The American Gaming association (AGA) has presented the 2012 edition of State of the States:The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment. According to Frank J Fahrenkopf Jr, AGA President and CEO, the aim of the Association in producing State of the States is to create a comprehensive resource that outlines the significant impact the commercial casino industry has on national, state and local economies. This year’s edition indicates that the recovery of the national commercial casino industry is well underway, albeit slowly, after three years struggling against the economic recession.
AGA’s 14th State of the States report includes national and state-by-state economic impact data, including gaming revenues, direct gaming tax contributions, employment and wages for the 22 commercial casino states. This year’s report reprises a public opinion poll conducted seven years ago — detailing the attitudes and opinions of civic and political leaders in casino jurisdictions. Results reveal that those who know the industry best say that the gaming industry has delivered on its promises to bring jobs, economic development, tax revenue, increased tourism and more to casino communities.
Also of note, the majority of those surveyed are quick to point out that the social ills that gaming opponents claim will accompany casinos have never materialized in their communities. Most importantly, those leaders who work every day in commercial casino jurisdictions see the gaming industry as a vital community partner. This year’s survey also includes polling data on casino visitation and the acceptability of casino gaming and special sections that highlight electronic gaming machines, sports betting and the gaming equipment manufacturing sector. Once again, the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) partnered with the AGA to produce the spotlight on the gaming equipment manufacturing sector, which also is experiencing an economic recovery.
In 2011, commercial casino revenues reached $35.64 billion, which was an increase of 3.0% compared with 2010 figures. Commercial casinos returned $7.93 billion of those revenues to states and localities in the form of direct gaming taxes — a 4.5 percent increase over 2010 totals. The gaming industry also continued to be a significant source of employment, providing jobs for
339,098 people who earned $12.9 billion in wages, benefits and tips during 2011.
Fifteen states saw their gross gaming revenues increase in 2011, with the largest increases coming from states where new casinos opened during 2011 or had a full year of operations for the first time, including Maryland (+464.2%), Kansas (+28.3%) and New York (+15.6%). A full year of operations at Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia and a full year of table game operations statewide helped drive Pennsylvania’s 21.3% increase in gaming revenue.
Despite overall growth in national economic impact figures, some states did see declines in gaming revenue, direct gaming tax receipts and employment during 2011. New Jersey, due in part to increased regional competition from a full year of table game operations in Delaware and Pennsylvania, experienced the largest declines in both gaming (-7.0%) and tax (-9.1%) revenue. Delaware experienced the largest drop in employment with a 15.9% decline.
After two years of contraction, the gaming equipment manufacturing sector posted gains in revenue, employment and wages during 2011. With continued expansion of gaming across the country and throughout the world, gaming-related suppliers and manufacturers rebounded, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in salaries and wages. In addition to the positive economic performances reported by the industry in 2011, on overwhelming majority (86.8%) of surveyed AGEM members expect market conditions to improve during the next 12 months.
Public opinion polling reveals that more than half (53%) of casino visitors list slot machines and video poker as their favorite casino games. Currently, there are more than 837,000 gaming machines in 39 states nationwide, with Nevada (183,319), California (67,601) and Oklahoma (65,400) being home to the largest numbers of machines. Of the 13 commercial casino states with table games and slot machines where a full year of data is available, each received at least 63% of their overall gaming revenue from slot machines in 2011. Iowa and South Dakota get the largest portion of their gaming revenue from slot machines with 91.2%, while Nevada (63.0%) gets the smallest percentage of its gaming revenues from slot machines.
Compared with figures from 2010, total consumer spending at commercial casinos increased by 3.0% in 2011. This is a positive sign that the industry’s long, slow recovery is well underway. As the economy continues to improve, gaming revenues, which are dependent on consumer spending, should continue to rise.
The full AGA report can be found at: http://www.americangaming.org/files/aga/uploads/docs/sos/state_of_the_states_final.pdf (E-05.10.12)
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