Gaming Industry Drives $329B in Economic Output, Supports 1.8M Jobs, Says AGA

Posted on: October 10, 2023, 04:32h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2023, 04:38h.

The domestic casino gaming industry is a powerhouse that accounts for nearly $329 billion in economic activity, according to new research by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

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The Las Vegas Strip. The American Gaming Association said the casino gaming industry drove $329 billion in economic activity last year. (Image: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

In its first deep dive into the industry’s contributions to the US economy since 2018, the AGA noted that casino gaming drove $328.6 billion in economic output last year while supporting 1.8 million jobs. Including $13.5 billion generated from direct gaming excises, the industry accounted for $53 billion in federal, local, and state taxes in 2022. The research was conducted by Oxford Economics.

The gaming industry directly employs more than 700,000 people in the U.S. This includes nearly 600,000 jobs on-site at casinos and corporate offices, more than 23,000 at U.S.-based operations of gaming manufacturers, and 89,000 at businesses providing goods and services to casino patrons during casino trips,” noted the association.

Direct casino employment represents one of every 33 travel and leisure jobs in the US. The AGA added that gaming accounts for more jobs than air transportation, Hollywood, and the US Postal Service (USPS), as just a few examples. That underscores the importance of gaming as a job creator in this country.

Casinos are Significant Jobs Creators

Further highlighting the economic importance of the casino gaming industry is its status as a jobs generator and that holds true across both commercial and tribal gaming entities.

Last year, commercial casinos employed nearly 332K workers who earned a combined $16.3 billion, including benefits and tips. Tribal gaming outfits employed roughly 256K staffers who earned a combined $8 billion in wages and perks.

Of the 709K people directly employed by casinos, that figure includes “almost 597,000 jobs on-site at casinos and corporate offices, almost 89,000 jobs at businesses serving casino patrons during casino trips or involved in casino construction and renovations, and more than 23,000 jobs at gaming equipment manufacturers,” according to the AGA.

In the jurisdictions in which they operate, land-based casinos are typically the largest private sector employers, and the venues create new streams of income and sales tax collections. Those are among the reasons why politicians in some regions are eager to add new gaming venues.

Gaming Industry Outlook

Last year, visitors to US commercial and tribal casinos spent $125.9 billion. Nearly 17% of that tally was derived from nongaming sources, including entertainment, food and beverage, and hotel rooms.

In addition, spending at third-party outlets, such as leased restaurants and retail outlets not already included in casino revenue, sales and lodging taxes represented $4.0 billion, resulting in casino spending of $125.9 billion,” observed the AGA.

While it’s widely expected domestic casinos will win a record amount from customers this year, there’s growing concern among high-ranking industry executives that a recession, albeit mild, could be imminent. If economic contraction arrives and is harsher and longer than expected, that would likely dampen consumer discretionary spending and, potentially, force some operators to reduce headcount.