It’s been a historic year for casinos….and it isn’t even over yet.
The American Gaming Association reported U.S. casinos have broken the record for most money won in a single year at $44.15 billion. The previous record of $43.65 billion was set in 2019.
Pennsylvania is one of six states that have already surpassed the previous full-year revenue record. PA has reached $3.9 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2021. And there are still two more months to report.
Record-breaking year for PA casinos
Through October 2021 all forms of legal, regulated gambling in PA generated nearly $4 billion in gross gaming revenue. Here’s a breakdown of how much each vertical has contributed to the record-breaking total.
- Slot revenue: $1.9 billion
- iGaming revenue: $1 billion
- Table games revenue: $758.6 million
- Sports betting revenue: $382.6 million
- The remainder of the revenue came from VGTs and daily fantasy sports
In Oct. 2021, gaming revenue in PA set an all-time monthly high of $425.9 million. It broke the short-lived record which was set in July 2021 ($423.6 million).
November revenue figures are due out in mid-December (they should arrive by the end of the week). December 2021 PA gambling revenue numbers will come out in mid-January 2022 which will provide a complete picture of just how big a year it was.
Why did casinos have a record-breaking 2021?
Pennsylvania casinos were closed from March 2020 until June 2020. They reopened with various restrictions including reduced capacity, no food or drinks on the gaming floor, plexiglass and other safety measures. Rivers Casino Philadelphia and Live! Casino Philadelphia abided by stricter mandates because they are located in the city of Philadelphia.
Some of the reasons for a record-smashing 2021:
- Pent-up demand: People were eager to get back out and play at PA casinos.
- iGaming: PA is one of the few states that offers legal online gambling and online casino games continue to grow in popularity.
- Growth of iGaming: Online casinos added live dealer games in addition to more slots and table games to their libraries.
- Sports betting: Sports betting apps arrived in PA in the summer of 2019. Now there are lots of props, parlays and various betting options for players. Also, the sports calendar is full.
- Commuter casinos: Pennsylvania casinos are known as commuter casinos because you can drive there and back in the same day. Unlike Las Vegas, they aren’t “destinations” where you get on a plane and plan a few days around a visit. This proved a positive trait for PA casinos as many patrons weren’t ready for air travel.
U.S. casinos recovering
Casinos across the country have shown resilience in recovering from COVID closures. The AGA reported that nationwide commercial gaming revenue topped a new quarterly record of $13.89 billion in Q3. It’s the second consecutive record quarter.
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller commented:
“Two straight quarters of record gaming revenue is an incredible accomplishment in any context, let alone after the most challenging year in industry history. Our recovery is not a flash in the pan, but rather a sustained result of our leadership in responsible reopening, world-class entertainment offerings and widespread favorability.”
Lead photo by Katie Kohler.