American Gaming Association Says US Commercial Casinos Won Record $40B in 2017

Posted on: August 23, 2018, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: August 23, 2018, 09:59h.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) reports in its annual review of the US gaming industry that commercial casinos won a massive $40.28 billion in 2017.

American Gaming Industry casino revenue
The American Gaming Association says new casinos like MGM National Harbor in Maryland and New York’s Resorts World Catskills helped fuel a record year in the gaming industry. (Image: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/Mid-Hudson News/

That’s a 3.4 percent increase on 2016, and marks the first time the industry has surpassed the $40 billion mark.

“State of the States: The AGA Survey of the Commercial Casino Industry” analyzed gross gambling revenue (GGR) at 460 casinos in all 24 states where legalized commercial gambling takes place.

The lobbying group says 20 of the 24 states saw gaming revenues increase, “reflecting strong macroeconomic trends and sustained job growth in most parts of the country.” Casinos generated more than $9 billion in taxes for state and local governments, a 3.1 percent year-over-year increase.

The study doesn’t consider the nation’s roughly 500 tribal casinos, which the National Indian Gaming Commission says won $32.4 billion last year.

“This year’s report demonstrates the commercial gaming industry’s role as a job creator and revenue generator in states across the country, and we’re proud of the industry’s steady growth over the past few years,” AGA Interim CEO Stacy Papadopoulos said in a release.

Former AGA CEO Geoff Freeman officially departed the gaming group on August 1 for the chief executive role with the Grocery Manufacturers Association. A search for his replacement is ongoing.

Revenue Records

The “State of the States” review determined that 11 states – Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island – all posted record GGR. The report credits new casinos in Maryland and New York for aiding those states in reaching new highs.

The AGA celebrated legislation that continues to expand the gaming industry. “Pennsylvania enacted one of the broadest gaming expansions in recent memory, authorizing internet gaming, new satellite casino properties, and sports betting,” the study detailed.

The economic impact of the commercial gaming industry employed more than 361,000 workers last year, with wages and benefits totaling $17 billion.

Tragedy and Victory

2017 was an extremely hectic and newsworthy year for the gaming industry. Along with widespread expansion of betting activities across the country, the October 1 mass shooting rocked not only Las Vegas, but the entire world.

The American Gaming Association says the response to the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history spoke to Las Vegas and the gaming industry as a whole’s resiliency.

“The city [Las Vegas] emerged from the tragedy stronger than ever before,” the AGA declared. “As Las Vegans bound together in the shooting’s wake, they helped spawn the ‘Vegas Strong’ movement, the viral hashtag which ultimately defined the city’s recovery and resilience.”

As for policy issues, no topic was more monumental than that of sports betting. The AGA was instrumental in lobbying the Supreme Court to accept New Jersey’s appeal that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) violated the US Constitution. The court heard the case in December, and overturned the prohibition in May 2018.

The AGA formed the American Sports Betting Coalition in June 2017, and submitted a 26-page “brief” on PASPA to the Supreme Court ahead of the hearing.