Legal gaming in the US has had a substantial positive impact on the economy. This is great news for proponents of North Carolina casino expansion.
This is according to the American Gaming Association’s first comprehensive report on the economic impact of the US gaming industry since 2018. The study, which used data from 2018 forward, found that legal gaming in the US generated:
– 1.8 million jobs.
– $104 billion in wages, salaries, tips, benefits, and other labor income.
– $328.6 billion in business income.
– $52.7 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
This includes an annual economic impact of $1.76 billion from North Carolina casinos.
AGA study reveals details about legal gaming in the U.S.
U.S. gaming directly employs over 700,000 people, including:
– 600,000 on-site jobs at casinos and corporate offices.
– 89,000 jobs at secondary businesses that provide goods and services to casino visitors.
– 23,000 jobs at gaming manufacturers based in the U.S.
North Carolina casinos generated 15,034 of those direct jobs.
Nationwide, this is more than all the direct jobs in air transportation, postal service, or motion picture and video industries. In the leisure and hospitality sector, casino employment produces 1 in every 33 jobs.
The industry also generates significant legal gambling tax revenue. The $52.7 billion in taxes collected from the gaming industry provides funding for education, infrastructure, economic development and other projects. Tax monies also helped supplement some state’s general funds.
“The U.S. gaming industry delivers long-term growth and impact to communities, generating significant tax revenue, creating strong jobs, supporting local small businesses, and funding critical community priorities” said, AGA President and CEO Bill Miller.
And people are aware of it. Another AGA study found that 71% of Americans realize the gaming industry has a positive impact on the economy.
Solid growth since the 2018 AGA report
The 2018 AGA gaming economic impact report is the most recent study since the current report. That study revealed that in 2018 gaming contributed $261 billion to the U.S. economy, $40.8 billion in tax revenues, about $74.0 billion in wages, salaries, tips, benefits, and other labor income, and roughly the same number of jobs.
While the number of jobs has remained nominal at 1.8 million, wages, salaries, tips, benefits, and other labor income is up considerably from $33.3 billion in 2018.
Since the 2018 report, wages have increased by 40% and taxes to federal, state and local governments are up 29%.
“Think back to where we were a few years ago with nearly 1,000 casinos, almost all of them closed,” he said. “Today, we’re seeing record revenue in the industry,” Miller said.
Will the report help North Carolina casino expansion?
The positive numbers posted by the AGA’s study and growth since the 2018 report will help proponents of North Carolina casino expansion in places like Rockingham County.
In fact, growth in the gaming industry was one reason for the study. Miller said the AGA will use the survey statistics to help lawmakers in favor of expanding legal gaming move forward. This includes casino expansion in North Carolina.
With the gaming industry on track for its best year in revenue (projecting to surpass $60 billion), some North Carolina legislatures may want to rethink their position on the casino expansion bill.
NC Casino economic impact benefits many
The ‘casino effect’ is more than just income for the casinos and tax for the states. According to Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at New Jersey’s Stockton University,
“Casinos are often the largest employers in a region, with major commitments in terms of wages and benefits,” she said. “People employed by casinos use those wages and benefits to purchase additional goods and services, generating secondary economic impact.”
Casinos have such a significant impact on a region because of the secondary and tertiary businesses and jobs they create.
The casinos themselves spend large amounts of money on operating costs and goods and services, such as food, linens, room amenities and laundry services. Additionally, money is distributed to local builders and vendors for the initial construction and then maintenance and improvements over time.
Casino patrons also spend money in restaurants, cafes and stores not associated with the casino as well as transportation to and from the casino. According to Bokunewicz, this adds up nationwide to $13.5 billion in ‘catalytic’ spending by casino patrons.
Casino workers also have more money to spend locally. This additional money comes from previously unemployed or underemployed individuals from the region who have been employed by the casinos and those relocating for a casino job.
Given that some North Carolina regions could use an economic shot in the arm, the AGA report is strong support for an expansion of North Carolina casinos.