poker and Sportsbooks - A Look Into US Gambling Growth In 2021

Casinos, Poker and Sportsbooks - A Look Into US Gambling Growth In 2021

Gambling is big business in the United States. Statistics show that 2021 is on pace to set a new annual record for gambling revenue. In this article, we will take a look at the numbers, and explore what trends are developing in all forms of gambling currently accepted in the United States.

 

The Numbers

The second quarter of 2021 set a new industry record of $13.6 billion. That is according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). The group also states that the revenue collected from the states where gambling is legal is up 22 percent from the previous record. That was in the third quarter of 2019 when revenues totaled $11.1 billion. It is important to note that the pandemic has had a huge impact on the gambling industry with widespread closures and capacity limits throughout most of 2020 so stats provided by the AGA typically compare 2021 to 2019. For example, the year-end total for 2019 saw gambling revenue hit a record $43.6 billion. With a fast post-pandemic casino closure recovery underway, estimates put the 2021 year-end total at over $44 billion in gambling revenue. Should that happen, 2021 would become the highest-grossing year in the history of legal gambling in the United States. 

In the words of the President and CEO of the AGA, Bill Miller, “The gaming industry is on its way back.” This is verified from data that shows 22 out of 25 states with casinos reporting that revenues are up in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Plus, 19 of those 25 states saw more revenue in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same three-month period in 2019. As for the numbers from individual states, Nevada led the way in the second quarter of 2021 with gambling revenue totaling $3.46 billion. That’s up 17% from the same period in 2019. In second was Pennsylvania with $1.21 billion, an increase of 44.6%, with New Jersey third with $1.11 billion, 35.5% more than the same period in 2019. Here are the details on key trends in 10 states for further information.

 

Casinos And Poker Lead Nevada’s Totals 

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) indicates that the gambling industry in Nevada has taken off and is setting records post-pandemic closures. The state set a four-month record in June 2021 when gambling revenues for the month totaled $1.2 billion making that the fourth consecutive billion-dollar month. The June total was also 14.6% better than June 2019 and the second-quarter total of $3.46 billion was the highest quarterly gambling revenue total in Nevada’s history. This shows that casinos are still popular destinations but the NGCB says convention business and international travel are two key elements that will produce a complete recovery. However, until this happens, the agency states that American gamblers are spending enough to keep the industry active. They point to casino data from the Las Vegas Strip that shows gambling revenue totaling $1.79 billion from the second quarter of 2021 was the third-highest period of all time. It is also an increase of 8.3% from the same period in 2019. However, revenues on The Strip are down 11% from 2019 totals which is an indication of a need for increased tourism.

 

Sports Betting and iGaming Has Helped 

Although in-person gambling is keeping casinos busy and contributing to the gambling industry recovery, mobile sports betting and iGaming are making an impact. iGaming includes such online activities as playing digital poker, slots, or other online casino activities. Currently, iGaming is only legal in six states but the interest in mobile gambling is increasing. The second quarter of 2021 saw mobile gambling revenue reach a record-setting high of $901 million, up 15% from the first quarter of the year. So far, in the first six months of 2021, iGaming generated $1.66 billion in gambling revenue which is more than the entire 2020 total of $1.55 billion.

Sports betting is legal in 22 states, plus Washington, DC, and is also showing signs of great interest. A total of $889 million in gambling revenue was recorded from sports betting in the second quarter of 2021, down from the first three months of the year but up 650% from the second quarter of 2019. Part of that jump has been attributed to the addition of ten more states that have legalized sports betting since 2019. The growth in the sports betting industry has also produced several deals and partnerships with sports icons, sports betting app companies, and even sports product manufacturers. They all see potential in the reach that this emerging gambling market has in key age demographics.

 

What The Future Holds 

Well, it is safe to say that the pandemic is far from over. With people still contracting COVID-19 and the threat of the Delta variant, the gambling industry is still vulnerable. The AGA’s Miller acknowledges that. “In any other environment, these quarterly numbers would be a victory lap but there are still a few missing pieces to the puzzle. A full recovery requires the meaningful return of meetings and events, as well as the revival of international travel.” He adds, “It requires everyone working together to move beyond the realities of the past year, and the Delta variant has reminded us that we’re not there yet.”

 

Final Thoughts

The return of football to the sports betting calendar is going to impact the last half of 2021. With the record-setting gambling activity in the first six months of the year showing such promise, and projections pointing to an all-time industry record for this year, something serious has to happen to derail this train. Even without international travel, Americans are visiting casinos regularly, in-person or online, and that is what will assist the industry in recovering completely.

As technology continues to evolve, there is no way of knowing how that is going to influence iGaming other than enhancing what is already available. It is safe to say that gambling is going to keep expanding and reaching more people. With a long list of states lining up to legalize some forms of gambling, the numbers for 2021 are going to be a benchmark for the future of gambling in the US.


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