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Gambling Boom: U.S. Casinos Set New Revenue Records in 2023

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Gambling Boom: U.S. Casinos Set New Revenue Records in 2023

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – America’s commercial casinos won $66.5 billion from gamblers in 2023, the industry’s best year ever, according to figures released by its national trade association Tuesday.

The American Gaming Association said that total was 10 percent higher than in 2022, which itself was a record-setting year.

When revenue figures from tribal-owned casinos are released separately later this year, they are expected to show that overall casino gambling brought in close to $110 billion to U.S. casino operators in 2023.

That all happened in a year in which inflation, while receding, still kept things like grocery and energy costs higher than they had been.

“From the traditional casino experience to online options, American adults’ demand for gaming is at an all-time high,” said Bill Miller, the association’s president and CEO.

Early last year, when the group gave its annual statistical assessment, “inflation was high, uncertainty was in the air. Forecasters couldn’t agree what these challenges might do to discretionary income,” Mr. Miller said.

As the year went on, “inflation began to cool, consumers began to spend and the [Federal Reserve] held rates steady,” he added. “The result was a record-breaking year for our industry.”

Not even the pre-holiday shopping crunch discouraged gamblers from laying their money down: Casinos won $6.2 billion in December and $17.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, both of which set records.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at New Jersey’s Stockton University, which studies the gambling industry, said sports betting is still new enough that it may prove attractive even to those watching their budgets.

“As a form of entertainment, legal sports betting might be a new and novel experience for many patrons, and with its relatively low cost of entry, may be attractive to them even if their discretionary spending budget is limited,” she said.

In-person gambling remains the bread and butter of the industry. Slot machines brought in $35.51 billion in 2023, an increase of 3.8 percent from the previous year. Table games brought in $10.31 billion, up 3.5 percent.

Sports betting generated $10.92 billion in revenue, up 44.5 percent. Americans legally wagered $119.84 billion on sports, up 27.8 percent from the previous year.

Five new sports betting markets that became operational in 2023—Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Ohio—contributed to that and generated a combined $1.49 billion in revenue.

By the end of the year, Massachusetts and Ohio established themselves among the country’s top 10 sports betting states by revenue, New Jersey and Illinois exceeded $1 billion in annual sports betting revenue for the first time, and New York topped all states with $1.69 billion.

Internet gambling generated $6.17 billion, up 22.9 percent. While Michigan and New Jersey each generated $1.92 billion in annual internet gambling revenue, Michigan outperformed New Jersey by just $115,500 to become the largest internet gambling market in the country. Pennsylvania was third with $1.74 billion in annual revenue.

Other states offering internet gambling are Connecticut, West Virginia and Delaware; Nevada offers online poker only.

Casinos paid an estimated $14.42 billion in gambling taxes last year, up 9.7 percent from the previous year.

Nevada remains the nation’s top gambling market, with $15.5 billion in revenue. Pennsylvania is second at $5.86 billion, followed closely by Atlantic City at $5.77 billion.

New York’s Resorts World casino reclaimed the title as the top-performing U.S. casino outside Nevada. It was followed by MGM National Harbor near Washington, D.C., Encore Boston Harbor and Atlantic City’s Borgata.

Of the 35 states that have commercial casinos, 31 saw revenue increase last year.

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