February 16, 2022 2 min read


2021 Was a Good Year for Gambling in the US as Casinos Recover

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), 2021 raised the bar for the US commercial gaming market. It said in a news release that last year was the highest-grossing on record, with $53 billion in total reported. Greater growth is coming this year and beyond, propelled by an increase in interest in online gaming.

US Gaming Sets New Record

The AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker reported that this record broke the previous record of $43.65 billion, which was set back in 2019. It also represented a $23 billion increase in revenues over 2020, which were affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

According to the release, the industry also set a new quarterly revenue record with $14.31 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. This surpasses the $13.93 billion record for the third quarter of 2021.

One major change that’s happened in this industry has been the adaptability and really the adoption of traditional brick-and-mortar brands to the online experience.”

Bill Miller, AGA President & CEO

According to the AGA, out of 34 operating commercial gaming jurisdictions, 23 have set individual records in full-year revenue from commercial gaming. In contrast, every vertical for commercial gaming has set new revenue records at a national level.

Land-based Still King

The industry’s recovery was led by brick-and-mortar gaming in 2021. There was $44.94 billion in combined table and slot gaming revenues, an increase of 6.6% over the 2019 record.

The growth of sports betting was impressive, as well. The segment generated $57.22 billion in handle and $4.29 billion in revenue. That’s an increase of 165% and 177%, respectively, over 2020. Now with over 30 states in some stage of sports betting legislation, several of which only now came online, the figures will increase for 2022.

According to the release, the demand in existing markets in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the launch of many new markets drove the sector’s peak.

Virginia legalized sports betting in January 2021. In addition, new markets in sports betting have been opened in Arizona, Louisiana and New York. New iGaming markets were opened in Connecticut and Michigan last year, helping the sector achieve a record $3.71 billion in revenue.

In total, sports betting and iGaming revenues amounted to $8 billion in 2018, up 158% over the prior year’s results.

There’s still more recovery to be seen. Miller added, “Despite our record-setting year, gaming’s total recovery is still reliant on the full return of travel and large events, which requires a safe health environment and open economy. I’m optimistic that we will see continued growth throughout 2022.”


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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