Despite several casino closures in Atlantic City, the gaming industry says it is thriving throughout the United States.
The nationwide explosion of the gaming industry was supposed to save states experiencing financial stress through added tax revenues and expanded hospitality opportunities.
Although it was not a solution, apparently the gaming industry has done its part.
For the first time, the American Gaming Association has commissioned a report on the economic impact of gaming on the U.S. economy. The report, conducted by Oxford Economics, shows that casinos nationwide had revenues of $81 billion in 2013, with $38 billion paid out in taxes. Casinos employed 570,000 people, including almost 200,000 government jobs.
The direct economic impact was estimated at $102 billion, and jumps to $240 billion when including the impact of employees’ spending on the general economy.
A spokeswoman for the AGA said the jobs numbers are higher than the airline industry.
Consumer spending on gambling hit an all-time high in 2013 of $67 billion.
While casinos around the country continue to do battle with other entertainment opportunities, as well as with each other in more populous states, the gaming industry continues to shrink in Las Vegas as gambling areas are converted into entertainment venues or even outdoor experiences. As an example is the $130 million park built next door to the MGM casino on the Las Vegas strip.
The industry statistics include information from tribal casinos, casino game-makers and some legal online gambling.
The report was issued prior to the start of the AGA annual G2 conference in Las Vegas Oct. 1-5. It also comes amid continued reports of casinos biting the (gold) dust in Atlantic City, where multiple gaming houses have closed and thousands have seen their jobs disappear.
The industry is trying to determine how to attract Millennials, which have proven to be a difficult capture because they would rather play video games than games of chance. Gaming industry experts say they are trying to make electronic gaming more social, but are not willing to create more skill-based games in front of an audience of players who know how to play skill-based games well.
Gaming is also not a popular pastime for the wealthiest Americans. In Spectrem’s bi-annual study on the attitudes and concerns of the ultra-wealthy – 2014 $25 Million Plus Investor – 66 percent of investors said they did not spend a cent on gambling in the past 12 months. Only 11 percent said they spend as much as $10,000 in the 12-month time.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.