We Aren’t Far Off From US Casinos Taking In $100 Billion A Year

Written By Martin Derbyshire on October 16, 2017 - Last Updated on July 6, 2022
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When it comes to gambling, apparently Americans can’t get enough. In fact, US commercial casinos are on pace to post record revenue numbers this year.

According to the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research United States Commercial Casino Gaming: Monthly Revenues report, commercial casinos across the US posted more than $3.4 billion in revenues in August 2017. That represents a 4.4 percent jump over the same month last year.

Year-to-date commercial casino revenues up

The August revenue number was down from the $3.675 billion in revenue reported in the traditionally strong month of July. However, year-to-date figures indicate it could be a banner year for the commercial casino industry in the US.

In fact, from Jan. 1, 2017 through Aug. 31, 2017, commercial casinos in the US have reported more than $28 billion in revenue. That number represents a sizable 16.63 percent jump over the same period in 2016.

According to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, the US commercial casino industry posted $40.5 billion in revenue in 2016. Now, more than half way through 2017, it’s numbers indicate Americans are gambling at record rates.

Revenue doesn’t tell the whole story

Plus, the UNLV Center for Gaming Research numbers don’t tell the whole story. The commercial gaming monthly revenues report is the best source for US commercial casino revenue figures. However, it is limited to the information it gathers from state regulatory bodies releasing it.

Meanwhile, report authors have been unable to procure data from commercial casinos in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. As a result, the report underestimates total national casino revenues.

Also missing are revenue numbers from almost 500 Native American casinos in 28 states across the country. According to the National Indian Gaming Commission, Native American casinos reported another $31.2 billion in gross gaming revenues in 2016.

The online gambling equation

New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have legal and regulated online gambling. But, since Delaware is so small, and Nevada only licenses online poker sites, only New Jersey is reporting any significant online casino revenue numbers. In September, New Jersey marked its seventh month in a row with internet gaming revenues above $20 million. In fact, the online gambling industry in New Jersey appears on pace to break the $196.7 million revenue record it set in 2016 by a fairly wide margin.

There’s no telling how much Americans outside New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are gambling on the many offshore online casino operations willing to take their money.

Extrapolating the current New Jersey data based on population size, the approximately 310 million Americans who live outside of states that have legalized and regulated online gambling could  generate as much as $680 million a month in revenue for online casino operators. Conservatively using New Jersey’s 2016 online gambling revenue figures, these states could be generating as much as $1.16 billion in online casino revenues annually.

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A casino industry boom

That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated $72 billion in total revenue the US casino industry, including commercial, Native American and online casinos, are pulling in annually.

The state of New York just opened up its first three commercial casinos over the past year. The fourth and largest scheduled to open in 2018. Massachusetts opened its first commercial casino in 2015. Two huge casino resorts are also under construction, MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor.

From coast to coast, existing casinos are renovating and expanding. The casino business is booming, and it’s heading online as well. States like Pennsylvania and Michigan appear poised to be the next to enact online gambling legislation. Illinois online gambling is even a possibility.

This industry was once relegated to just the brick and mortar operations in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Now, it’s easy to be bullish on the prospects of the US casino business. As long as Americans keep showing that seemingly insatiable appetite for all things gambling.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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