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Strip remains undisputed king of casino gambling in US

Updated May 21, 2023 - 8:00 am

The American Gaming Association recently published data showing the first quarter of 2023 produced the highest gaming revenue of any quarter in industry history.

It wasn’t a surprise.

After all, Nevada results have been stellar for around two years and most of the publicly traded casino companies have said their results in jurisdictions outside Nevada have been performing well post-pandemic.

The AGA said commercial gaming in January, February and March reached $16.6 billion for casinos, sports books and legal online wagering sites. That was 15.5 percent higher than the first quarter of 2022.

That information was revealed in two AGA reports, its commercial gaming revenue tracker and the association’s “State of the States” report, a 117-page document that details revenue, tax rates and legislation for every aspect of gaming in the 35 states that have commercial casinos, legal sports wagering or internet gambling.

That report had some affirmations about gaming that many of those who follow the industry assume to be true or weren’t sure about.

Here are some snippets from the report:

Strip is No. 1

— The Strip is by far the most successful gaming market by revenue in the country and No. 2 Atlantic City isn’t anywhere close. In 2022, the Strip generated $8.24 billion in gross gaming revenue. Next on the list was Atlantic City, which reported $2.79 billion that year, followed by — a surprise to some — Baltimore and Washington D.C. and the casinos in Maryland and West Virginia with $2.17 billion in gaming revenue.

“The Strip saw fewer visitors in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic years, but those who did go spent more on gaming entertainment per visit than in the past,” the AGA report said.

— Among the top 20 gaming markets in the United States, three more in Nevada made the list. The Boulder Strip ranked 10th in the country with revenue of $967 million. Reno-Sparks checked in at No. 12 with $911 million and Downtown Las Vegas was 17th at $787 million.

— One of the reasons Baltimore-Washington D.C. fared so well is that the market is home to the property that had the highest gross gaming revenue outside of Nevada — MGM Resorts International’s MGM National Harbor property, which opened in December 2016. Another resort owned by a Las Vegas-based company ranked No. 2 among those with highest 2022 revenue outside of Nevada. That was Encore Boston Harbor, in Everett, Massachusetts, and owned by Wynn Resorts Ltd. It was followed by the Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Maryland, which opened in 2012 and is operated by Cordish Companies.

(It’s difficult to compare Nevada’s individual property gaming revenue against those outside of Nevada because the Nevada Gaming Control Board keeps individual property results confidential. Some public companies share them during their earnings reports, but the Control Board groups properties into Nevada submarkets and doesn’t disclose each resort individually.)

— The rest of the top 10 gaming markets nationwide, following the Strip, Atlantic City and Washington-Baltimore are No. 4 Chicagoland ($2.12 billion) comprised of commercial casinos near Chicago in Indiana and Illinois; No. 5 Gulf Coast Mississippi ($1.56 billion), which includes casinos in the Biloxi and Gulfport areas; No. 6 Queens-Yonkers, New York, ($1.56 billion); No. 7 Philadelphia ($1.37 billion); No. 8 Detroit ($1.28 billion); No. 9 St. Louis ($1.07 billion) with riverboat casinos in Missouri and Illinois; then Boulder Strip. Chicagoland and Queens-Yonkers have room to grow with a new temporary Chicago casino due to open later this year and New York gearing to award three new casino licenses in downstate New York next year. Chicago’s new casino, to be operated by Bally’s Corp., is due to open in 2026.

Growth of sports wagering

— Sports wagering has continued to grow nationwide and New York is the undisputed king of sports bets thanks to its approval of mobile betting. The regulated U.S. sports betting market generated total revenue of $7.56 billion in 2022, not including sportsbook operations in tribal casinos. That total marked an increase of almost 75 percent on the prior year.

— New York accounted for $1.37 billion — or more than 18 percent — of the national revenue total. New York supplanted New Jersey as the top state for sports wagering. By the end of 2022, legal sports betting was available in 32 states and Washington D.C.

— Kansas, Maine and Massachusetts all passed legislation to authorize sports betting during the year, with the Kansas market going live in September just prior to the 2022 football season and Massachusetts opening up in January. Alongside New York, mobile sports betting was launched in Louisiana, Arkansas and Maryland.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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