US Gaming Revenue Breaks Record in 2021, Hitting $53bn

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The US gaming industry is starting 2022 on a high after posting a record-shattering $53bn in revenue for 2021, its highest-grossing year of all time. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Best year of all time

Like a blazing ray of light cutting through the gloom, the US commercial gaming industry emerged from 2021 in dynamic form, generating $53bn in revenue, its highest-grossing year of all time.

industry broke its own quarterly revenue record twice

Blowing past the previous record of $43.65bn set in 2019 by more than 21%, the industry’s revenue for 2021 is “nothing short of remarkable,” declared AGA president and CEO Bill Miller. The industry broke its own quarterly revenue record twice, its Q4 2021 total of $14.31bn topping its Q3 2021 record.

The AGA took to Twitter to share news of the gaming industry’s record-smashing year:

According to figures released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) on Tuesday, a staggering 177% year-on-year improvement means US betting revenue didn’t just increase in 2021, it almost tripled.

Miller said the success reflects how the US public has embraced the growth of the commercial gaming industry, adding that American gaming “is effectively meeting customers how and where they want to engage — whether at a casino or through mobile gaming.”

Retail makes a comeback

Combined slot and table gaming revenue for 2021 led the way in the industry’s pandemic recovery, with revenue from traditional brick-and-mortar gaming reaching $44.94bn, representing a 7% rise on 2019’s total.

Betting generated $57.22bn in handle and $4.29bn in revenue

Sports wagering also burst out of the blocks in 2021. Betting generated $57.22bn in handle and $4.29bn in revenue, year-on-year hikes of 165% and 177%, respectively. According to an AGA news release, two factors combined to power these record highs – namely, strong demand in established markets and the roll-out of new commercial markets.

The iGaming sector also shattered a record of its own, posting an all-time high revenue of $3.71bn for 2021. Two iGaming markets making their debut in 2021, Connecticut and Michigan, helped lead this charge. Combined sports betting and iGaming revenue for 2021 reached $8bn — a 158% rise on 2020 — contributing a record 15% of annual industry gaming revenue.

AGA optimistic about 2022

After such a strong finish to 2021 and a great start to 2022, the future is looking peachy for American commercial gaming. Just ask Nevada’s 179 sportsbooks, which raked in a record-obliterating handle of $179.8m for Super Bowl LVI.

Miller said he is “optimistic that we will see continued growth throughout 2022.”

The AGA boss countered this optimism, however, by pointing out that the gaming industry’s complete comeback is “still reliant on the full return of travel and large events, which requires a safe health environment and open economy.”

New York’s mobile betting market should help drive the continued growth expected by Miller this year. Ever since the market launched on January 8, New York has ripped up the record books. It surpassed betting powerhouse New Jersey for betting handle in just its first month, generating a nationwide record of $1.6bn.