U.S. Casino Expansion

There have been a lot of new casino openings across the U.S., and overall, revenues are accelerating. (Image source: Indian Country Today)

If you’re in the United States these days, chances are you aren’t too far away from at least one casino. It’s no secret that there’s been massive casino expansion all across the country over the last decade, as more and more states have wanted to cash in on the potential revenue streams that brick-and-mortar gambling can bring. And according to the latest reports, that tactic seems to be working for most of them.

The 2013-2014 North American Gaming Almanac was released this week, bringing more specifics of actual numbers to light. The annual report on the nation’s gaming industry includes a state-by-state breakdown of the revenues each state brings in from gambling, including how those figures have changed over time.

Nevada Not Soaring

For most states, according to the report, the news is great – though you might not know that if you started by looking at Las Vegas. In Nevada, gambling revenues stood at $9.8 billion in 2000, but after rising for several years, they took a hit following the 2008 recession. That means that in 2011, Nevada was once again bringing in – you guessed it — $9.8 billion from gambling. New numbers for Nevada do look more promising, though, with the state recording a 7.4 percent increase in year-over-year revenues in September, according to the state Gaming Control Board.

For other states, the introduction or expansion of gambling venues has paid great dividends. Take the state of New York, which is considering a round of commercial casino expansion at the polls this year. In 2000, New York took in $2.7 billion from casinos. That number was up to $5.3 billion in 2011 – the last year of complete figures included in the North American Gaming Almanac – and is expected to be even higher now. Since 2011, New York has opened the very profitable Aqueduct casino in Queens, which has already reportedly brought in nearly a billion dollars in tax revenue alone for the state’s coffers.

Great Decade for Pennsylvania

Another success story has been Pennsylvania, which saw a massive increase in its casino options over the past decade. In the year 2000, the state enjoyed $1.2 billion in casino revenue, but that increased to $4.4 billion in 2011 and has reportedly continued to increase as the Keystone State has overtaken neighboring New Jersey for regional casino supremacy.

Pennsylvania was one of the states cited as having the largest growth in gaming revenue over that period, behind only Alabama and Maryland. When it came to the states that relied most heavily on gambling revenue as a percentage of their total economy, Nevada, Mississippi and – believe it or not – Vermont led the way.


Overall, the report found that annual gambling revenues increased 0.89 percent year-over-year in 2011, rising to a total of $89.04 billion. The study also included Canada to get a complete picture of online gambling in North America, with the Canadian gambling market seeing a second straight year of strong growth in 2011. Across the continent, tribal gambling venues, lotteries, casinos and card rooms all saw modest growth, while sports betting and racing venues saw declines in revenues. Overall, race and sports wagering made up just 3 percent of the gambling market in North America.

Not every state saw good news in the report. As has been widely reported, Atlantic City casinos have been struggling for years, which has driven down New Jersey’s overall gambling revenues. And Arkansas saw a massive drop of nearly 20 percent in gambling revenue in 2011, by far the largest of any state in the study.