Forecast of the Casino Industry in the United States for 2018

The Nevada legislature, the act that legalized gambling at the local level, came into place in 1931. Since then, casino gambling has always been a major industry in the United States. Since its advent, casino gambling has dominated the reputation and nightlife of several cities and towns across the US, with Nevada and New Jersey being the most affected. For the better part of five decades, Nevada’s role in playing the host to Sin City has gone mainly uncontested until New Jersey decided to throw its hat into the ring.

Though Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City are still the largest and most popular casino and gambling destinations in the US — and perhaps, the world — states such as Missouri, Mississippi, Illinois, Louisiana, Philadelphia, and Connecticut also have a thriving gambling and casino industry. Some of the fastest growing casino and gambling vacation destinations include St Louis, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Chicago, Tunica, Shreveport, and Biloxi among others.

The State of Gambling and Casino Industry: Facts and Figures

Simply put, gambling is the act of wagering money or something of value on the outcome of a game of an event. Casinos are facilities that house and accommodate various types of gambling activities. At the moment, the gambling and casino industry still faces a lot of restrictions in the US; it’s still a heavily criticized activity. Some states, Utah and Hawaii for instance, do not have legal gambling.

However, the gambling and casinos industry is still one of the largest in the economy.  The industry directly employs more than 730,000 people and contributes a total of $137.5 billion to the economy every year. Statistics show that the global gross gambling yield (GGY) will see a significant growth in the next few years. By 2019, the worldwide annual GGY is expected to reach $511 billion.

The Growth of the Casinos and Gaming Industry in Recent Years

In the past few decades, we have seen a significant increase in the number of casinos and similar establishments in the United States. In the period between 1998-2014, the number of casinos in the US has increased to around 450. This growth is attributable to the legalization of gambling activities in a number of states. The casinos and gaming industry provides an appealing form of entertainment, and as a result, more American citizens are purchasing lottery tickets regularly.

Various gambling platforms and facilities such as gambling websites, riverboat casinos, and land-based casinos attract a lot of visitors who come to play their table games and operate their slot machines. As of 2013, Native American casinos operate in 28 states, racetrack casinos can be found in 14 states, and land-based and riverboat casinos are now spread in 17 states. In 2014, lottery accounted for 64 percent of total gambling revenue; it remains the key segment of the industry. Casinos and Racinos accounted for 19 and 11 percent of the total gambling revenue respectively, in the same year.

Online Gambling in the US

Online gambling is one of the most advertised forms of gambling in the United States; you’d think that’s its legal. While it’s not officially legal to play online poker and other casino games (yet), the laws appear to be a giant grey area, and as a result, there are more people going online to gamble than ever before. Online gambling is only legal in three states in reality. The three states that have legalized online gambling are Delaware, the latest to do so in 2012, Nevada, and New Jersey.

The first state to pass a clear bill that legalized online slots, casino, and poker games was Nevada, and that was in 2010. New Jersey followed suit a couple of years later. There is an ongoing ‘wave’ of the legalization of online gambling. States such as California, New York, and Pennsylvania are on the verge of passing bills that seek to legalize online gambling. The prevalence of smartphones and other mobile devices with internet access has greatly contributed to the ubiquity of online gambling. 

What Does the Future of The US Casinos and Gaming Industry Look Like?

During the period of 2018-2021, the casino and gaming industry is expected to register a 10.16 percent growth (CAGR) at a global level. Things are not much different at the local level, with growth projections showing positive figures in the next few years. Financially, the casinos and gaming industry is expected to continue flourishing in the foreseeable future.

The casinos and gaming industry has seen a lot of changes in the past; it has evolved a great deal. In the 70s, everyone associated casino activities to gambling of some sort. If you play a word association game today and ask about ‘casino,’ the majority would still say gambling, but that would not be unanimous as it used to be in the early days of commercial casinos.

From shows to shopping, night clubs to dining, during the past few decades or so, the casino and gaming industry has radically changed its stripes. To keep up with the fast-changing world, the industry will continue to evolve in the coming years. Here are the top emerging trends that are driving the American casino gaming market.

Penetration of International Debit and Credit Cards

Land-based casinos are legal in many states because they promote tourism. Online gambling, on the other hand, is largely illegal across the US. However, people can still gamble easily on foreign websites where the use of international debit and credit cards is rampant. As long the status quo is maintained, the use of international debit and credit cards will continue to increase.

Increased Association with The Hospitality Sector

If you have some disposable income and time, you’ll find casinos to be a good source of luxurious entertainment. However, casinos are not popular for their hospitality; it’s the games and rewards they offer. To attract a younger audience and increase their customer base, casinos are looking for alternate methods to expand their base. One of them is integration with major luxury hotels and placing slots machines in bars, restaurants, and other venues in the hospitality industry.

New Market Strategies

A large number of casino operators are trying to tap into the online and mobile environment all in a bid to increase their audience. The biggest challenge they are facing is creating content that’s entertaining as well as informative as a high proportion of the target audience consists of millennials who tend to skip advertisements. To be successful, casino operators need to reach their audience via social media and mobile in a personalized but non-intrusive way.

Shifting Gambling Habits Among Consumers

In the last few years, many industries have recorded some changes in the behaviour of their consumers. The American casino and gaming industry is no different as consumer gambling habits have shifted significantly. Some of the key factors expected to drive growth in the casinos and gaming industry are social gambling and gambling apps.

The increased adoption of mobile devices and the growth of internet using population is a huge leverage point for vendors. The casinos and gaming industry is changing, fast. In the future, casinos and other facilities that host gambling activities will be getting most of their revenue from other services rather than depending on gambling as the be-all-end-all revenue generator.

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Jared Bates

I have been working in, and with different casinos for over twenty years, and as such I have seen many things happen to gambling online and offline. From Vegas to Atlantic City, and small places in between, my passion lies with games where I can win money.

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