Casinos and online sites took in about 14% more than the previous year, excluding tribal-owned casinos
by Katherine Sayre, The Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2023
Gambling in the U.S. reached a record high last year as commercial casinos and online betting apps reaped more than $60 billion in gambling revenues, an industry trade group said Wednesday.
Commercial-gambling revenue last year broke the previous record of $53 billion set in 2021, increasing about 14% year-over-year, according to an American Gaming Association report. The figures don’t include tens of billions of dollars in revenue generated by tribal-owned casinos.
Casinos, online sports betting and lotteries have spread across the U.S. Last year, 34 states and the District of Columbia had commercial gambling, including casinos, sports betting and online casinos, according to the trade group. Two states, Hawaii and Utah, have kept all forms of gambling off-limits, while other states have tribal casinos or government-run lotteries that aren’t included in the group’s commercial-gambling figures.
Americans flocked to the Las Vegas Strip and other casinos in the early days of the pandemic reopenings, when consumers had fewer choices for entertainment. Casinos in Las Vegas and beyond continued to win Americans’ spending as the economy reopened more broadly. Betting activity on the Super Bowl reached a record high this year, but the outcome of the game produced lackluster results for sports-betting companies in terms of profits, according to analysts and sportsbook executives.
The industry exceeded revenue expectations last year, Bill Miller, the trade group’s chief executive, said in a written statement. “Even as we navigate macroeconomic headwinds, I am optimistic about the year ahead,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Miller said that during the pandemic reopenings a younger group of customers were introduced to casinos and they have continued to visit and gamble. The surge in gambling was initially attributed to people having economic-stimulus money, he said, “but I think it’s hard to make that argument now.”
Consumer spending on gambling has stayed strong in recent months despite economic uncertainty, he said.
Across the U.S., gamblers lost $34.2 billion on slot machines last year, up about 5% from nearly $32.5 billion in 2021, according to the report. Players lost $10 billion on table games such as blackjack and roulette, up nearly 14% from $8.8 billion.
Sports betting, a relative newcomer to the U.S. gambling industry, generated a record $7.5 billion from more than $93 billion in wagers on sporting events, according to the report.
Online casino games generated about $5 billion in revenue, up about 35% from the previous year, according to the report.
Some 84 million American adults, or about 34% of the population, visited a casino last year, according to the group.
The big operators in Las Vegas reported hitting their own high marks last year.
MGM Resorts International said last week that the company’s casinos in Las Vegas and other U.S. cities had record profits in the last quarter of 2022, and the company expects the strong performance to continue this year.
“The gaming customer is healthy here in Las Vegas,” said Jonathan Halkyard, MGM Resorts International chief financial officer, in a call with Wall Street analysts.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chief Executive Craig Billings said last week that Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip had $816 million in adjusted earnings in 2022.
“I’m confident that this is an all-time record for a stand-alone Las Vegas Strip property,” Mr. Billings told analysts.
Tribal-owned casinos generated $39 billion in revenue in the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to the most recent revenue report from the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Write to Katherine Sayre at [email protected]
Appeared in the February 16, 2023, print edition as ‘Gambling Revenue Hit a Record Last Year’.