Despite a crippling recession during 2009, the U.S. commercial casino industry remained a vital asset to the nation’s economy. According to a report released last month by the American Gaming Association, gross gaming revenues totaled .74 billion in 2009, a 5.5 percent drop from 2008.
“This past year was tough for all Americans, and it was tough for our business as well,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. “Nearly every industry that depends on consumer spending to succeed has been negatively impacted by the recession. But I’m pleased to say that our industry has continued to provide Americans with jobs and state and local governments with tax revenues that have helped hard-hit government budgets weather this storm.”
Widely regarded as the most comprehensive resource of its kind, State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment offers an in-depth look at the commercial casino industry. It provides national and state-by-state economic impact data, such as gaming revenues, tax contributions, employment and wage figures for the 13 commercial casino and 12 racetrack casino states in the U.S., as well as public opinion polling results on a variety of gaming issues.
The new edition of State of the States reveals that commercial casinos returned nearly $5.6 billion in tax revenues to gaming communities across the country last year, as well as much-needed jobs, employing an estimated 330,000 people who earned $13.1 billion in wages, salaries and benefits in 2009.
A special section in the 2010 State of the States survey examines the impact of casinos in their host communities by polling those who live and work in those areas. Results show that survey participants are favorable about the impact of casinos. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) think they have had a positive impact on the community, and an even higher percentage (69 percent) say casinos have had a positive impact on their area’s tourism industry. A solid majority (62 percent) also thinks casinos are beneficial during recessionary times because of the tax revenues, tourism and jobs they generate. In perhaps the most telling finding of the survey, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those surveyed say they would vote “yes” if a referendum were held to decide whether or not to keep casino gaming.
A full copy of the 2010 State of the States can be downloaded at the AGA website, www.americangaming.org.