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USA Gambling Facts & Revenue 2024

Jonn Seo | September 11, 2024 | Updated on: January 19th, 2024

Gambling FactsGambling is subject to state-level regulation or prohibition in the United States despite being legal under federal law. In 2021, the U.S. gambling industry’s gross gaming revenue reached almost $53 billion, showcasing significant growth compared to the pandemic-affected 2020.

When examining the revenue breakdown, slot machines were the top earners in 2020 and 2021. Although casinos commonly house slot machines, their legality varies by state. As of 2021, there were 466 commercial casinos and 515 tribal casinos in the country.

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Gambling Revenues in the USA

In 2018, gambling revenues in the USA surged past $160 billion. Americans have a deep passion for gambling, from lottery tickets to slots, bingo, and poker. As each year goes by, state governments across the

The U.S. continues legalizing and regulating various games of chance, further fuelling the nation’s gambling fervour. Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the yearly revenue generated by each form of betting.

USA Casino Revenues in 2017:

Commercial casinos in the U.S. achieved a remarkable milestone in 2017, generating a record-breaking $41.2 billion in gross gaming revenues. This marked a substantial 3.7% increase compared to the previous year, primarily attributed to new casinos opening in Maryland and New York. MGM National Harbor in Maryland emerged as the most prosperous among these newcomers, but Del Lago Resorts, Rivers Casino, and Resorts World Catskills in New York State also contributed significantly.

USA Casino Revenues in 2018:

The following year, in 2018, commercial casinos continued their impressive performance by raking in $51,395,562,664 in revenues. This represented a solid 3.5% increase over the previous year. Commercial casinos played a pivotal role in sustaining 737,450 jobs and distributing $34.334 billion in worker income. Notably, the Las Vegas Strip dominated the scene, generating $6.59 billion in gaming revenues, solidifying its position as the premier destination. Atlantic City secured the second spot with $2.51 billion, showcasing a robust recovery over five years from its $2.1 billion earnings in 2014. Commercial casino markets in Chicagoland, Baltimore-Washington, DC, and New York City rounded out the top five.

USA Tribal Casino Revenues:

While the National Indian Gaming Council has yet to release the latest tribal casino statistics, their most recent official data from 2016 reveals that America’s tribal casinos garnered $31.195 million in gross gaming revenues. This figure reflected a substantial increase of nearly $1.3 billion from 2015, which had grown by $1.4 billion from 2014. While projecting similar year-to-year growth from 2016 to 2017 could suggest gross gaming revenues in the vicinity of $33.3 billion, we refrain from speculating and present the official 2016 statistics. The NIGC typically releases the previous year’s figures in June or July, so stay tuned for the latest updates.

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Types of Gambling

Curious readers might be interested in understanding the various forms of gambling within the United States. Below is a glossary of the diverse betting opportunities available to Americans, along with brief descriptions of each form of gambling. We also provide revenue data for each category.

Commercial Casinos:

Owned by private and publicly traded companies, commercial casinos come in various forms, such as land-based, riverboats, airports, racetrack-casinos (racinos), or even casino cruises. They offer a range of games, including Class III or Las Vegas-style slot machines and Video Gambling Terminals (VGTs) or Class II Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs).

Tribal Casinos:

Under the ownership of Native American tribal gaming authorities, these establishments are located on Indian reservation lands. A landmark 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Cabazon v. California) upheld the sovereignty of Native American reservations for hosting casinos, provided they were acknowledged by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs Bureau before 1934. The subsequent 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act grants Indian tribes the opportunity to engage in casino gambling through gaming compacts with states, often offering Class II slot machines as part of their offerings.

Card Rooms:

Whether situated within or adjacent to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, these venues are designed to please poker aficionados. Prominent establishments in Las Vegas and Atlantic City proudly feature their dedicated poker rooms. In select states, commercial card rooms and poker clubs provide further options, with notable examples including the Bicycle Club, Hollywood Park Casino, and the Cameo Club in Los Angeles. Even tribal casinos such as Choctaw Casino, WinStar World Casino, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun offer poker rooms to cater to enthusiasts.

Charitable Games:

Charitable gaming encompasses various activities. Bingo nights are prevalent, but philanthropic organizations may also host Las Vegas Nights (Millionaire Clubs), raffles, bell jar competitions, pickle card contests, and pull-tab contests. Pickle cards and pull-tab tickets resemble lottery scratch cards, while bell jar gaming resembles a raffle.

Bingo:

Among charitable gaming forms, bingo is the most popular. Numerous groups, including churches, veterans, police, firefighters, medical research, and civic organizations, organize bingo nights. These events can be held in dedicated bingo halls, community centres, VFW outposts, or online.

Lotteries:

State lotteries have historical significance in the U.S., with lottery betting even funding the Revolutionary War. In the latter half of the 20th century, many states introduced state lotteries to support public school and scholarship funding. Multistate lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions now include 44 states each. Scratch cards also contribute significantly to revenue.

Horse Racing:

Betting on horse racing has a long-standing tradition in many U.S. states due to its perceived lower risk and appeal to wealthier demographics. It involves pari-mutuel wagering, where one bettor’s win results in others losing. Off-track betting facilities and simulcast races have expanded the reach of horse racing, while some states permit slot machines at racetracks to boost the struggling industry.

Online Casinos:

Online casinos and poker sites thrived in the USA until 2006, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was enacted. The UIGEA prohibited internet gambling for interstate telephone lines under the 1961 Wire Act. The situation evolved in 2011 with a U.S. Department of Justice opinion, leading to legal online casinos and poker sites in four states: New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Other states like New York and California may follow suit in the future. Real money slots contribute significantly to casino revenue, estimated at 65% to 85% in the U.S.