ATLANTICCITY,N.J.(AP)— America’s commercial casinos won $53 billion in 2021, their best year ever according to figures released Tuesday.
The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry’s national trade group, released year-end figures showing that in- person gambling continues to bethemainsourceofrevenue for the gambling industry, even as internet and sports betting continue to grow in the U.S.
The $53 billion won by casinos is more than 21% higher than the previous best year, which came in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
They also show that many gamblers have not been deterred from visiting
a casino in person, even during the pandemic, when highly contagious variants of the virus were surging. The casinos have spent millions onhealthandsafetyprotocols to try to limit the spread of the virus.
“These results are nothing short of remarkable,” Bill Miller, president and CEO of the association, said in a webinar to discuss the results. “The success of 2021 reflects our commitment to health and safety, and how Americans have welcomed gaming’s expansion across the country. Today’s industry is effectively meeting customers how and where they want to engage, whether at a casino or through mobile gaming.”
The numbers do not include tribal casinos, which report
theirrevenueseparately.But Miller said that “tribal leaders have similarly shared with me that 2021 was their best year on record.”
Of the 33 states plus Washington D.C. that have commercial gambling, 23 set records for revenue last year.
Almost $45 billion was won from in-person gamblers at casinos last year, up 6.6% from 2019.
Sports betting continued its rapid growth, with more than $57 billion wagered legally on games last year, an increase of 165% from 2020. Of that total, casinos and racetrack sportsbooks saw nearly $4.3 billion in revenue after winning bets and other expenses were paid. That’s up 177% from 2020.
It was helped by the launch
of new commercial sports betting markets in Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming.
Twonewinternetgambling markets, Connecticut and Michigan, also opened in 2021, helping the sector to a record $3.7 billion in revenue.
Combined sports betting and internet gambling revenue for the year totaled $8 billion, up 158% percent from 2020 and accounting for a record 15.1% percent of annual gambling revenue.
The group did voice concern over the slow return of business and leisure travel during the pandemic. Miller said overall travel spending is down 20% from pre-pandemic levels.