US commercial gaming saw its best second quarter ever in any year, as the total gaming revenue reached $13.6 billion, according to the American Gaming Association.

The AGA’s commercial Gaming Revenue tracker, which released the information on Tuesday, said the second quarter of 2021 reflected a 22% rise from the previous records posted at $11.1 billion in the third quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2021.

The rising trend in traditional casino gambling puts the industry on pace for its best year ever. The US casinos had seen $43.6 billion in annual revenue in 2019, the national casino industry’s best year ever, Associated Press reported.

During the first months of this year, the land-based casino industry has already won $25 billion.

How Did It Happen Despite The COVID-19?

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller termed the first half results as “truly remarkable,” and added it is even more impressive when one considers commercial gaming revenue was at its lowest point ever just a year before.

Miller attributed the record numbers to the operators’ resilience and commitment to enabling safe environments for customers while providing world-class entertainment experiences.

In a press call Tuesday, Miller noted the encouraging vaccination rates growth led to the pre-COVID normality levels with no restrictions.

Latest Numbers

Currently, gaming floors are reopened with no capacity restrictions across all 25 states with commercial casinos, according to the AGA. Gaming revenue jumped during the Q2 of this year in 22 of these states. As many as 19 states performed better during the first half of this year than the same duration of 2019.

The AGA used numbers from 2019 for comparisons as last year’s figures do not represent a normal market situation due to the pandemic-led closures. The states had shuttered all non-essential businesses, including the casino industry, last March to curtail the infection.

image courtesy AGA

Also, casinos in 17 states set quarterly revenue records in the second quarter, including eight of the 10 highest-grossing states in 2019: Nevada, New York, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Land-Based Casino Revenue Also Post Record Quarter

While growth in online gaming and sports betting kept the gaming industry afloat over the last year, record brick-and-mortar casino revenue, which was almost 10% higher than the previous record in Q3 2019 to $11.8 million, was the major driver of the gaming industry’s record-setting performance.

According to the AGA, it was a result of easing capacity and persistent consumer demand. While 75% of commercial casinos began the record-setting quarter capped at 50% capacity or less, almost every commercial casino had returned to full capacity by the end of June.

Sports Betting Grew Over 600% Since 2019

Though sports betting revenue dipped 8% from the previous quarter to $889 million amid the summer slump, it grew more than 600% over the same period in 2019.

The first half of this year has already generated more sports betting revenue ($1.8 billion) than the calendar year of 2020 ($1.5 billion).

The US sports bettors wagered $11.07 billion through regulated sportsbooks in Q2, compared to $13.02 billion during the previous quarter of the year.

iGaming Revenue Also Saw a Record Quarter

iGaming revenue also saw a new quarterly revenue record as it posted $901 million, up 15% from the previous quarter.

Total revenue from sports betting and online casino gaming accounted for 13.1% of over gaming revenue in the second quarter of 2021, representing a 15.7% decline from the Q1.

While the report suggested an optimistic scenario for gaming in the US, Miller said the illegal market could pose the biggest challenge to the industry’s growth. He urged the authorities to take legal action to curb the unregulated market.

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