New AGA Survey Shows Gaming Execs Optimistic On Industry Rebound

According to a report from the AGA, post-COVID-19 recovery remains strong, especially in the casino sector. The report also firmly believes that this growth is likely to continue within the next six months, although not as rapidly as it has been seen recently.

The First Peek Inside the Industry Amid Historical Highs and Lows

This is the first edition of the Gaming CEO Outlook, prepared on behalf of the AGA by Oxford Economics. It combines both a measure of recent growth and future expectations about the industry.

The report provides hope for stability for the gaming industry, which suffered a heavy toll from the COVID-19, with a 31% loss of revenue in 2020. In 2021, the industry managed to pull back, with Q2 being the strongest quarter ever in the history of gaming and with Q3 continuing the recovery process with more growth, as well. In the second quarter, almost every state saw a recovery to pre-pandemic levels and the record revenue attracted serious attention towards the industry, with Forbes even commenting that “Americans are gambling their way through the pandemic.”

The report from the AGA comes amid these historical peaks and it provides valuable insights. It summarizes most of its findings in two simple indices – current conditions and future conditions. The methodology behind it includes market trends, research, and surveys of top-level executives in gaming companies.

Current and Future Winnings for the Casinos

The current conditions index measures 115.1 and it reflects the exceptionally good growth in casino-related activities in the previous quarter. According to the report, the overall economic activity, as measured by gaming revenue, employment, and wage growth, expanded for the past quarter by 15.1%. This was lower than the historic Q2, but it was still one of the best results in the past two decades.

The smoothed current conditions index, which weighs down on the three-month average results and is less prone to fluctuations, stood at 116.1 at Q1. The future conditions index reaches up to 102.7 and it reflects one of the strongest sentiments for growth past the COVID-19 era. Even though it cannot be considered as a definitive forecast, this represents an annualized growth of about 2.7% for the next six months.

One of the strongest components of the future conditions index is derived from surveys of executives within the gaming companies. Their sentiments are predominately optimistic, with 54.1% expecting an increase in the pace of growth for the next six months against only 9.7% of executives expecting a decrease.

In the surveys, the positive sentiments are more than evident. Basically, all of the respondents see the current business situation as either good – 54% or satisfactory – 46%.

Some of the few sources of concern remain “the supply chain issues” for 71% of the executives, with problems quoted such as issues with logistics and labor shortage. Some of their concerns are also related to remote work and its requirement for better supervision and dedication from the managers. Again, 71% of them also expect an increased pace of hiring for the next six months, which also contributes to the positive outlook for the future.

The gaming equipment suppliers also respond positively, with 75% of them expecting increased sales for the future period. One of the few notable sources of concern in the report, however, is within the customer surveys. According to them, the share of households that are planning to visit a casino within the next six months is still below the pre-COVID-19 era.

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