Commercial casino gaming revenues rose for the second consecutive year in 2011, continuing the recovery that began in 2010, according to a
national economic impact study released by the American Gaming Association.
The annual “State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment” shows national gross gaming revenues increased by 3 percent from 2010 figures (when revenues rose just under 1 percent) to a total of $35.64 billion in 2011. The report also includes a survey that found continued strong support of the industry among gaming community leaders.
“These positive 2011 economic figures are welcome news to our industry, our employees, and the communities where we operate,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. “While the recovery is ongoing and the commercial casino industry is not monolithic, the data paint an optimistic picture.”
The gaming industry demonstrated significant growth in many states. For example, the first full year of operations at Maryland’s inaugural casino in Perryville and the opening of its second property in Berlin led to the collection of four times the amount of gaming revenue in 2011 as was collected in 2010. Similarly, Pennsylvania gaming revenue increased by more than 21 percent in 2011, while Nevada, which was hit hard by the economic recession, had a 2.9 percent increase in gaming revenue and more than 1 million more visitors last year than in 2010.
The new edition of State of the States also reported that in 2011, the industry directly employed more than 339,000 people who earned $12.9 billion in wages, tips and benefits. In addition, commercial casinos contributed $7.93 billion in tax revenues to gaming communities across the country—4.5 percent more than in 2010.
“Gaming companies are providing much-needed jobs and tax revenue to communities across the nation at a time when both are greatly needed,” Fahrenkopf said.
State of the States also reports on the state of the gaming equipment manufacturing sector. Research conducted by Applied Analysis on behalf of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers shows that the sector directly generated $12.3 billion in revenue in 2011, 7 percent more than the previous year. Gaming equipment manufacturers also provided direct employment to 30,300 people, paying salaries and wages totaling $2.2 billion. According to the report, there were more than 837,000 gaming machines in operation throughout the U.S. in 2011.
A special section of this year’s State of the States report features a poll of elected officials and civic leaders in gaming jurisdictions. According to the results, community leaders say casinos have more than delivered on their promises of jobs, economic development and tax revenues. The vast majority (83 percent) of community leaders say the overall impact of casinos in their area has been positive, and more than three-quarters (76 percent) say casinos have done more to help than hurt other area businesses. A full 83 percent say the introduction of casinos has met or exceeded their expectations.
Perhaps most telling, more than three-quarters (76 percent) say they would vote in favor of bringing casinos to their community if given the chance to go back and cast the deciding vote.
The State of the States report also highlights public polling data showing that more than one-quarter (27 percent) of the U.S. adult population visited casinos during 2011, while fully 81 percent view casino gaming as acceptable for themselves or others. In addition to enjoying the gambling, these patrons ate in a fine-dining restaurant (76 percent), saw live entertainment (62 percent), went shopping (46 percent) and took advantage of many other casino amenities. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of casino patrons say they never or rarely gamble when they visit.
Widely regarded as the most comprehensive resource of its kind, State of the States offers an in-depth look at the commercial casino industry and provides national and state-by-state economic impact data, such as gaming revenues, tax contributions and employment and wage figures for the 22 U.S. commercial casino states operating in 2011.
Public polling data included in the report were collected by VP Communications Inc. in conjunction with national pollster Peter D. Hart. A full copy of the 2012 State of the States can be downloaded at www.americangaming.org.