Each year, the American Gaming Association releases its “State of the States” report, a comprehensive look at the commercial casino gaming industry in the United States. The report released most recently analyzed data from the 34 jurisdictions in which casino gambling at commercial properties is legal. The data carried through December 31, 2021.

Post-Pandemic Rebound

The primary headline from this year’s 125-page report pertained to the rebound. It was no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on casino revenues in 2020. But as properties began to reopen in 2021, people returned in bigger numbers than ever before.

Absence does, sometimes, make the heart grow fonder.

The last “normal” year of revenue was in 2019, when the industry recorded $43.63B in revenue. That was a new record at the time, as the industry was experiencing growth in many areas. The 2021 number surpassed that one by a significant number by recording $53.03B in revenue. Not only was that an all-time high and new record, it was nearly $10B more than 2019 and a 76.9% increase from the 2020 low.

Post-Pandemic Trends

AGA American Gaming AssociationOne trend that the AGA noticed from 2021 data was that many states showed higher consumer spending despite lower overall visits to casinos. The 2021 number of casino admissions decreased nearly 21% from 2019, though it did increase nearly 42% from 2020.

Casino win increased per casino patron – 11.3% from 2020 and 34.3% from 2019.

For the first time in many years, the average age of casino visitors decreased. The average age had been increasing for years until the pandemic. A younger demographic was the first to return to casinos in late 2020 and into 2021. For 2021, the mean age was 43.6, as compared to 49.6 in 2019.

Sports betting was the biggest game-changer in recent years. Prior to and through the pandemic, more states legalized some form of sports betting, mostly in land-based properties but some online. By the end of 2021, there were 30 states and the District of Columbia with some form of legal sports betting. That market generated $4.33B in 2021 in commercial casinos alone, up nearly 180% from the previous year. Bettors wagered more than $57B on sports in 2021.

Legal internet gaming, including poker and casino games, contributed to overall casino revenue as well. While only seven states offer such online games, they did contribute $3.71B to 2021 commercial casino revenue. That was an increase of nearly 139% from 2020.



Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and the gambling business for nearly 20 years. She first fell for poker when she worked for the World Poker Tour in Los Angeles. She has worked for numerous magazines and websites, which she now does from her St. Louis home.

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