U.S. casinos’ $66B year a record

A gambler plays a slot machine at Harrah's casino in Atlantic City, N.J. on Sept. 29, 2023. Figures released on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, by the American Gaming Association show that the U.S. commercial casino industry had its best year ever in 2023, winning $66.5 billion from gamblers. When figures from tribal casinos are tallied later this year, the combined total is expected to approach $110 billion for 2023. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
A gambler plays a slot machine at Harrah's casino in Atlantic City, N.J. on Sept. 29, 2023. Figures released on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, by the American Gaming Association show that the U.S. commercial casino industry had its best year ever in 2023, winning $66.5 billion from gamblers. When figures from tribal casinos are tallied later this year, the combined total is expected to approach $110 billion for 2023. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- 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% 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 chief executive officer.

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.

Arkansas' three casinos reported a combined total win of $686.6 million in 2023, up almost 12% from $614.1 million in 2022, according to information provided by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. That would equal 1% of the 2023 national total of $66.5 billion.

Total win, also known as gross gaming revenue in the industry, is the difference between gambling wins and losses before deducting the casino's costs and expenses. The figure in Arkansas includes wins from terminal games like slot machines and video poker; table games like craps and blackjack; and sports betting, both inside the casino and online.

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

Sports betting generated $10.92 billion in revenue, up 44.5%. Americans legally wagered $119.84 billion on sports, up 27.8% 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.

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.

Internet gambling generated $6.17 billion, up 22.9%. 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% 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 is fourth at $4.71 billion, followed by Michigan at $3.58 billion; Ohio at $3.31 billion; Indiana at $2.82 billion; Louisiana at $2.69 billion and Illinois at $2.52 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.

Jurisdictions where revenue declined were Florida (-0.4%); Indiana (-2.3%) and Mississippi (-3.5%). The sports betting-only market of Washington, D.C., had a more significant decline, with revenue trailing 2022 by 17.6%, the largest drop in the country.

Information for this article was contributed by John Magsam of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Upcoming Events