The American Gaming Association's State of the States 2009 report revealed that while nationwide gross gaming revenues were still the second highest they have ever been at $32.54bn in 2008, they were 4.7 per cent below 2007's record level.
Nevada saw a 9.7 per cent decrease in gaming revenue, largely due to a reduction in consumer spending on overnight travel and "belt tightening" among local gamblers. It was a similar story in New Jersey, where the state’s casinos were also hit by a smoking ban that resulted in an 8.5 per cent fall in revenues. Smoking bans also saw revenues fall in Colorado and Illinois by 12.3 per cent and 20.9 per cent, respectively.
Some markets, however, experienced higher revenues in 2008. New properties in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Indiana helped drive revenues upwards, with Pennsylvania experiencing a 48.3 per cent increase.
According to the AGA’s research, commercial casinos in the US employed 357,314 people and paid wages totaling $14.1bn in 2008. They also contributed $5.66bn in direct gaming taxes.
"This year’s report reflects the impact of the recession and the accompanying drop in consumer spending on the commercial casino industry," said Frank J Fahrenkopf Jnr, president and chief executive officer of the AGA. "As our nation grapples with these challenging economic times, the industry’s ongoing contributions are more important than ever. The commercial casino industry continues to be an important provider of jobs and direct gaming taxes, helping states, communities and families weather the storm."