With the ink barely dry on the American Gaming Association’s latest Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, President and CEO Bill Miller addressed the industry this week to share his thoughts on a record $13.6bn generated in Q2 2021.
Speaking as part of a conference call to discuss the Tracker results, he referred to 2020 as “undoubtedly the hardest year of the gaming industry’s history”.
He noted: “I told you on this call a year ago that our aim was not only to reopen responsibly but to stay open. And we did just that. Our commitment and leadership on health and safety, coupled with widespread vaccine distribution and pent up consumer demand, have set up a record-breaking year for the gaming industry.”
The difference in results from when the AGA launched its tracker a year ago is, said Miller, truly astounding. “We’re reporting the highest gross gaming revenue quarter ever. In the coming month, commercial gaming is likely to pass the entirety of 2020 calendar year revenue. And if we keep pace on track, as we are today, we are likely to beat 2019 as the best year on record for the industry.”
The strength of this recovery, according to Miller, reflects the industry’s resilience. He said: “Time and again we’ve been challenged only to come back stronger. And it’s a testament to how we operate as an industry – the support we provide for our employees and the helping hand we lend to our communities.
“It’s a testament to the world-class entertainment experience we offer and how we uphold our commitment to responsibility. What we have done together over these last 18 months is really nothing short of remarkable.”
Adopting a more cautionary tone, he continued: “The gaming industry is clearly on its way back. And really in any other environment these quarterly numbers would be a victory lap. But there’s still a few missing pieces to the puzzle.
“Full recovery requires meaningful returns of meetings, business travel, events, as well as the revival of international travel. It requires everyone working together to move beyond the realities of the past year. And the Delta variant has reminded us that we’re not there yet.
“The gaming industry continues to do our part. We’ve pivoted from really serving as mass testing sites to mass vaccination sites. Across 30 states nearly 130 commercial and tribal casinos served as COVID-19 vaccination clinics.”
The AGA President was also mindful of the transformative role played by the continued expansion of sports betting and the growth of online gaming, citing them as marking a new era for the industry.
“It’s redefined how Americans see and interact with gaming,” he said. “Fans are engaging in a new way with their favorite teams and sports. The legal market is providing a safe alternative to the illegal offshore operators. Since the start of 2020, 18 states and DC have legalized or launched sports betting, bringing the reach of the legal sports betting market to nearly 150 million Americans.”