Amid the twinkling lights and relentless buzz of a bustling Las Vegas Strip back in April 2023, the pulse of American commercial gaming had never been stronger. The industry, in a dazzling display of economic fortitude, carved a new pinnacle of success, with gaming revenues skyrocketing to the tune of $66.5 billion. It was more than just numbers on a balance sheet; it was the enduring romance between Americans and the allure of chance, the dance of fortune and strategy played out across felt-covered tables and flashing screens from coast to coast.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) unveiled these figures with a hint of pride in their Tuesday report, noting that this fresh record showcased a robust 10% climb from the year prior. From the clang of slot machines in the physical realm of brick-and-mortar casinos, riverboats, and racinos, to the digital haven of iGaming and sports betting, the appetite for gaming among American adults had reached an unprecedented zenith.

“From the traditional casino experience to online options, American adults’ demand for gaming is at an all-time high,” proclaimed AGA President and CEO Bill Miller, his statement reverberating with the thrill of this milestone. Miller was resolute about the path ahead: a unified industry front to quash shadowy illegal operators and amplify responsible gambling initiatives, paralleling the legal market’s growth—an agenda the AGA was poised to champion throughout 2024.

The 2023 gross gaming revenue—encompassing retail slot machines, table games, and sports betting, coupled with the winnings seeded online via internet sportsbooks and interactive casino platforms—hadn’t even factored in the financial contributions from tribal casinos or lotteries.

The year had painted commercial gaming with strokes of gain in every category. Legacy gaming, comprising physical slot machines and table games, amassed $45.82 billion, eclipsing the previous year’s figures by nearly 4%. This was a vivid testament that the burgeoning realm of online gambling wasn’t cannibalizing in-person play, but perhaps enhancing the collective gaming tapestry.

Even the geography of gaming was shifting, with states like Illinois, Virginia, and Nebraska wading deeper into gaming’s waters. Illinois celebrated the grand opening of four new casinos, with Bally’s making a splash in downtown Chicago. Meanwhile, Virginia welcomed Rivers Casino Portsmouth, marking a historic moment as the commonwealth’s first permanent casino. Alongside were maiden ventures by Caesars in Danville and Hard Rock in Bristol. Nebraska wasn’t far behind with temporary casinos unfurling their own welcome mats.

Sports betting, now a favorite pastime in almost 40 states, pulled an unrivaled $10.92 billion from bettors. The oddsmakers witnessed a staggering 45% surge from the previous year, buoyed by a record wagering amount nearing $120 billion. Meanwhile, iGaming—permitted in a mere sextet of states—drew more than $6.17 billion from remote players, marking yet another record-high performance.

The Las Vegas Strip reigned supreme over the top casino markets in 2023, its Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) marching upwards by over 7% to reach $8.83 billion. Atlantic City trailed, albeit with a respectable $2.85 billion and a modest 2.5% year-over-year increase. Chicagoland, straddling the line between the Windy City and Northwest Indiana, secured third place with $2.19 billion in GGR.

Sports betting and the exclusive club of iGaming states reveled in the upswing, enjoying peaks in gross income. Governments, too, found fortune, with commercial gaming revenue filling state and local coffers with a record $14.4 billion in gaming taxes.

“Gaming’s success translates directly to the success of the states, cities, and towns in which we operate,” declared Miller. The thriving industry went beyond mere entertainment, standing as a pillar to communities across 47 US jurisdictions, spawning jobs, and funding vital public education, infrastructure, and problem gambling resources.

Of the 25 states with commercial casinos and racinos, 17 saw an uptick in legacy play from the prior year. Unfortunately, the remaining eight—Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Florida—faced a downtrend in in-person slot and table gaming. Nonetheless, the overarching narrative was one of triumph, advancement, and an unyielding passion for the game that had, indeed, reached newfound heights.

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Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson, a Senior Editor and respected voice in iGaming and sports, brings over a decade of journalism experience with a focus on digital gaming and cryptocurrency. Starting in sports analysis, he now leads a team of writers, delivering insightful and advanced content in the dynamic world of online gaming. An avid gamer and crypto-enthusiast, Mark's unique perspective enriches his professional analysis. He's also a regular speaker at industry conferences, sharing his views on the future of iGaming and digital finance. Follow his latest articles and insights on social media.


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