Record-Breaking Quarter Earns US Gaming Industry $17.67 Billion in 2024

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As dawn broke over the shimmering Las Vegas Strip in the early hours of Thursday, a milestone celebration was in the offing for the American gaming industry. As revelers gambled into the wee hours, industry rests were being shattered, song in the melody of dollar signs and high stakes. The first quarter of 2024 had indeed dealt them a winning hand.

Far away from the hustle and bustle of the casinos, sportsbooks, and glitzy iGaming platforms, the American Gaming Association (AGA) unveiled its reward, revealing that the January-March period of 2024 raked in an unprecedented $17.67 billion in commercial gaming earnings. These sweeping numbers embody high-stake games at physical casinos, soaring bets on iGaming platforms, and a rush of predictions saturating the flourishing sports betting scene. It was a compelling trifecta that backed the gaming industry’s claim to an all-time three-month success.

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The prosperity was predicted as the accepted playing field had broadened the previous year with the sports betting market integrating four new states and Rhode Island playing its first hand into online casino gambling in March. Setting the pace for the industry’s bright trajectory, AGA President and CEO, Bill Miller signaled this year as the new benchmark. He acknowledged that the steady winds filling gaming industry’s sails are stoked by innovation and responsibility, emphasizing the necessity for staying the course to continue growth.

The commercial gaming sector hit the jackpot in 2023 as total annual revenue hit a staggering $66.5 billion, potting a hefty 10% increase from 2022. The green tide of growth seemingly washed across the nation as 11 states reveled in unparalleled gaming revenue in the first quarter. New York and Pennsylvania, two of the nation’s most opulent gaming states, naturally featured in this elite list.

Traditional gaming, encompassing timeless casino slot machines, table games, and riverboat casinos, proved its still vibrant relevance by contributing $12.34 billion of the quarter’s loot. Although this figure noted a modest 0.3% year-on-year boost, it was a victory nonetheless. Elsewhere, sports betting, welcoming legal engagement in close to forty states and Washington, DC, delivered a whopping gross revenue of $3.33 billion. This was a clear win for oddsmakers who raked in 22% more than in Q1 of 2023.

Meanwhile, iGaming platforms outplayed their results from the previous year, accumulating nearly $2 billion from online gamblers, signaling a spectacular 26% year-over-year leap. However, iGaming remains a privileged pursuit, confined to merely seven states — Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

This prosperous trend marked the commercial gaming industry’s 13th consecutive quarter of year-over-year gross gaming revenue (GGR) growth. Tipping the scales was Q1 of 2024 which just beat the previous record set in the Q4 of 2023, taking GGR to a stupendous $17.64 billion.

Nevada, the torchbearer of gaming, once again claimed the title of the richest gaming state with Silver State casinos, sportsbooks, and taverns banking over $3.9 billion during the quarter. This showcased a rewarding 2% leap, with Pennsylvania trailing behind with respectable earnings of nearly $1.7 billion, marking an 8% hike. New Jersey came in third, making leaps and bounds with a robust 16% surge, realizing earnings of $1.5 billion.

However, not all shared in the bounty of the first quarter. Eight states recorded a dip in year-over-year GGR, namely Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Despite the impressive run, industry leaders aren’t all-in on future betting habits. Buoyed by their post-pandemic prosperity, 94% of executives polled by the AGA radiated optimism, viewing the current climate as either “good” or “satisfactory”. Entrusted with guiding the industry forward, Miller observed that the gaming market is gearing towards a new kind of ‘normal’ following years of rapid expansion, triggered by the transformative US Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that delimitated single-game sports wagering to Nevada.

As the lights dim on the Las Vegas Strip at the day’s end, the vitality of the ever-evolving gaming industry resonates across the United States, renewing dreams and reshaping fortunes. The chips are down and the bets are on; only the future knows who comes up trumps in the game of risk and reward.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.