US Domestic Commercial Casinos Win Record $42.7B in 2018

Posted on: February 13, 2019, 08:03h. 

Last updated on: February 13, 2019, 08:03h.

Domestic commercial casinos in the United States won nearly $42.7 billion last year, a roughly four percent increase on 2017 and the gaming industry’s highest total ever.

commercial casinos Las Vegas revenue
The gaming industry was strong last year, as commercial casinos in the United States won $42.7 billion. (Image: Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Adams Revenue Revue, prepared by Reno-based gaming analyst and consultant Ken Adams for CDC Gaming Reports, says 23 commercial casino markets reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaling $42.69 billion.

Adams summarized 2018 as “a good year,” with increased earnings stemming from the opening of new casinos in Atlantic City, Massachusetts, and New York. The $42.7 billion win is a $1.5 billion premium on 2017’s total haul.

December revenue was driven, as it has been all year, by new casinos, more (slot machine-like) VLTs, and, in the last half of the year, by sports betting,” Adams wrote.

Despite the US gaming industry’s best casino revenue win in the nation’s history, associated stocks didn’t enjoy the same prosperity. A downward second half for the US stock market pushed shares lower for major operators including MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands.

State by State

Nevada, the richest casino state in America, reported $11.9 billion in GGR last year, its third highest mark in history. Despite the Silver State losing its monopoly on sports betting following the Supreme Court’s repeal of the federal ban last May, Nevada sportsbooks recorded a record $5 billion handle, and record $301 million win.

2018 showed the resiliency of Nevada and Las Vegas. The gaming capital responded to the October 2017 mass shooting, and also weathered any potential fallout from the sexual misconduct allegations made against Sin City visionary Steve Wynn.

Pennsylvania commercial casinos enjoyed their best year in history, with GGR totaling $3.24 billion.

The Keystone State’s gaming industry is amid a massive expansion. Along with its legalization of sports betting, online casinos, daily fantasy sports, truck stop slot machines, and airport gaming terminals, five satellite casinos are in development that will be permitted to house as many as 750 slots and 30 table games.

Atlantic City casinos – plus the state’s two horse racetrack sportsbooks – brought New Jersey GGR to $2.9 billion last year, a 9.2 percent year-over-year gain. Illinois casino GGR came in at $2.9 billion, while Maryland casinos won $1.75 billion.

2019 Outlook

Despite some analysts expressing concerns that the US gaming industry has reached its saturation point, expansion will continue in the year ahead.

Along with Pennsylvania’s satellite casinos, the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor is set to open in Massachusetts in June. That could be delayed should the state’s gaming regulators prolong their investigation into whether Wynn Resorts executives purposely concealed knowledge about the sexual misconduct allegations during their bidding for the casino license.

Connecticut’s two tribes continue to jointly fight to open a satellite casino in East Windsor to compete with the nearby MGM Springfield. The future of shuttered properties in Atlantic City – the Atlantic Club and Trump Plaza – are also uncertain.

And then, of course, there’s sports betting. Seven states have already joined Nevada, and the American Gaming Association predicts half of the 50 states will have, or be considering, sports gambling this year.