As the global pandemic weakens and government-mandated restrictions are loosening the American public is flocking back to the casinos and the numbers, thus far, are impressive.
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The data from January and February of this year is both impressive and encouraging considering the industry was shut down to in-person gambling in virtually all jurisdictions from March until June of 2020.
But last year began a resurgence and the first two months of this year eclipsed the record set in January and February of pre-pandemic 2020 (the pandemic had already arrived but it wasn’t recognized until March of that year).
According to the metrics, revenue generated from in-person casino games, sports betting, and online gambling totaled $8.92 billion in January and February, an increase of more than 19 percent from the previous record which was set in those two months of 2020. And these figures are from commercial casinos only but the tribal casinos have also indicated similarly impressive numbers.
“This record start to the year demonstrates the sustained momentum of our industry’s recovery into 2022,” said Bill Miller, the American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO. “While it remains to be seen if we’ll match last year’s all-time high, it’s clear that Americans are continuing to make gaming a first-choice entertainment option.”
Only five states lag behind their pace from January and February of 2020 and they are Louisiana (-2.3%), Oklahoma (-5.2%), New Mexico (-6.4%), Kansas (-11.7%), and Rhode Island (-13.3%).
But the AGA explained Kansas’ and Rhode Island’s relatively poor showings due to “the highly competitive environment of New England after Encore Boston Harbor opened in June 2019,” while noting that Kansas casinos “continue to feel the impact of added competition from a new tribal gaming facility close to the state’s largest commercial casino.”
Looking for Another 2021
Although the earlier part of 2021 was still feeling the effects of state and local medical protocols that continued to impinge on businesses everywhere, the casino industry was mounting a furious comeback from a catastrophic 2020.
When the numbers were finally out, they showed the casino industry having its best year ever with a record-breaking $53 billion won by United States’ casinos, an increase of over 6.6 percent from 2019.
Consider AGA president Bill Miller’s prescient words at the end of the first quarter last year when he said, “Today’s report shows gaming’s comeback is ahead of schedule. The gaming industry is generating these impressive results with one hand tied behind our back as capacity and amenity restrictions remain across the country.”
Gambling Has Returned
And it appears he is even more bullish on this year’s spike in revenue which means casino gambling has returned with a monumental thunder. Assuming it stays the course, it will mean security for industry jobs and could very well lead to even more expansive than we have already seen at industry hotbeds like Las Vegas.
More to the point, a well-known brand off the Strip is going to be reopening its doors on April 27th after a change in ownership and a facelift. The Palms will be welcoming guests just a day before the NFL Draft which is being held at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
“We know it’s more challenging to open when it’s really, really busy,” Palms General Manager Cynthia Kiser Murphey said. “I think the most important thing for us was to get people back to work. We balanced knowing that the draft was going to be in town against the idea that we really needed to get open.”