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New Report Indicates Gaming CEOs Remain Positive About Industry Growth

Written By J.R. Duren | Updated:
Crystal Ball, 2024 With Dollar Symbol

While the country’s economy may be tenuous as experts weigh the possibility of a slowdown, the gaming industry remains positive about what’s ahead for casinos and sports betting in the United States.

According to the latest Outlook Report from the American Gaming Association (AGA), a twice-a-year study in which a panel of senior gaming executives offer their perspective on the future of the US gaming market.

“Despite broader economic uncertainty, [gaming] CEOs are largely upbeat about the current conditions for their businesses and have grown more optimistic about the next six months than they were last fall,” AGA Vice President of Research Dave Forman told PlayUSA in an email.

The Spring 2024 Outlook Report was based on the input of 32 executives from various gaming-related businesses, including land-based commercial, tribal casinos, and online casinos.

Key takeaways:

  • Data indicates the gaming industry’s growth has slowed but is showing positive gains.
  • Executives are concerned that state regulations could work in favor of illegal operators.
  • The US gaming industry is expected to grow moderately over the next six months.

Indexes indicate gaming industry could see modest growth over next six months

The AGA’s outlook reports provide insight into the economic health of the gaming industry by releasing a pair of indexes:

  • Current Conditions Index (CCI): Measures the economic activity of the gaming industry based on revenue, employment, wages and salaries. The AGA adjusts the data from those three areas to account for seasonal changes and inflation.
  • Future Conditions Index (FCI): Measures how the gaming industry will perform over the next six months. This index is based on economic conditions, how likely consumers are to visit casinos and the combined sentiment of the executives who participated in the report.

Both indexes have a baseline of 100. If the index is above 100, growth should happen. If it’s below 100, an economic contraction should occur.

The CCI for Q1 2024 was 102.8, indicating the gaming industry grew in the first three months of the year. Calculated over a year,  the industry’s economic growth in Q1 was 2.8%.

The FCI for Q1 was 102.2, which the AGA noted represents a 2.2% growth rate when calculated for an entire year of economic activity.

Overall, the AGA noted that economic activity slowed in 2023 compared to 2022 and 2021. Despite that, Forman said, gaming execs are ready to do what it takes to grow their businesses.

“Although the pace of gaming revenue growth is expected to slow, CEOs continue to plan to reinvest in their businesses to support the gaming [industry]’s long-term competitiveness as a world-class entertainment option,” Forman said.

Further data from the AGA’s report indicate a mixed bag of sentiment among gaming execs about the next three to six months:

  • Positive about keeping their balance sheets healthy
  • Positive about the pace of wage and benefit growth
  • Negative about the pace of revenue growth
  • Negative about the pace of hiring new employees

Gaming execs express concern over state regulations

Gaming industry executives have concerns about the industry’s restrictiveness of state regulations. Forman noted that state regulatory concerns were the “third-most cited factor” holding back business growth.

Pennsylvania is an excellent example of this principle at play. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit the use of credit cards for online casinos. Proponents of the bill believe it will cut down on problem gambling and keep gamblers out of deeper credit card dead.

And while that may be the case, an industry source noted that pushing consumers away from credit card deposits could push them toward illegal operators that allow credit card deposits.

“As policymakers consider measures that would undermine the competitiveness of the legal gaming market against illegal operators, the threats these proposals pose to the health of the legal market are increasingly top of mind for CEOs,” Forman said.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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