3monopolyMaybe it’s a sign the recession is receding, or maybe it’s just a reflection of the growth of legal land-based gambling across the U.S., but whatever the reason, the American commercial casino industry took in $37.34 billion in 2012, and that’s a nice 4.8 percent jump from the year prior. It’s also the biggest growth spike since the recession put its claws into the industry, back around late 2007.

AGA Releases Report

The good news comes to us courtesy of the American Gaming Association (AGA)- the trade industry/lobbying arm of the land-based casino industry- in its annual State of the States report.

Back in ’07, when the recession first hit in December of that year, U.S.-based land casinos took in $37.52 billon in gaming revenues, but the next two years saw those numbers dwindle.  A combination of newly opened casinos in states with either new or expanded properties, as well as the slow but steady improvement in the economy, were what made last year’s numbers the most positive since the 2007 year-end gaming report was issued. The 2012 report reflected monies from land-based casinos, as well as riverboat and racetrack casinos, in 23 states.

“After three years of increasing growth and positive signs in all sectors of the industry, it’s clear that we have weathered the recession,” said soon-to-be-retiring AGA president Frank Fahrenkopf Jr.  “Whether we look at jobs, casino visitors served, or tax revenues being produced, the bottom line is that there is much to be optimistic about in the commercial casino industry,” he added.

Nevada Leads the Pack

To no one’s surprise, Nevada came in first in the commercial casino wars, with an end-of-year take of $10.86 billion for 2012, according to the AGA. Pennsylvania may have surprised some by passing New Jersey on the Monopoly board, with $3.16 billion to show for last year’s casino revenues.  Poor battered Atlantic City, who got beaten up badly by Hurricane Sandy and poor marketing choices both last year, came in third for their 12 casinos with $3.05 billion for their annual take-home pay.

Ironically, that might mean Atlantic City will have to leave Boardwalk for another city to buy in the game.