AGA: 2024 Looks Promising For U.S. Commercial Gaming Operators

AGA: 2024 Looks Promising For U.S. Commercial Gaming Operators

For the third straight year, the U.S. commercial gaming operators produced record revenues, the American Gaming Association said Tuesday as its leaders gave an update on the industry.

Last year, brick-and-mortar casinos and sportsbooks, as well as their legal online sportsbooks and casino counterparts in 35 states and the District of Columbia, generated $66.52 billion. That was up 10% from 2022. Online sports betting, available in 28 states in D.C. last year, accounted for nearly $11 billion of that revenue, and iGaming operators in six states were responsible for almost $6.2 billion. That means that the online segment produced more than 25% of the U.S. gaming revenue, according to the report at the American Gaming Association website.

Those figures will go up slightly as Kentucky and Arizona report their final numbers for the year. AGA Vice President of Research David Forman noted that growth is the equivalent of the industry adding another New Jersey or Pennsylvania, two of the top gaming states in the country.

“As we move into 2024, I think there is some optimism but some realization that we’re not going to continue to have record growth every year,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller added. “But we are starting to see a greater level of stabilization, at least on interest rates and inflation, and so from a discretionary income perspective, Americans are still pretty bullish in terms of their consumer spend.”

Casinos and sportsbooks weren’t the only ones to benefit from yet another record year. State and local governments reaped more than $14.2 billion in gaming taxes during 2023, up 9.7% from the previous year.

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Commercial Gaming Growth Opportunities In 2024

Miller added the outlook for gaming in 2024 looks rosier than it did a year ago, but the industry wound up defying expectations to keep the record streak going.

“In 2024, we will build on this momentum,” he said. “Our reputation and popularity continue to accelerate growth and performance. Nine-in-10 Americans believe that casino gaming is acceptable for themselves or for others. This level of support has been consistent for the past decade.”

Growth in 2024 should come from states such as North Carolina, where online sports betting will launch in less than three weeks. In addition, New York might see three new casino licenses awarded by the end of the year – and the Empire State already is the leader in legal sports betting apps handle and revenue. Plus, states such as Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi and Missouri are discussing whether to expand their gaming options.

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Brick-And-Mortar Still Going Strong In Most States

It wasn’t just online gaming fueling growth in the U.S. market last year. The AGA reported brick-and-mortar commercial casinos reported revenues of $49.4 billion for the year, an increase of more than 3.3%, and both table games and slots posted records in 2023.

Broken down by state, 19 of the 27 states with commercial casinos saw operator revenues increase. The biggest was Illinois, which is in the midst of a commercial casino expansion. Its gaming venues reported a 13% increase. Arkansas, another state that recently expanded casino gaming, reported revenues growing by nearly 9%.

On the other end of the spectrum, Indiana, Illinois’ neighbor to the east, saw its casino revenues drop by 3.4%, the largest decline in the country. Maryland was just ahead at 3.3%, with Mississippi also seeing casino proceeds fall by at least 3% from 2022.

Though it wasn’t a record, casino visitation rose for the second straight year, from 34% of American adults in 2022 to 41% last year, with the trendline nearing the record of 44% that was set in both 2014 and 2019. In addition, casino visitors are getting younger. The average age of a patron in 2023 was 42 years old, compared to nearly 50 in 2019.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters. He shares his expertise on US Betting Report, among other sites.