2021 is US Casinos’ Winningest Year Ever

The US casino industry continues to break records. The American Gaming Association (AGA) reported yesterday that casinos in the US have won a total of $44.15 billion so far in 2021. That number will continue to grow as more states report revenues from November and December. The industry has been on a record-breaking pace all year. The total revenue also does not include revenue earned by tribal casinos.

This year’s revenue broke the record set in 2019 of $43.65 billion. The industry took in a hit in 2020, with the AGA reported total revenue at around $30 billion. This was a result of casinos across the US being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the US betting markers are back on track and players are more eager than ever to try to win real money.

As more states continue to legalize sports betting, it is reasonable to assume that the industry will continue to break records in the coming years. Major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the CFP, could also result in an increase in betting revenue.

A Closer Look

Casinos being able to return to full operations largely explains the industry’s bounce-back year. Many states only allow gambling on the grounds of a brick-and-mortar casino. But this year’s record-breaking revenue was earned in just 10 months. So just where exactly has the extra revenue been coming from?

Brick-and-mortar casinos have seen a jump in their total revenue. In October, site-based casinos reported a total of $3.97 billion in revenue. That is an increase of 16% over October 2019. Adding sportsbooks has allowed casinos to attract a new customer base. Some casinos have also started incorporating sports betting lounges and self-service betting kiosks.

Another big reason the revenue numbers have been so high this year is the expansion of sports betting in the US. In 2020, only 17 jurisdictions allowed sports betting operations. This year, Americans wagered a record total of $7.05 billion on sports in October across 25 markets. In total, bettors have placed $42.19 billion in bets this year so far.

Out of the billions of dollars bet in October, sportsbooks across the US were able to keep a total of $408 million in profit. The previous monthly record was set in September at $405 million. Several states also set personal-best marks already this year. Based on their reported revenues from October states such as South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Colorado all set new records for annual gaming revenue.

Sports betting is not the only sector that broke records in October. Bettors also wagered more on internet gambling sites. In total, online gaming operators earned $357 million from internet gaming sites, a new monthly record. Compared to last October, the sector’s revenue increased by 129%.

In October, internet gambling combined with sports betting and casino betting for a total revenue of $4.75 billion. The reported income is the second-highest ever for a monthly total. That mark is an increase of over 30% from October 2019. Prior to 2021, no month in the US had passed $4 billion in gaming revenue. October marked the 8th straight time it has happened this year.

Can the Industry Sustain its Growth?

So far 2021 has seen the US gaming industry soar to never before seen levels. This begs the question:  will the boom be sustainable? For the foreseeable future, the answer appears to be yes.

A large part of the recent growth in the US gambling revenue can be traced back to the US Supreme Court overturning the 1992 law that banned sports betting. Since the decision in 2018, dozens of states have adopted new laws that permit sportsbooks operations. Each state has been able to make its own laws and as such there are a variety of systems across the US. Currently, more than half of the states in the US permit sports betting, and more seem poised to follow suit soon.

In addition to allowing sports betting, another factor responsible for the recent success in the gaming industry is the growing popularity of online betting options. Not every state that allows sports betting also allows for online or mobile betting options. However, the ones that do have seen their profits shoot through the roof this year. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect in-person services, online alternatives can keep the revenue rolling in.

In the immediate future, the biggest betting events on the horizon are the football playoffs. In the US, football is the most bet on of the major American sports. The winter months bring fans the opportunity to earn real money from betting on the playoffs for both professional and collegiate football. Earlier this year, it is estimated that Americans wagered over $4 billion on the Super Bowl alone. With more states allowing sports betting this time around, that number will likely increase.


This week the AGA announced that the US gambling industry has officially surpassed its previous record for total annual income. As last reports of October revenue rolled in, the total money won by casinos this year hit $44.15 billion. That broke the previous record of $43.65 billion set in 2019.

Proponents of the US gaming industry should also be optimistic about the industry continuing to grow in the coming years. Each year, more and more states are legalizing the sports betting industry and adding more revenue to the US total. There are also major sporting events on the horizon that could see bettors place even more wagers than normal.

With most states still gathering the income numbers for November, and with December numbers yet to be determined, it is safe to say that the record will continue to rise. So far in 2021, there have been eight consecutive months of over $4 billion in monthly revenue across the US gambling sector. If that streak continues through the end of the year, the yearly income will likely break the $50 billion mark.