Industry record $5.3B revenue in March drives US gaming to post second-best quarter ever in Q1
According to the American Gaming Association's Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, Q1 has seen $14.31 billion in nationwide commercial gaming revenue. The figure sets a new Q1 record and nearly matches the all-time quarterly record set in Q4 2021, which was $14.35 billion.
This marks a very strong start to the year for the U.S. commercial gaming industry, which was punctuated by March’s revenue performance of $5.31 billion. The month marked the highest-grossing revenue month in industry history.
The total commercial gaming revenue for the quarter increased nearly 29% year-over-year. Nearly every commercial gaming jurisdiction surpassed Q1 revenue from last year, and three set quarterly records (Arkansas with $147.4 million; Florida with 182 million and New York with 996.6 million). Meanwhile, the small sports betting-only markets in Washington, D.C. declined (-32%), and Kansas was flat over Q1 2021.
On a sequential basis, 11 of 34 commercial gaming jurisdictions realized revenue gains from Q4 2021, with New York seeing the biggest increase (42.2%). New York’s near billion-dollar quarter ($996.6B) was principally driven by the January roll-out of online sports betting, which elevated the state's gaming market from sixth in the country in Q4 to number four in Q1 2022.
While land-based performance drove overall gaming revenue, sports betting and iGaming continued to see growth with both verticals setting all-time quarterly records, while land-based gaming showed quarterly growth amidst a traditional seasonal slowdown.
Nationwide, a busy sports calendar drove wagering revenue to a record $1.58 billion, up 64.6% from Q1 2021, narrowly surpassing the previous high set in Q4 ($1.55 billion). The legal betting handle for the quarter also reached a record $26.34 billion. This was more than double (102.3%) the $13.02 billion bet in Q1 2021, reflecting growth in consumer demand, the addition of six new legal markets and the addition of mobile betting platforms in New York.
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller spoke about these figures in an official press release and said: “Consumers continue to seek out gaming’s entertainment options in record numbers. Q1’s strong results build on the industry’s record year in 2021 despite continued headwinds from supply chain constraints, labor shortages and the impact of soaring inflation."
“Four years post-PASPA, legal sports betting success is proving what we’ve known all along. American consumers are eager to wager within the protections of the regulated market. It also reinforces the need to stamp out offshore, illegal operators who prey on vulnerable customers," Miller added.
The AGA also released Wednesday its State of the States 2022 report, which details the industry recovery throughout 2021.
Highlights from this year’s report, which serve as a definitive economic and regulatory analysis of U.S. commercial gaming by state, include the setting of a new annual record for commercial gaming in 2021, reaching $53 billion (25% increase compared to 2019); commercial gaming operations generating a record $11.69 billion in direct gaming tax revenue (up 15% compared to 2019); and the top 10 commercial gaming markets for 2021.
The State of States report pointed out that, following a COVID-driven reshuffling of the highest-grossing commercial gaming markets in 2020, top gaming markets returned to their pre-pandemic revenue rankings last year. The average visitor to a land-based commercial casino in 2021 remained "notably younger" than prior to the pandemic.
All-time high sports betting and iGaming revenue played a significant role in commercial gaming's record year, with seven new sports betting markets launching in 2021 and two new iGaming markets going live as well. 2021 commercial sports betting revenue totaled $4.33 billion, a 179.9% increase year-over-year. iGaming revenue grew by 138.9% to $3.7 billion.
Regarding the State of the States report, Miller reflected: “Our industry’s success goes beyond the bottom line and into communities across the country. The record state and local tax contributions fund vital services from infrastructure and education to healthcare and emergency services."