US Casinos Poised for Most Lucrative Year Ever in 2021

Posted on: August 10, 2021, 03:39h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2021, 04:08h.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, casinos in the US had their best second quarter in history, hauling in $13.6 billion. This puts the industry on pace for its best year ever, as gamblers return from lockdowns for in-person action on gaming tables and slot machines.

Caesars Palace roulette
A patron places a bet at a Caesars Palace roulette table on the Las Vegas Strip. Nationwide, casinos are winning more from gamblers this year than in previous years. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

At this rate, casinos could exceed the $43.6 billion they grossed nationally in 2019, the industry’s best year ever, according to the Associated Press. During the first six months of 2021, the industry already has won $25 billion.

The American Gaming Association made this information available on Tuesday.

Gaming floors are open again without capacity restrictions in all 25 states that have commercial casinos, according to the AGA. Gaming revenue rose during the second quarter of this year in 22 of these states, compared to 2019’s second quarter totals. Nineteen states did better from January through June this year than in the first half of 2019.

Figures from 2019 are used for comparisons, because last year’s numbers were skewed by coronavirus lockdowns. As COVID-19 cases began to spike in March 2020, casinos were shuttered for months to curtail infections. 

Gambling Again

As vaccines and stimulus checks began rolling out earlier this year, gamblers who had felt cooped-up began returning to casinos in large numbers. 

Gene Brandon of Ridgefield, Conn., told the Associated Press he is going to casinos again now that he has been vaccinated. Before the pandemic, he visited casinos twice a month.

When going now, I still mask-up to reduce the chance of inadvertently contracting and transmitting to those that are not vaccinated, especially those under 12,” Brandon said.

Mike Wolk Sr. of Sewell, N. J., said he is fully vaccinated, but has diabetes and prostate cancer. Still, he plays poker at a casino once a week for eight hours, he told the Associated Press.

“I don’t wear a mask, but I am getting a little concerned,” he said.

Las Vegas Virus Warning

Over the past several months, Las Vegas has seen increases in tourism, gaming revenue, and airline passenger totals.

In addition, the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas opened this summer on the Strip. It is the most expensive hotel-casino in the state’s history, and the first new resort to open on the Strip since 2010. Its grand opening in June attracted celebrities and an estimated 20,000 visitors.

However, health officials in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hawaii recently cautioned against traveling to Las Vegas because of Southern Nevada ’s low vaccination rate and large number of new infections.

Nevada has had at least new 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in 10 of the last 11 days, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Since March 2020, Nevada has had 367,709 coronavirus cases and 6,080 deaths.